The Rebellions of Neel Jani and Thomas Laurent wasted no time in getting out on track and were the first two cars (alongside Oliver Webb in the Bykolles entry) to set a time before the red flag was called to retrieve the SMP entry of Stephane Sarrazin which had stopped on the Kemmel straight with a reported hydraulic issue.
Intriguingly, Laurent’s 1:56.756 was the first of a non-hybrid to break into Toyota’s pace this weekend, however at the return of the green, Fernando Alonso would set the fastest first sector of the weekend to produce an ultimate lap of 1:55.14 I, only to be usurped by the sister Toyota TS050 of Mike Conway by four tenths of a second.
It wouldn’t be long before the red flag would be shown again, this time for Pietro Fitipaldi’s Dragonspeed BR1 bottomed out on the apex at Radillion and speared off to the banks of yellow/red tyres on the outside of Eau Rouge.
It would be another 30-minute delay until Fitipaldi could be transferred to the medical centre and the damaged tyre wall could be replaced. As competition resumed, 2nd driver in the number 7 entry, Kamui Kobayashi would go three tenths quicker than Kazuki Nakajima to put Toyota 1-2 and close to two seconds ahead of the Rebellions.
In LMP2 Nicolas Lapierre would set the pace of the first drivers, slotting in a 2:01.476, just a tenth ahead of the number 26 G-Drive Oreca of Andrea Pizzitola. They would eventually finish in that order with the number 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry of Gabriel Aubry.
In LMGTE Pro, a change in callipers for the BMW Team MTEK gave drivers Tom Blomqvist and Martin Tomczyk more confidence under brakes, but it was the Fords of Andy Priaulx and Olivier Pla who jumped out of the blocks early to lead for Ford.
The Chip Ganassi squad would opt to rotate tyres side to side; the unorthodox strategy producing the desired result, handing Priaulx the pole alongside Harry Tincknell in the number 67 Ford.
Giamaria Bruni would pull out a sizzling lap to split the Fords and put the number 91 Porsche into 2nd position with team mate Richard Lietz.
In LMGTE Am, Christian Ried put the number 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche onto pole ahead of the Aston Martin of Paul Dalla Lana followed by Jorg Bergmeister in the Team Project 1 911 RSR.
Images: Adrenal Media
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