Fernando Alonso Leads FIA World Endurance Championship First Practice at Spa
The two-time Formula 1 world champion set a time that was one-tenth faster than his Toyota teammate.
Current McLaren-Renault racing driver and two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso didn't waste any time acclimatizing to his new Toyota-branded office at the first practice session of the FIA World Endurance Championship in Spa-Francorchamps. There, he managed to set the fastest lap time of the session on his very first track outing.
The Spaniard patiently waited in the pits as his teammate Sebastian Buemi kicked off the team's extensive testing program at the legendary track, which included a full shakedown of the car ahead of the driver change. The shakedown portion of the day lasted 35 minutes, which awarded Alonso the remainder of the 90-minute practice session to come to terms with the #8 TS050 Toyota Hybrid racer in full racing trim.
Alonso quickly got up to speed with the car and its handling characteristic, much like he did with his Andretti Autosport IndyCar last year, and it didn't take him long to equal Buemi's best lap time around the 4.3-mile circuit. Eventually, close to the end of the session, Alonso delivered a lightning-quick time of 1:58.492 seconds, which was exactly 0.237 seconds faster than his teammate. That's an incredible feat, considering Buemi has been much more involved with the Toyota WEC team and the equipment than Alonso.
It will be interesting to see how Alonso performs over the course of the weekend, considering his somewhat tense relationship with most of the WEC paddock. Series' drivers voiced a few angry comments and tweets earlier this year due to the FIA's favoritism of Alonso, which led to official calendar dates being switched around twice just to fit the Spaniard's Formula 1 commitments, affecting several driver contracts with other racing series and sponsors.
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