Race Reviews

Toyota on Pole as Aston Martin shows what a year can do at Le Mans

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After three action-packed qualifying sessions, the No. 7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID is on pole position going into Saturday’s FIA WEC Super Finale. Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time after clocking 3:15.497 in Q2, his second pole at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s No. 8 was second fastest, with privateer Russian team SMP Racing in the No. 17 BR Engineering BR1 car in third.  Remarkably just 0.251s separate the No. 8 Toyota and the Non-Hybrid SMP Racing car. 

Despite both Rebellion Racing cars suffering engine problems during qualifying which limited their time on track, the No. 3 Rebellion R13 – Gibson still placed fourth. Indeed, only 1.310s separate the top six LMP1 cars at the end of all three qualifying sessions. 

LMP2 was equally competitive with just 0.594s separating the top three cars.  The No. 39 Graff entry narrowly clinched pole over the No. 28 TDS Racing Oreca 07 – Gibson car with Loïc Duval posting a time of 3:25.345 for the WEC entry in the third and final qualifying session.*

The No. 11 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 – Gibson had proved quickest during Q1 and Q2 but was unable to keep up the pace for Q3. The No. 36 Signatech Alpine Matmut – which is challenging Jackie Chan DC Racing for the LMP2 title this weekend – was third out of the WEC entries.

*Following Scrutineering, Graff’s first 16 lap times from Q3 were deleted after the team were penalised for failing to stop at the weight bridge when signalled to do so. The result elevates No. 28 TDS Racing into pole position for Saturday’s race, with DragonSpeed second and Signatech Alpine Matmut third. 

Aston Martin Racing on pole in LMGTE Pro

The third qualifying session saw plenty of changes in the overall LMGTE Pro times as Aston Martin Racing set an overall best of 3:48.00 which awarded them pole.  The time was set by the No. 95 car with Marco Sørensen at the wheel and made even more special considering this weekend marks Aston Martin’s 60th anniversary of the marque’s 1959 Le Mans victory.

The No. 67 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK car was second fastest, 0.718s ahead of Corvette Racing. The No. 91 Porsche GT Team and No. 82 BMW Team MTEK were fourth and fifth respectively making it five different manufacturers filling the top five spots in LMGTE Pro.

Meanwhile, in LMGTE Am, it was a Porsche 1-2-3 with Dempsey-Proton Racing’s No. 88 and No. 77 Porsche 911 RSR cars dominating qualifying after finishing first and second – Matteo Cairoli setting the pace in the No.88 for his second consecutive pole.  The No. 86 Gulf Racing was third quickest in a similar car making it a hugely successful Le Mans qualifying for the German marque. 

To view all the times from Qualifying click HERE.

Tomorrow (Friday) will be a day of rest for the drivers before the 87th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans gets underway at 15h00 CEST on Saturday 15 June. A total of 61 cars will start this year’s race after the No. 99 Dempsey-Proton Racing car was withdrawn following a heavy impact with the barriers during yesterday’s qualifying.