Cadillac ends Porsche’s monopoly in final practice

Porsche had dominated the Prologue as well as the first two practice sessions for the 10-hour fixture at Qatar with its 963 LMDh, but its American rival Cadillac surged ahead in relatively hotter conditions on Friday morning.

Alex Lynn set a time of 1m40.667s in the Chip Ganassi-entered Cadillac V-Series.R at the beginning of 60-minute FP3, overhauling the #5 Porsche Penske car of Matt Campbell by 0.180s.

Lynn’s time was almost seven tenths slower than the fastest lap of the week, set by Kevin Estre in the #6 factory Porsche in much cooler temperatures on Thursday evening, which means the German marque remains on the front foot heading into qualifying later on Friday.

Third place in FP3 went to the customer Jota squad, with Callum Ilott setting a time of 1m41.121s in the #12 963 to edge out the second factory Porsche of Laurens Vanthoor by 0.035s.

Peugeot again looked rapid over a single lap at the Losail International Circuit, as new recruit Stoffel Vandoorne ended up a solid fifth in the best of the two works 9X8, just two hundredths of a second behind Vanthoor’s Porsche.

Ferrari was the fourth-quickest manufacturer in FP3, but it was the AF Corse squad that led the Italian marque’s charge in final practice.

Yifei Ye got down to a 1m41.212s in the #83 Ferrari 499P to finish sixth, just ahead of the lead works car of Alessandro Pier Guidi in seventh.

Jean-Eric Vergne was next up in the #93 Peugeot, while Toyota could only manage the ninth-quickest time with Nyck de Vries at the wheel of the #7 GR010 Hybrid. De Vries’ best lap of 1m41.535s put the Japanese manufacturer almost nine tenths off the top spot, as it continued to struggle for both single-lap and long-run pace at the tricky Losail circuit.

The top 10 was rounded out by Antonio Fuoco in the second of the two factory cars, the #50 499P.

Alpine was the highest-placed new entrant in Hypercar, with its two Oreca-based LMDh cars ending up 12th and 13th behind the Proton Porsche of Julien Andlauer. 

Nicolas Lapierre was the fastest of the Alpine drivers, but even his quickest lap was 1.5s down on Lynn’s chart-topping time in the Cadillac.

The two BMW M Hybrid V8s were classified 14th and 15h, while the sole Iron Lynx-run factory Lamborghini was 16th in the 19-car Hypercar field.

The second of the two Toyotas languished in 17th place, with Sebastien Buemi finishing two seconds off the pace in the #8 entry that won last year’s title.

Aston on top in LMGT3

#27 Heart Of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3: Ian James, Daniel Mancinelli, Alex Riberas

#27 Heart Of Racing Team Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGT3: Ian James, Daniel Mancinelli, Alex Riberas

Photo by: Shameem Fahath

Aston Martin surged to the lead of the LMGT3 class late into the 60-minute FP3, with Alex Riberas going quickest in the #27 Heart of Racing-entered Vantage GT3.

Riberas’ last-gasp effort of 1m54.964s helped him dislodge the #54 AF Corse Ferrari 296 G3 that had held the top spot from the beginning of the session following an early qualifying sim from factory driver Davide Rigon.

Simon Mann in the sister #53 Ferrari finished third in class, a quarter of a second off Riberas’ best time.

Frank Perera was fourth in the #55 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracan GT3, while Marco Sorensen made it two cars from Aston Martin in the top five with a time of 1m55.346s in the D’station-run #777 Vantage.

FP3 was interrupted by a brief red flag after 15 minutes of running when James Cottingham beached his #59 United Autosports McLaren 720S GT3 at Turn 5.

Last year’s British GT championship runner-up was eventually able to get going again, allowing the session to be resumed.


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