Nicolas Lapierre topped the timing sheets in Thursday’s opening Free Practice session at the Red Bull Ring. The Frenchman, driving the DragonSpeed 10Star #21 ORECA 07 Gibson, clocked in a 1:20.588 on lap 10, setting the standard for the day.
The second of DragonSpeed’s cars, the #22 G-Drive Racing sponsored ORECA driven by Nicolas Minassian (standing in for regular driver Ryo Hirakawa who has Super-GT duties in Japan), finished three tenth’s down on Lapierre’s time. Enzo Guibbert set a 1:21. 219 on lap 12 to give the #39 GRAFF ORECA 07 third spot for the day.
In the fiercely competitive LMP3 class the Norma M 30 Nissan was the car to beat on Thursday when Dario Capitanio took the Oregon Team’s #10 car to a class best time of 1:26.376 on lap eight. The #3 United Autosports Ligier was just +0.314s behind and Mikkel Jensen rounded out the top three with a flying 1:27.030 set early on in the session.
In the GTE class Proton Competition were the team to beat in FP1 with Matteo Cairoli’s 1:29.728 putting the #77 Porsche 911 just ahead of the #90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage, which after a 1:29.753 by Nicki Thiim slotettd into second place.
The podium was rounded out by the #51 Spirit of Race Ferrari despite the team having to serve a 10-minute Stop & Go penalty following Giorgio Roda continual abuse of track limits and having his times deleted. Andrea Bertolini setting a 1:29.815.
In Friday morning’s Free Practice 2, DragonSpeed and Lapierre again topped the tables setting a blistering 1:19.082 on lap 11. Again, as yesterday the team’s second car, the #22 G-Drive ORECA was just marginally behind with Léo Roussel clocking in a 1:19.492. The #32 United Autosports Ligier JSP217 Gibson of Filipe Albuquerque took the honours for third fastest of the session with a lap 11 time of 1:19.811.
AT Racing’s #9 Ligier JS P3 Nissan set the LMP3 pace early on in the session in the when Mikkel Jensen clocked in a 1:26.507 on lap six which could not be bettered. Simon Gachet squeezed the #16 Panis Barthez Competition Ligier into second fastest of the session on the penultimate lap. The #10 Oregon Team Norma M 30 rounded out the top three with a 1:26.795
In GTE, the #51 Spirit of Race improved on yesterday’s third spot topping out FP2 with a 1:28.407, again set by Andrea Bertolini. Despite getting his times deleted early in the session for crossing the white line at pit entry, Proton Competition’s Matteo Cairoli held onto second fastest of the session with a time of 1:28.721. Darren Turner in the #99 Beechdean AMR Aston Martin Vantage rounded out the session’s top three setting a 1:28.814 on lap 11.