The third session of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship Prologue saw all four classes clock their quickest lap times around the Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya this morning under bright sunny Spanish skies.
First up was Mike Conway in the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID who set a new fastest lap with a time of 1m 29.623s, some 0.368s quicker than José María López’s previous best time, also set in the morning session, yesterday.
Toyota Gazoo Racing’s newest recruit Brendon Hartley was second quickest in the sister #8 car, producing a time of 1m 29.719s’ less than a tenth behind the #8 car. All told, the Japanese squad completed 245 laps.
Up next in the now diminished LMP1 class was the #3 Rebellion Racing R13 Gibson machine which was third fastest, albeit nearly four tenth (0.391s) off the #8 Toyota’s time.
In the highly competitive GTE Pro class, we saw the AF Corse team and their Ferrari 488 GTE Evo’s continue to set the pace in the class, with Miguel Molina improving on his previous best lap time with a lap of 1m 43.593s.
Porsche’s Kevin Estre in the new 911 RSR-19 was next best, barely six hundredths (0.058s) behind the Ferrari. Next up and nearly one and half seconds (1m 44.953s) off the Ferrari and Porsche was the #97 Aston Martin Racing Vantage which completed 79 laps with Marco Sørensen at the wheel.
In the LMP2 class, it was Racing Team Nederland’s Gibson engined Oreca 07 running with new Goodyear tyres which proved the car to beat in the class as Nyck de Vries lapped the Catalan track in a time of 1m 32.941s which he set just an hour into the morning session.
FIA WEC newcomer Cool Racing was second-quickest with Frenchman Nicolas Lapierre just 0.140s behind de Vries in another Oreca. Will Stevens, driving the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca was third quickest. Indeed, the top five LMP2 teams were separated by just 0.987s!
Team Project 1 was once again fastest out of the GTE Am crews, the #57 Porsche 911 RSR setting a benchmark time of 1m 44.467s, just 0.079s ahead of its sister #56 car. Gulf Racing was third quickest in yet another Porsche, closely followed by the #54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
The only hiccup occurred when the session was briefly red flagged, twice, the first after the #56 Team Project 1 car stopped on track and the second after the #47 Cetilar Racing car went into the barrier at the exit of T4.
The fourth and final session of the 2019/20 Prologue will conclude this afternoon.