Austin WEC: Rebellion tops FP2 before hitting drama

Rebellion Racing topped second practice for this weekend’s Lone Star Le Mans at the Circuit of the Americas, but is in a race against time to make qualifying after blowing an engine.

As was the case during Saturday’s earlier FP1 session, Gustavo Menezes set the fastest time aboard the #1 Rebellion R-13, posting an 1m48.804s early on in the two-hour session.

That was enough to top the session by 0.654s ahead of the quicker of the two Toyota TS050 Hybrids, the #8 with Brendon Hartley at the wheel.

But just before the halfway mark of the session, when Bruno Senna was at the wheel, smoke started pouring from the rear of the #1 car, Senna parking up at Turn 5.

The car was promptly recovered and the Rebellion crew began the process of changing the normally-aspirated Gibson engine ahead of qualifying, which begins at 1810 local time.

“I think we should be ok [for qualifying],” commented Rebellion team manager Bart Hayden on the engine change. “It’s not the end of the world.”

Toyota’s #7 car, which is carrying a larger success handicap than the sister car, once again struggled, ending up seventh-fastest overall, behind four of the LMP2 runners.

Mike Conway’s best effort aboard the championship-leading car was 2.381s off the pace.

Mercedes Formula E driver Nyck de Vries set the pace in LMP2 with a time only 1.059s slower than Menezes in the Rebellion.

De Vries took the #29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca to a blistering time of 1m49.863s, a massive nine tenths faster than the United Autosports Oreca of Filipe Albuquerque.

Gabriel Aubry was third-fastest in the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca, while the Signatech Alpine-branded Oreca of Thomas Laurent was the fourth and final LMP2 runner to outpace the slower of the Toyota LMP1s.

Porsche led the way in GTE Pro courtesy of late session-topper from Michael Christensen, a 2m01.176s, at the wheel of the #92 works 911 RSR-19.

That was sufficient to beat the #95 Aston Martin Vantage of Marco Sorensen by a scant 0.053s, and the #91 Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni by a little over three tenths.

Corvette Racing’s solo C8.R ended up sixth-fastest in the hands of Jan Magnussen, within a second of the pace and ahead of the #97 Aston Martin.

Matt Campbell put the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche fastest in GTE Am and fourth overall among the GTE runners, his 2m02.192s beating both GTE Pro class Ferraris.

There were two red flags during the session, the first coming after only 14 minutes when the #95 Aston of Sorensen came to a halt at Turn 8 with a loose left-rear wheel.

The second came with five minutes left on the clock as the #88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche stopped at Turn 2, and the session was not resumed thereafter.

Session results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 1 Bruno Senna
Gustavo Menezes
Norman Nato
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1’48.804  
2 8 Sébastien Buemi
Kazuki Nakajima
Brendon Hartley
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1’49.458 0.654
3 29 Frits van Eerd
Giedo van der Garde
Nyck de Vries
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’49.863 1.059
4 22 Philip Hanson
Filipe Albuquerque
Paul di Resta
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’50.803 1.999
5 37 Ho-Pin Tung
Gabriel Aubry
Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’50.838 2.034
6 36 Thomas Laurent
Andre Negrao
Pierre Ragues
Alpine A470 LMP2 1’50.968 2.164
7 7 Mike Conway
Kamui Kobayashi
Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1’51.185 2.381
8 21 Henrik Hedman
Ben Hanley
Colin Braun
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’51.879 3.075
9 42 Nicolas Lapierre
Antonin Borga
Alexandre Coigny
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’51.981 3.177
10 38 Roberto Gonzalez
Antonio Felix da Costa
Anthony Davidson
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’52.286 3.482
11 33 Mark Patterson
Kenta Yamashita
Anders Fjordbach
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’52.493 3.689
12 47 Roberto Lacorte
Andrea Belicchi
Giorgio Sernagiotto
Dallara P217 LMP2 1’54.506 5.702
13 92 Michael Christensen
Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE PRO 2’01.716 12.912
14 95 Marco Sorensen
Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2’01.769 12.965
15 91 Gianmaria Bruni
Richard Lietz
Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE PRO 2’02.045 13.241
16 77 Christian Ried
Riccardo Pera
Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2’02.192 13.388
17 51 James Calado
Alessandro Pier Guidi
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2’02.462 13.658
18 71 Davide Rigon
Miguel Molina
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2’02.583 13.779
19 63 Jan Magnussen
Mike Rockenfeller
Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 2’02.597 13.793
20 98 Paul Dalla Lana
Darren Turner
Ross Gunn
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2’02.634 13.830
21 70 Motoaki Ishikawa
Olivier Beretta
Kei Cozzolino
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2’02.706 13.902
22 97 Alex Lynn
Maxime Martin
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2’02.844 14.040
23 86 Michael Wainwright
Andrew Watson
Benjamin Barker
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2’02.976 14.172
24 56 Egidio Perfetti
Laurents Hörr
Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2’03.016 14.212
25 54 Thomas Flohr
Francesco Castellacci
Giancarlo Fisichella
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2’03.477 14.673
26 62 Bonamy Grimes
Johnny Mowlem
Charles Hollings
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2’03.526 14.722
27 83 François Perrodo
Emmanuel Collard
Nicklas Nielsen
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2’03.654 14.850
28 57 Ben Keating
Felipe Fraga
Jeroen Bleekemolen
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2’03.827 15.023
29 88 Bret Curtis
Adrien de Leener
Thomas Preining
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2’03.986 15.182
30 90 Salih Yoluc
Charles Eastwood
Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2’04.333 15.529

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