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ELMS, Silverstone - Free Practice 2 Report

Despite four hours having passed since the end of the first practice session, further showers meant that the cars still took to the track on wet tyres and picked up a very similar pace to that they had ended the morning with.

Thankfully it stayed dry this time so there was a dry line and slicks were deployed for the final third of the session.

Oliver Turvey (Jota Zytek #38) was the quickest with a 1:51.699 and was relishing the opportunity to race at the front again.  “I’ve been doing a lot of simulation work and testing with McLaren and in F1 and they have been really supportive but it is nice to be racing and I think I’ve massively improved as a driver.  This is the first time I’ve been at Silverstone in a prototype.  We’ve done some testing in Spain and France and the car is working really well.  I guess we can say we have tried every possible condition today and the car has been really quick in all of them so I hope we can reward the team for all their hard work in getting us here.  It was good to get a run on slicks at the end as the team wanted me out there in case it is dry again for qualifying tomorrow.”

Simon Dolan had a solid stint too “We went to intermediates quite quickly and it was probably slick weather about 3 laps before I came in but we wanted to see what the wear was like.  I think there was time to come for both of us, the car feels really good.”

Panciatici (Signatech Alpine #36) got within half a second of Jota’s time for second overall and Mailleux was less than a tenth further back in the Morand Racing Morgan #43.  Promising news then for the reborn French brand and the new French team.  Natasha Gachnang was third fastest by the time she brought the car in to handover to Mailleux too, so she was hitting her stated objectives of “staying on the track and improving step by step and get more confident in the new car.” 

Murphy Prototypes ended with the fourth quickest time but Hartley had always been in the mix when he was in the car.

Greaves had a more representative session and Chris Dyson was within two seconds of the quickest times when he was in the #3 car, but the best time of 2:01.453 was set when the track was still damp.  Niederhauser and Hirschi also featured at the sharp end when they were in #34 and #1 respectively so it seems that, but for #39 and #4 which are yet to really feature, P2 will be a wide open three-hour sprint. 

In LMPC Loup Chatin (Team Endurance #49) was consistent and impressive again, trading times with the experienced and quick Soheil Ayari (Team Endurance #48) and ultimately trumping him by three-quarters of a second with a 1:57.911 to finish seventh overall.  One to watch.

GTE was ever-changing, especially when the slicks went on (Johnny Mowlem (Ram Racing #52) noting that GTE times were basically falling half a second each and every lap) but the impressive Nick Tandy went straight to the top of the GTE times and stayed there with a best of 2:03.454 for Proton #77.  Mowlem had kept the #52 ahead for most of the damp running and his teammate Matt Griffin was also very much in the hunt, finishing 0.65 seconds down with Manu Collard putting the Proton third and best Porsche, eight-tenths further back. 

GTC was tightly bunched throughout (and it will be a bunch that will be lapping way ahead of the GTE cars if it is really wet tomorrow but somewhere in the middle of them if not) but it was Andrew Smith who was out in the Ecurie Ecosse BMW #79 at the end when conditions were at their best and he took the quickest time with a 2:05.543.