Kamui Kobayashi topped Friday afternoon’s 90-minute Free Practice 2 at Fuji Speedway. The hometown hero set a 1m29.948s in the No. 7 Toyota GR010, a lap that was over a second quicker than the best time from Toyota in FP1. This is no surprise as it is the debut of the Hypercar category at Fuji and the three teams are pushing hard to get up to speed.
Meanwhile, the No. 8 which topped FP1, made it a 1-2 for the Japanese brand with an improvement Brendon Hartley (1m30.173s), creating a gap between both Toyotas and the two Peugeots.
You are riding around Fuji's Speedway with today's fastest car, the Toyota GR010 Hybrid No.7. Fasten your seat belt and enjoy! ⚡#WEC #6HFuji #Toyota @TGR_WEC pic.twitter.com/jIxh1HUrq7
— FIA World Endurance Championship (@FIAWEC) September 9, 2022
The No. 94 Peugeot 9X8 in the hands of Löic Duval improved its time from the morning session, a 1m31.194s run faster than the Alpine but some 1.2 seconds back from Kobayashi.
Nico Lapierre’s 1m31.362s was enough to put the No. 36 between the two Peugeots, a tenth and a half up on the final Hypercar in the order, this the No. 93 Peugeot of Jean-Eric Vergne.
LMP2 featured a 1-2 showing for British outfit JOTA at the top of the timing screens, with Antonio Felix da Costa (1m32.351s) and Ed Jones (1m32.493s) setting the team’s best times in the No. 38 and No. 28 respectively.
Filipe Albuquerque took the No. 22 United Autosports to third fastest, all three improving on the top time of FP1.
The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari repeated its GTE-Pro session-topping form for the day but with Alessandro Pier Guidi at the wheel this time, a 1m37.682s was enough to fend off Gianmaria Bruni in the No. 91 Porsche who closed the gap to just 0.164 by the end of the session. Tommy Milner, while still fifth in class for Corvette Racing, made some progress in pace for the Monza-winning No. 64 Corvette.
GTE-AM was headlined by the Iron Dames’ No. 85 Ferrari, which continued its run of good form, Michelle Gatting’s 1m39.170s good enough to fend off the efforts of Giancarlo Fisichella in the ‘sister’ No. 60 Iron Lynx Ferrari.
Fisichella’s 1m39.185s was just 0.015s off Gatting’s best and, amazingly, his time was matched soon afterward by Marco Sorensen in the No. 33 TF Sport Aston Martin. That timing oddity came after the same issue occurred in FP1 between the two United Autosports ORECAs, both matched pairs finishing second and third in their respective classes.
It was confirmed before the session by Alkamel, the timing provider, that the United Autosports pair had produced a matched time at the end of a session for the first time in the WEC’s 11-year history. The GTE Am times later in the day were the second ever!
After three hours of running today there have been few dramas, the only interruption to FP2 coming in the final 10 minutes with a full-course yellow waved to allow a marshal to retrieve a chunk of carbon fiber bodywork on the exit of Turn 2.