Le Mans 24h: Toyota narrowly beats Rebellion to pole

Kamui Kobayashi has gifted Toyota another pole at the Le Mans 24 Hours after beating Rebellion’s Gustavo Menezes in a tightly-contested Hyperpole session.

The new-for-2020 Hyperpole shootout gave the fastest six cars in each class in Thursday’s first qualifying session a chance to fight for pole in a condensed 30-minute session on Friday morning.

In the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid Kamui Kobayashi clocked a first flying lap of 3m15.920s, comfortably quicker than teammate Kazuki Nakajima’s 3m17.424s.

Rebellion returned fire by virtue of a stellar 3m15.822s from Gustavo Menezes in the #1 Rebellion R-13, the fastest ever lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe for a privateer and a non-hybrid car.

That prompted Kobayashi to respond with an even quicker lap aboard the #7, posting a 3m15.267s on his next attempt. Nakajima too went quicker on his second attempt, but stayed third with a 3m16.649s, ahead of the second Rebellion of Louis Deletraz.

The Japanese driver look set to take another six tenths out of his time the following lap, but he aborted the lap because of a track limits transgression - denying him the chance to beat his own lap record from three years ago.

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Tom Dillmann’s #4 ByKolles machine brought up the rear of the five-car LMP1 field, the ENSO CLM P1/01 barely ahead of the LMP2 runners.

In LMP2 Paul di Resta put the #22 United Autosports Oreca on top early on with a 3m24.528s, a new all-time record for the class, followed by Jean-Eric Vergne in the #26 G-Drive entry and Will Stevens in the JOTA Sport-run #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing car.

In the #33 High Class Racing Oreca, Toyota protege Kenta Yamashita then jumped Stevens to take third, only to then be demoted himself by a late effort from Nyck de Vries in the #29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca.

FIA F2 champion De Vries had survived an early scare in the Porsche Curves, going straight on into the gravel trap but narrowly avoiding the barriers on his way out.

Porsche scored pole in the GTE Pro class thanks to Gianmaria Bruni's 3m50.874s effort in the #91 911 RSR-19, albeit almost three seconds down on 2019's class pole time.

Sam Bird led the early proceedings in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, his time of 3m51.515s actually two tenths slower than GTE Am’s provisional polesitter Matt Campbell in the Proton Porsche.

Bruni then went faster in the #91 Porsche, before Marco Sorensen lifted his #95 Aston Martin Vantage up to second. In the closing stages, James Calado vaulted over Sorensen to second in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari, while the #97 Aston of Alex Lynn went fourth.

In GTE Am Campbell’s early benchmark was eventually bettered by Come Ledogar in the #61 Luzich Ferrari, the Frenchman posting a 3m51.266s.

That was just over half a tenth quicker than Campbell and four tenths quicker than Matteo Cairoli in the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche.

Qualifying results:

Pos. # Drivers Car Class Time Gap Interval
1 7 GBR Mike Conway
JPN Kamui Kobayashi
ARG Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 3'15.267    
2 1 BRA Bruno Senna
FRA Norman Nato
USA Gustavo Menezes
Rebellion R13 LMP1 3'15.822 0.555 0.555
3 8 SUI Sebastien Buemi
JPN Kazuki Nakajima
NZL Brendon Hartley
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 3'16.649 1.382 0.827
4 3 FRA Romain Dumas
FRA Nathanael Berthon
SUI Louis Deletraz
Rebellion R13 LMP1 3'18.330 3.063 1.681
5 4 FRA Tom Dillmann
CAN Bruno Spengler
GBR Oliver Webb
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 3'23.043 7.776 4.713
6 22 GBR Philip Hanson
POR Filipe Albuquerque
GBR Paul di Resta
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'24.528 9.261 1.485
7 26 RUS Roman Rusinov
FRA Jean-Eric Vergne
DEN Mikkel Jensen
Aurus 01 LMP2 3'24.860 9.593 0.332
8 29 HOL Frits van Eerd
HOL Giedo van der Garde
HOL Nyck de Vries
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'25.062 9.795 0.202
9 33 JPN Kenta Yamashita
USA Mark Patterson
DEN Anders Fjordbach
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'25.426 10.159 0.364
10 32 USA William Owen
GBR Alex Brundle
HOL Job van Uitert
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'25.671 10.404 0.245
11 37 CHN Ho-Pin Tung
FRA Gabriel Aubry
GBR Will Stevens
Oreca 07 LMP2 3'25.875 10.608 0.204
12 91 ITA Gianmaria Bruni
AUT Richard Lietz
FRA Frederic Makowiecki
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 3'50.874 35.607 24.999
13 51 ITA Alessandro Pier Guidi
GBR James Calado
BRA Daniel Serra
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 3'51.115 35.848 0.241
14 95 DEN Nicki Thiim
DEN Marco Sorensen
GBR Richard Westbrook
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 3'51.241 35.974 0.126
15 61 USA Francesco Piovanetti
BRA Oswaldo Negri Jr
FRA Come Ledogar
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 3'51.266 35.999 0.025
16 77 GER Christian Ried
ITA Riccardo Pera
AUS Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'51.322 36.055 0.056
17 97 BEL Maxime Martin
GBR Alex Lynn
GBR Harry Tincknell
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 3'51.324 36.057 0.002
18 71 ITA Davide Rigon
ESP Miguel Molina
GBR Sam Bird
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 3'51.515 36.248 0.191
19 56 NOR Egidio Perfetti
HOL Larry ten Voorde
ITA Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'51.647 36.380 0.132
20 92 DEN Michael Christensen
FRA Kevin Estre
BEL Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 911 RSR - 19 LMGTE PRO 3'51.770 36.503 0.123
21 98 CAN Paul Dalla Lana
GBR Ross Gunn
BRA Augusto Farfus
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 3'52.105 36.838 0.335
22 90 TUR Salih Yoluc
IRL Charlie Eastwood
GBR Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 3'52.299 37.032 0.194
23 86 GBR Michael Wainwright
GBR Ben Barker
GBR Andrew Watson
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 3'52.346 37.079 0.047

 

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