Nakajima tops final Le Mans practice session

Rainier Ehrhardt / Motorsport Images

Nakajima tops final Le Mans practice session

Le Mans/WEC

Nakajima tops final Le Mans practice session


Kazuki Nakajima topped the times in the final Free Practice session ahead of the Le Mans 24 Hours on Saturday. The Japanese driver set a 3m27.994s under darkness to put the No. 8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID quickest by almost 0.3s.

Second in the red-flag-shortened session was the Signatech Alpine, Nicolas Lapierre setting a 3m28.280s – a competitive time, but far off the 3m23s pole time that Kamui Kobayashi managed during Hyperpole.

Lapierre’s time with 40 minutes left split the two Toyotas, and pushed the No. 7 pole-sitting GR010 to third.

The best of the two Glickenhaus 007s ended up fourth, just over two seconds off the ultimate pace.

Ollie Millroy had the biggest drama in the closing minutes of an otherwise relatively clean session. The Englishman lost control of the No. 71 Inception Racing Ferrari 488 on the entry to the Ford Chicane. He twitched under braking, took too much curb on the inside and was pitched into the wall at high speed, causing severe damage to the right-rear corner. It remains to be seen whether or not the car will make the race. What we do know is that it is going to be a long night for the mechanics in the Inception garage.

Elsewhere, the No. 92 Porsche, which had an off at Indianapolis during Hyperpole, was being worked on throughout FP4; Porsche mechanics stripping it down to its bare chassis to further inspect the damage to the rear end. It is still not clear whether or not the car will take part in Saturday’s race.

High Class Racing’s mechanics were also busy during the session, changing the engine in the No. 49 ORECA of Jan and Kevin Magnussen and Anders Fjordbach. The all-Danish crew had been struggling for outright pace all week prior to the session, and after a lengthy investigation, concluded that a new engine would be required for the race. The car still managed to complete 11 laps and finish 21st overall.

In LMP2, G-Drive Racing topped the times, the No. 26 Aurus setting a 3m31.414s. Nick de Vries put Racing Team Nederland’s 07 Gibson second with a 3m31.862s. United Autosports’ No. 22 example completed the top three.

In the GTE ranks the WeatherTech Racing Porsche topped GTE Pro with a 3m48.246s, and the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari finished up best of the Am pack.

Tomorrow is the Friday rest day at La Sarthe ahead of the 24 Hours itself, which starts on Saturday at 15:00 local time.

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