Image Credit: Jason Gore
The sun sets fast in these parts, and it was in the gathering night that the second Free Practice session took place under full colour-popping floodlights. One benefit of these conditions, which of course also apply to the race, is that the heat of the day starts to dip (barely!) to a balmy 25c.
With the Audi Sport Team Joest cars raising a challenge in the first session, it was both the Driver’s Championship elect Porsche 919 Hybrid #2 of Leib/Dumas/Jani (1:39.817) and out-going Champions in the #1 that took a firm hold at the front of the field. Not deterred the #8 Audi R18 of Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis held third with 1:40.400, irrespective of futures these guys are here for one thing, the top step. Just 2-tenths behind them (in fourth) are the #6 Toyota Gazoo Racing crew of Sarrazin/Conway/Kobayashi the team with the best shot at upsetting the #2 crews chances of a Drviers World Championship..
Seemingly the #2 Porsche has recovered from its lost pace of the previous two rounds, lets hope they understand why and it continues to show form into the race.
On their final outing in the LMP1 category the #13 Rebellion Racing guys continue to have the better of #4 ByKolles which continues to stay just ahead of the gathering LMP2 field, which of course will gain pace over this winter.
LMP2 sees the G-Drive Racing #26 team (1:50.056) just outpacing the anointed champions in the #36 Signatech Alpine (1:50.444). 3rd in this sizzling category the Manor Racing #44 Oreca of Bradley/Rao/Lynn 1:51.023 lets hope this team gets a final round reward for their season-long endurance.
In GTE-Pro where BoP chaos reigns, the two Aston Martin Racing cars #95 & #97 lead comfortably with 1:57.226 & 1:57.233 respectively. Next fastest is the #67 Ford GT 1:59.168 pursued furiously by the two AF Corse Ferrari 488s.
In GTE-Am the Aston Martin #98 of Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda continues to make every effort to overcome the AF Corse 458 #83 of Perrodo/Collard/Aguas which just needs a reasonable finish to claim the championship. Nice to see them separated in this session by the Larbre Competition Chevrolet Corvette of Ragues/Taylor/Brandela