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Le Mans, qualifying report

The 86th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours will see an all Toyota front row as the #8 TS050 Hybrid of Kazuki Nakajima (Sébastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso) took the team’s fourth pole with a 3:15:377.

It was Kazuki’s second Le Mans career pole: “I was pushing hard and it was a clean lap... I think we have a really good balance for the race so I am pleased with what we have done so far. Qualifying is only maybe 1% of the whole weekend but this pole position is nice for the team but we all know that the race is very long and it's going to be tough.

The #7 Toyota of Conway, Kobayashi and López locks out the front row thanks to Kamui in the first qualifying.

It was a session full of penalties, which promoted the #1 Rebellion R13 to third under the hands of Bruno Senna.

LMP2 was hit with penalties which assisted the #48 IDEC Sport ORECA 07 securing pole ahead of the #31 Dragonspeed and #26 G-Drive Racing. The #48 with Paul-Loup Chatin on board put in a time of 3:24:956, only .041 seconds head of the Dragonspeed.

IDEC Sport Racing Director Patrice Lafargue: “I’m really glad! This pole position is a fantastic achievement for the whole team and particularly for Paul-Loup. He’s posted the best lap time, showing how talented he is. We’re a new team, so it’s encouraging to reach such a result, it makes everybody hopeful.”

Porsche secured a 1-2 for their GT programme with #91 and #92 911 RSR’s respectively. Setting the quickest time during the first qualifying session was Gianmaria Bruni with a 3:47:504, the fastest time ever for a GT around Le Mans.

“Pole position at Le Mans doesn’t really mean a lot for the race, but of course it makes me very happy” said Bruni. “It’s especially great that the lap time sets a new GTE record at Le Mans – on the 70th anniversary of the Porsche brand. We can all be very proud, from the mechanics at the track to the engineers at Weissach”.

It was a good day for the German marque with Porsche taking the top three spots in the Am class.

Dempsey–Proton Racing #88 of Cairoli, Al Qubaisi and Roda was over half a second clear of the #86 Gulf Racing Porsche with a 3:50:728, which found itself in a Dempsey-Proton sandwich as the #77 took third.

Whilst Porsche had a good day at the office, the same couldn’t be said for Aston Martin Racing with the two Pro Vantage AMRs buried amongst the Am pack. Maxime Martin had this to say: “Despite all of the testing we have done the car is still very new, and Le Mans is a place that tests us more than any other. So I am very pleased that we have managed trouble-free running all week which has allowed us the chance to learn so much more about this car. Clearly from what we have seen through the different lap sectors this week, it has great potential. The qualifying positions are what they are but I think when we come to the race things may well be different and we will be more competitive.”

For the full qualifying times click here.

And in case you needed a reminder… Saturday 16th June, race start 3pm local time!


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