SPA, Belgium – Spaniard Fernando Alonso set the best time on Thursday in a rainy second free practice for this weekend’s Six Hours of Spa race.
Piloting the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, the two-time Formula 1 champion posted a lap of 2m19.483s on the Spa-Francorchamps track, more than a second faster than the #7 Toyota, driven by Mike Conway.
The 90-minute session was disrupted by four red flags, one of them for an accident involving SMP Racing driver Stephane Sarrazin, who escaped serious injury though his car had to be removed from the track.
Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima lead the 2018-2019 FIA World Endurance Championship by 15 points after taking the honors at the 1,000 Miles of Sebring event in March, where the Spanish driver produced the fastest lap in the 67-year history of the Florida track.
Second place belongs to the other Toyota Gazoo Racing trio: Jose Maria “Pechito” Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Conway.
The Toyota squads have claimed the two top spots in every race of the current season save for the 2018 Six Hours of Silverstone, where their initial victory was erased after the cars failed the post-race inspection.
Barring catastrophe, Toyota Gazoo Racing are likely to clinch the constructor’s title in Spa.
SMP Racing dominated the first free practice earlier Thursday. Sergey Sirotkin made it around what was then a dry track in 1m56.264s, nearly two seconds ahead of Stoffel Vandoorne at the wheel of the second SMP car.
The third free practice will take place Friday morning, just hours ahead of qualifying.
Alonso says his main goal this year is winning the Indianapolis 500 to complete the unofficial “Triple Crown of Motorsport.”
The Spaniard is already two-thirds of the way to becoming only the second driver to triumph in the Indy 500, Monaco Grand Prix and 24 Hours of Le Mans, joining England’s legendary Graham Hill (1929-1975).
A day after announcing he won’t compete in the WEC next season, Alonso told EFE Thursday that he thinks the battle for the 2018-2019 driver’s championship won’t be decided until the final race at Le Mans.
The eight-round “super season” began a year ago at Spa and moved on to Le Mans, Silverstone, Shanghai and Sebring.