The opening day of free practice at Qatar’s Lusail International Circuit garnered positive feedback for the Ferrari 499Ps in the top class of the 2024  FIA World Endurance Championship, with the Ferrari – AF Corse crews completing 155 laps in the first two sessions, equal to 834 kilometres. The AF Corse team, which competes in the championship with the 499P number 83 in Giallo Modena livery, racked up 82 laps during its three hours on track.

Free Practice 1. In the morning, the cars competing in the top class of the World Championship featured in the first 90-minute free practice session, which kicked off with an air temperature of 22.3° C and asphalt at 38.2° C.

The Ferrari 499P number 51 finished second in a time of 1’42”532 recorded by James Calado on the 44th of the crew’s 45 laps. The British driver trailed the session leader, the number 5 Porsche, by just 0.046 seconds. He climbed into the cockpit after Alessandro Pier Guidi, who had driven the first 27 laps.

Car number 50 secured ninth position, with Antonio Fuoco stopping the clock at 1’43”395. Nicklas Nielsen initially took the wheel, followed by Fuoco and then Miguel Molina, cumulatively completing 40 laps. AF Corse’s 499P number 83, crewed by the official Prancing Horse drivers, Yifei Ye and Robert Shwartzman, and Robert Kubica finished eleventh. Kubica set the team’s benchmark time of 1’43”500.

Free Practice 2. In the late afternoon, the second session ran under different weather conditions, with the air temperature dropping over the 90 minutes to 17°C and the asphalt to 23°C. The Ferrari – AF Corse team completed 31 and 39 laps with crews number 51 and 50, respectively. Antonio Giovinazzi and James Calado alternated in the first car, with the Italian posting the Maranello manufacturer’s best time of 1’41”426, which earned seventh place 1”436 from the first box, occupied by the number 6 Porsche. However, all three drivers took the wheel of the 499P number 50, eleventh at the end of the session. Fuoco turned in the fasted lap at 1’41”639.

The number 83 Hypercar, entered by AF Corse, was tenth, with a time of 1’41”614 set by official Ferrari driver Yifei Ye.

The programme. On Friday, 1 March, the Hypercars will hit the track again for Free Practice 3, from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., and Qualifying, from 4.20 p.m. to 4.32 p.m. The top ten cars will qualify for the Hyperpole, starting at 4.58 p.m. The 1812 KM of Qatar sets off on Saturday at 11 a.m. (all times are local).

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