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#8 Toyota Quickest in Le Mans FP1

(Photo: Roger Jenkins)

Brendon Hartley, at the wheel of the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010-Hybrid set the quickest time in the first practice session of three for the 24 Hours of Le Mans and the only session ahead of the 60-minute qulaifying session, due to get underway at 7.00pm at the Circuit de las Sarthe. Hartley lapped in 3:26.013, almost getting under the 3:36 time that was forecast as the session got underway.

Callum Ilott, driving the #12 Hertz Team Jota Porsche 963 he shares with teammates Norman Nato and Will Stevens  set the second quickest time when The Indycar driver lapped in 3:26.61p early in the session, a time which was not surpassed until the final 40 minutes.

(Photo: Roger Jenkins)

Third quickest was the #15 BMW M Team WRT BMW M – Hybrid V8 in the hands of Dries Vanthoor in the car he shares with Raffaele Marciello and Marco Wiittman.

Quickest of the LPM2 field was the #14 AO by TF ORECA driven by PJ Hyett, Louis Deletraz and Alex Quinn with a 3:24.245 followed by the #30 Duqueine Team car of John Falb, James Allen and Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer, Allen lapping in 3:34.843.

Estaban Masson in the #87 Akkodis Team Lexus RC-F LMGT3 was quickest in the LMGT3 class where Estaban Masson put in a 3:57.808. Inception Racing was second quickest with its #70 McLaren 720S LMGT3 Evo driven by Brendan Iribe, Ollie Millroy and Frederik Schandorff lapping in 3:58.770 in the hands of Iribe.

The session got underway in cool, overcast conditions with an ambient temperature of 19 degrees C. Almost all of the field was in the pit lane ready to go as the lights went green with the exception of the two Lamborghini SC63s which waited until the pitlane was clear before setting off.

The first Slow Zone was activated after 50 minutes when the #65 Panis Racing ORECA in the hands of Rodrigo Sales stopped just before the Dunlop Bridge. The car was moved and the slow zone removed after five minutes.

Nine cars were given a three-minute stop-and-go penalty for not respecting the race director’s instructions at the beginning of the session. At 3.15pm a further Slow Zone was activated after Ben Keating in the #23 United Autosports LMP2 car went into the gravel at the Porsche Curves.

15 minutes later Ferdinand Hapsburg-Lothringen, driving the #36 Alpine Endurance Alpine A424, had a problem approaching the Dunlop Bridge. The incident was covered by waved yellow flags as Hapsburg-Lothringen slowly drove the #36 Alpine back to the garage.

The session was then red-flagged as the #36 Alpine slowly returned to the garage and the #78 Akkodis ASP Team Lexus RC F LMGT3 stopped on the circuit on the run to Indianapolis. Green flag running resumed at 3.46pm.

When the session got back underway, Hartley set the quickest time of the day when he lapped the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010-Hyrid in 3:26.13.

AS the session entered the final 30 minutes, the red flag was brought out once again after Alex Lynn in the #2 Cadillac made contact with the barriers near Tertre Rouge. Lynn recovered the #2 car back to the garage and the session resumed with just over 15 minutes remaining.

When the chequered flag was shown at 5.00pm, the #8 Toyota was quickest followed by the #12 Hertz Team Jota.

Qualifying, which will determine the starting grid for all classes below the top eight qualifiers in each class gets underway at 7.00pm.