Final practice Saturday morning at the Shanghai International Circuit produced a different set of results up front in the WEC’s LMP1 class as Rebellion Racing’s pair of R-13s set the fastest times.
In the opening sessions of the weekend, held almost entirely in wet conditions after light rain throughout the day, Toyota’s pair of TS050 HYBRIDs finished 1-2, but in FP3, the Toyotas could only manage third and fourth fastest.
The fastest time was set by Rebellion’s Bruno Senna, who set a lap of 1m45.135s in the No. 1, just 0.019 quicker than the sister No. 3 R-13 which made it a 1-2 for the Swiss-flagged team. The No. 1 also produced the only notable incident of the session when Neel Jani took out the RFID tire barcode scanners at pit entry after missing his braking point.
Toyota might not have led the way, but its TS050 HYBRIDs came extremely close to doing so, with the No. 8 setting a time 0.027 slower than Rebellion’s best, a 1m45.164s by Kazuki Nakajima.
The No. 7 Toyota took fourth, ahead of the two SMP Racing BR1s that also came within a second of Senna’s hot lap to go fifth and sixth.
LMP2 also saw a change in form in the final session as DragonSpeed’s Michelin-shod ORECA 07 Gibson came out on top with a 1m50.957s by Anthony Davidson. The championship-leading Signatech Alpine ended up second, ahead of the two Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECAs, the No. 37 example ahead of the No. 38.
Like it was in LMP1, it was close in the times up front in LMP2. The top four all finished the session within four tenths of each other and the entire class managed to lap within a second.
GTE Pro’s benchmark time was set by Nicki Thiim in the No. 95 Aston Martin with a 1m59.628s. The No. 66 Chip Ganassi UK Ford took second with a 1m59.858s during Olivier Pla’s time in the car.
Four marques featured in the top five, with the No. 92 Porsche GT Team 911 RSR setting the third fastest time (a 2m00.158s) and the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari taking fourth spot. BMW’s two M8s could only manage seventh and tenth in the class standings, while Corvette’s C7.R, on its first proper run on the WEC Michelin slicks this weekend, took up last place.
In GTE Am, Clearwater Racing led the way with a 2m01.583s. The Singaporean team, on Weng Sun Mok’s final race meeting in the WEC, looked strong in all conditions so far this weekend.
Qualifying is up next, starting at 2 p.m. local time/1 a.m. ET.