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Will Power paces lone practice for GMR Grand Prix at Indianapolis

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Will Power was off to a strong start Friday in his bid for a fourth victory at the GMR Grand Prix on the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course.

Power turned a lap of 1 minute, 9.9487 seconds (125.526 mph) in his No. 12 Dallara-Chevrolet to lead the lone practice session for Saturday’s race (noon ET, NBC).

“It’s hot, man,” the Team Penske driver, who won the Indy GP from the pole in 2015, ’17 and ’18, told Marty Snider on the NBC Sports Gold broadcast. “It’s going to be a tough race in that respect. The cooling’s not bad. You’re feeling it out there. Started the session pretty far off, honestly, and I was able to get the car right in the window. Some good things to think about before qualifying here, and I hopefully have a shot at the pole.”

INDIANAPOLIS INFO: Start times, TV info for the GMR Grand Prix and the entry list

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Qualifying will happen at 4:30 p.m. ET today (NBCSN, NBC Sports Gold).

Santino Ferrucci was second (1 minute, 10.1242 seconds) in the practice session, followed by Marcus Ericsson, Pato O’Ward and Scott Dixon. Ryan Hunter-Reay, Simon Pagenaud, Felix Rosenqvist, Spencer Pigot and Oliver Askew.

Click here for full results from Friday’s IndyCar practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

“Our car is really well connected,” Ferrucci told Dave Burns on the NBC Sports Gold broadcast. “Proud of our team and really looking forward to qualifying later today.”

Said Ericsson via Chip Ganassi Racing PR: “It was a good practice session. I think again, like in Texas, all three of us at Chip Ganassi Racing had really strong cars. I was feeling comfortable straight away on the blacks out there. We did some tweaking and some smaller stuff on the setup.

“I think we found some small bits and pieces and then on the reds we felt strong again and competitive. I had a good feeling in the No. 8 Huski Chocolate Honda car. Overall, it was a very positive session. I think we are looking good for this afternoon and for tomorrow for the GMR Grand Prix.”

There was one notable incident during the session as Hunter-Reay and Ferrucci made contact in Turn 7 when Ferrucci moved underneath Hunter-Reay’s Dallara-Honda, which just had pulled on track.

Neither car sustained significant damage. Ferrucci was given a 5-minute penalty for avoidable contact, but Hunter-Reay seemed to take responsibility for the crash, radioing his team that he hadn’t seen Ferrucci in his mirrors.

“There’s a rule in IndyCar you can’t impede someone on a hot lap,” Ferrucci told Burns. “I was six tenths down, and you can see him coming down the straight; he’s clearly on an out lap and warming his tires. Normally you check your mirrors. I thought he was going to wide in the corner, and when he didn’t, I tried to stop as fast as I could, I just ended up clipping him.

“I’d say that’s a warning because it’s practice. Because you lose your lap in qualifying because of that.”

Sage Karam also received a 5-minute penalty for stopping on course in Turn 12.

Toyota No. 8 car wins the 24 Hours of Le Mans for third consecutive year

24 Hours of Le Mans
JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER/AFP via Getty Images
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LE MANS, France — Toyota Gazoo’s No. 8 car comfortably won the 24 Hours of Le Mans by five laps Sunday to secure a third straight victory in the prestigious endurance race.

It was also a third consecutive win for Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi and Japan’s Kazuki Nakajima driving. Brendon Hartley was the other driver, having replaced two-time Formula One champion Fernando Alonso.

Buemi and Hartley sat on the side of the car as Nakajima drove toward the podium. Hartley won for a second time after tasting success with the Porsche LMP Team in 2017 before an unhappy season in Formula One.

The Swiss team’s Rebellion No. 1 featured American driver Gustavo Menezes and Brazilian Bruno Senna – the nephew of late F1 great Ayrton Senna.

It finished one lap ahead of Toyota Gazoo’s No. 7, with Rebellion’s No. 3 finishing in fourth place.

For much of the race it looked like Toyota’s No. 7 would win after leading comfortably from pole position. But late into the night the car encountered an engine problem and the 30-minute stop in the stands proved costly.

The race was first held in 1923. A total of 252,500 spectators attended in 2019, but there were none this year when the race started three months late because of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

“We miss the fans,” New Zealander Hartley said. “I look forward to seeing all the fans again.”

In other divisions:

United Autosports won the LMP2 division with the entry of Filipe Albuquerque, Paul Di Resta and Phil Hanson.

–In LMGTE Pro, the victory was claimed by Aston Martin Vantage AMR of Maxime Martin, Alex Lynn and Harry Tincknell (who drives for Mazda in the DPi division of IMSA).

–TF Sport won the LMGTE Am class.

The Toyota No. 7 took pole after former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi narrowly edged out the Rebellion No. 1 team in qualifying.

In damp and humid conditions Mike Conway got away cleanly from the start, while Senna held off Buemi.

After nearly seven hours, Toyota’s No. 8 fell back after a 10-minute stop in the stands to fix a brake-cooling problem on Kazuki Nakajima’s car. Rebellion’s No. 1, driven by Frenchman Norman Nato, took advantage to move into second place behind Toyota’s No. 7.

Then came the decisive moment at 2:40 a.m. as the No. 7 – also featuring Argentine Jose Maria Lopez – encountered a turbo problem. When the car came back out it was back in fourth.

“We had a few problems early in the race,” Nakajima said. “Later they had a bigger issue than us.”

Rebellion’s No. 1 encountered a problem on the hood at around 9 a.m. and the change took six minutes, allowing the Rebellion No. 3 (Nathanael Berthon-Louis Deletraz-Romain Dumas) to close the gap.

It was becoming a tight battle between the two Rebellion cars behind Toyota’s No. 8.

At 12 p.m. Rebellion No. 3 with Dumas behind the wheel was only one second ahead of No. 1 driven by Menezes. Then both cars came in for a driver change with Deletraz swapping for Dumas on a lengthy stop, and Nato for Menezes as Rebellion No. 1 suddenly moved ahead of its team rival.

Dumas, a winner in 2016 with Porsche, appeared unhappy at the strategy decision to bring his car in first and the length of the stop. There were tense explanations in the team garage.

Colombian Tatiana Calderon, an F1 test driver with Alfa Romeo, was in the Richard Mille Racing Team in the LMP2 category. She was joined by German Sophia Florsch – an F3 driver – and Dutchwoman Beitske Visser. They placed ninth out of 24 in their category.