Rebellion Racing’s No. 1 R-13 Gibson topped the opening Free Practice session of the FIA WEC weekend in Shanghai. America’s Gustavo Menezes set a 1m48.761s in the closing seconds to leapfrog the two Team LNT Ginettas and finish up fastest.
The two Ginettas ended up 1-2 for much of the final 30 minutes of the session, after the efforts from Ben Hanley in the slow-starting No. 5 and Charlie Robertson in the No. 6. The No. 5 was unable to set a time early in the session due to a fuel pressure issue, but once the G60-LT-P1 got going, it proved to be rapid.
Hanley’s 1m49.183s looked to be unbeatable until Menezes’ late charge, the Briton still though significantly faster than the two Toyotas, which are hampered here by ‘Success Ballast.’ The No. 7 eneded up 1.3s off the pace, while the No. 8 was 1.7 adrift of the Rebellion behind the fastest of the LMP2 cars.
Will that lack of pace translate into qualifying and the race? Time will tell, but for now the TS050 HYBRIDs — which were around 13km/h (8 mph) down on the Privateer P1s through the speed trap — look to have a job on their hands.
Fastest in LMP2 was the Silverstone-winning Cool Racing ORECA. Nicolas Lapierre set a 1m50.338s to go six tenths up on the rest of the field. The Racing Team Nederland ORECA ended up second, with the United Autosports ORECA third.
Fastest of the Goodyear runners was the No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, which ended up fourth, with a 1m51.137s.
GTE Pro was led by the No. 91 Porsche, though the three marques all made it into the top three. The No. 91 911 RSR 19’s best time was a 2m01.389s, just under a tenth up on the No. 95 Aston Martin and three tenths up on the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari, which managed a 2m01.603s.
In Am it was another Porsche on top, the No. 56 Team Project 1 91 RSR, with a 2m01.814s from Matteo Cairoli early in the session. The Am class runners look quick here, the top four in the class ahead of the fourth and fifth place GTE Pro cars.
The only car which failed to set a time in the session was the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari. Miguel Molina is expected to arrive at the circuit late this weekend due to visa issues.