Fuoco leads Ferrari sweep of Imola WEC practice

The story so far for Ferrari on home soil at Imola in the WEC’s Hypercar class has been a positive one, with three fastest laps in three practice sessions. Heading into qualifying at Imola later today, the 499P appears to be the car to beat.

While Antonio Fuoco was unable to dip into the 1m30s and set the quickest lap of the week so far, a 1m31.238 was enough to place the No. 50 factory Ferrari at the top of the pile in the sunshine during Free Practice 3.

“It’s looking quite good. I think for qualifying we will stick with the medium tires if it stays dry,” Fuoco said.

The other two 499Ps ended up at the sharp end by the end of the session and within half a second of the No. 50, but fourth (No. 83) and sixth (No. 51) after encouraging laps from the pair of BMW M Hybrid V8s that finished the 60-minute session second and third, and the No. 5 Porsche Penske 963 that slotted in fifth.

For BMW this was the first real flash of pace from its M Hybrid V8s this season, the No. 15 setting the better time of the two after a 1m31.272s from Dries Vanthoor. It’s still early days, and no points are awarded for fast laps in practice, but this performance should act as a confidence boost for the WRT-run team ahead of its second race in Hypercar tomorrow.

The remaining spaces in the top 10 were filled by the two Toyotas, the sister Penske Porsche and the No. 12 JOTA 963.

It wasn’t a clean session for the 19 runners in Hypercar. Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No. 51 Ferrari found himself caught out twice. The first time came at Turn 6 on his out-lap, the Italian spinning on the exit of the corner after losing the rear. Moments later he found himself running through the gravel at Rivazza after locking the rear tires in the braking zone.

Pier Guidi wasn’t the only driver to end up off track at Turn 18, as the session was red-flagged with a few minutes remaining when Paul Di Resta in the No. 94 Peugeot 9X8 2024 also went straight on and ended up beached in the kitty litter. Thankfully, he avoided contact with the tire wall.

In LMGT3 it was a 1-2 for Aston Martin, with D’Station’s Vantage claiming the top spot late in the session after a 1m42.474s from Marco Sorensen. The No. 27 from Heart of Racing would have its best time set by Daniel Mancinelli midway through the session.

Team WRT’s No. 31 M4 GT3 would return to the pit lane third fastest following a 1m43.028s from Augusto Farfus, who was a tenth faster than Alex Malykhin in the Qatar-winning No. 92 Manthey Pure Rxcing Porsche and the No. 95 United Autosports McLaren GT3 EVO that completed the top five.

After topping both sessions yesterday, TF Sport’s Corvette crews found themselves ninth and 16th ahead of the fight for pole position. However, the 1m49.9s from Charlie Eastwood in FP2 is still the fastest lap of the weekend.

Qualifying is set to get underway at 2:45pm local time.


Story originally appeared on Racer