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Conway puts Toyota on top in WEC pre-season Monza test

Mike Conway, Toyota, WEC 2017

Toyota beat LMP1 rival Porsche to top the second test session of the World Endurance Championship prologue at Monza on Friday afternoon.

The fastest time of the three-hour afternoon session was recorded by Mike Conway, who recorded a 1m31.332s early on in the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID.

That put him some eight tenths clear of the benchmark that Porsche's Neel Jani had established in the morning session, and a similar margin ahead of the sister #8 car of Kazuki Nakajima.

The #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid was second for much of the afternoon, as Andre Lotterer recorded a 1m32.211s late in the opening hour.

But amid a late flurry of times in the final five minutes, Nakajima make it a Toyota 1-2 with a best time of 1m32.062s.

Brendon Hartley also managed to put the #2 Porsche clear of the sister car with a last-minute effort of 1m32.146s, with Jani fractionally improving on Lotterer's earlier time but staying fourth in the #1.

As was the case in the morning, the sole privateer LMP1 entry - the ByKolles ENSO CLM P1/01-Nissan - did not set a time.

The Bykolles team is yet to finish the build of its car, but hopes it will make an appearance in Saturday's evening session.

In the LMP2 ranks, reigning class champion Gustavo Menezes led the way for the #36 Signatech Alpine crew, the American posting a best time of 1m37.020s with just over an hour remaining.

Vitaly Petrov put the sole Manor car running this weekend, the #24 ORECA, second with a time just 0.065 seconds slower than Menezes in the dying stages - pushing the #26 G-Drive ORECA of compatriot Roman Rusinov down to third place.

Porsche once again led the way in the GTE Pro division, with Kevin Estre putting the #92 911 RSR on top despite causing a red flag halfway through the session.

The Frenchman beached his car in the gravel at Variante Ascari, having earlier set a best effort of 1m47.844s in the opening hour.

Olivier Pla put the best of the Ganassi-run Ford GTs second with a 1m47.947s, a tenth ahead of the second of the Manthey-run Porsches, the #91 of Richard Lietz.

Ferrari's best representative was the #51 488 GTE of James Calado, who logged a 1m48.551s to go fourth-fastest, beating the second of the Fords and both Aston Martins.

Porsche continued to control the GTE Am category too, as Ben Barker once more set the class benchmark, a 1m50.035s, in the #86 Gulf Racing car.

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