Endurance Racing

Sirotkin Sets the Pace for SMP Racing at Spa

Photo Copyright 2018 Joao Filipe/AdrenalMedia.com/WEC

Track action has begun at the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps with SMP Racing drawing first blood in free practice one. Signatech Alpine, Aston Martin and Gulf Racing finished quickest in their respective classes.

The rain has held off at Spa thus far and the flag fell on free practice one with the #17 SMP Racing car in the top spot. Sergey Sirotkin stole the position from Stoffel Vandoorne in the sister car with about 30 minutes left in the session. A 1:56.284 sits the #17 a comfortable two seconds quicker than the #11, and puts them on a par with the times set by the Toyotas in this session last year. Talking of Toyota, they finished third and fourth fastest, with the #8 ahead of the #7. Rebellion wound up fifth and sixth, with two LMP2 cars between them and the ByKolles who could only manage a 2:03.891.

Those two LMP2s that split the LMP1 field were the #36 Signatech Alpine in the hands of Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet, and the guest entered #26 G-Drive Racing. Third quickest was the Racing Team Nederland courtesy of a 2:04.349 from the yellow Dallara. Larbre Competition remain the only Ligier in the field, but sit at the bottom of the pile in the 2:06s.

Aston Martin ran quickest in GTE Pro, with the #97 putting in a 2:15.290 – a vast improvement on their finishing time at this point last year. Interestingly that’s an identical laptime to Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx in the #67 Ford who finished second fastest. BMW MTEK finished third quickest with the #82 of Augusto Farfus and Antonio Félix da Costa. The championship leading Porsches finished seventh and eighth, ahead of the two AF Corse Ferraris.

It’s still a Porsche on top in GTE Am, thanks to Gulf Racing. Michael Wainwright, Ben Barker and Thomas Preining managed a 2:17.068, which if you want a benchmark, is quicker than the times set by the Pro Aston Martins during this session in 2018. Behind them sit Spirit of Race and Dempsey Proton racing, with the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin in fourth. TF looked to be putting in some good times, though their session ended a touch early as they received a black flag for abusing track limits.

Free practice two kicks off at 16.25 local time. If you missed some of the headlines leading up to this round, check out our recap!

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