As expected, Toyota took pole position in the first ever Hyperpole session at Le Mans, car #7 in the hands of Kamui Kobayashi achieving a lap of 3m 15.267s in dry and sunny conditions this morning. But it is Rebellion #1 who will line up alongside them on the front row of the grid, as Gustavo Menezes achieved a time just half a second slower. The second Toyota and second Rebellion will form the second row, ahead of the Bykolles.
Kamui Kobayashi said after Hyperpole, “I am really happy to be on pole position again. The team did a great job to prepare our car for this. In hyperpole we had two chances to set a quick lap so we played it a bit safe with the first one. On the second one I pushed to the maximum but unfortunately I had to abandon the lap. It had been a quick lap up until then; I was trying to break my record and it was close. I think there was a chance to go faster so it’s a pity it was deleted. Race speed looked good in practice so now we have to do the 24 hours. We have worked really hard to get to this point so we will do our best for the race.”
In LMP2, it was again the United Autosports #22 that took pole in class, with Paul Di Resta achieving the fastest ever class lap along the way, with a time of 3m 24.528s. They will start ahead of the G-Drive Racing #26 and the Racing Team Nederland #29, all three cars achieving a best lap within a half second. Not far behind came High Class Racing #33, the second United Autosports #32 and the first of the Jota cars, the #37 of Jackie Chan DC Racing.
In GTE Pro, pole went the way of the #91 Porsche GT Team, with Gianmaria Bruni turning the fastest lap in 3m 50.874s, ahead of the AF Corse Ferrari #51 with James Calado at the wheel. Third and fourth went to the pair of Aston Martins, #95 ahead of the #97 car with just one tenth of a second between them.
Gianmaria Bruni said, “After initial difficulties in the first practice, we completely changed the setup of our car – with success! Our 911 RSR is now significantly easier to drive. That became obvious in the qualifying and the Hyperpole. I didn’t make any mistakes in my flying lap and now I’m on pole with my teammates Richard and Fred. It’s a fantastic result for Porsche. Now we want to be just as successful in the race.”
And in GTE Am, it was the #61 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo of Luzich Racing with Côme Ledogar aboard that snatched a late pole away from Matt Campbell’s #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche, by just 0.056s, Behind it was the ##56 Team Project 1 and #98 Aston Martin Racing who will share the second row in class, with the #90 TF Sport and #86 Gulf Racing filling the third row.
The race will start at 2.30PM CET (1.30PM BST) tomorrow.
Report by Steve Tarrant
Photos: AdrenalMedia.com, Porsche Newsroom, Toyota Gazoo Racing