Two-time Formula 1 world champion Fernando Alonso has hailed teammate Kazuki Nakajima for his scorching lap that gave the #8 Toyota crew pole position for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Nakajima lapped the fabled French sportscar course in 3m15.377s at the start of Thursday evening’s final qualifying session, putting the car he shares with Alonso and Sebastien Buemi two seconds clear of the sister #7 TS050 Hybrid.
“Kazuki did an amazing lap yesterday, so we put it all in his hands and he delivered the job,” said Alonso. “Congratulations to Kazuki, especially.
“It’s good for us, 1-2 for Toyota is what we wanted. It was achieved yesterday and today. We know it's only the preparation for the big race. Long 24 hours in front of us but so far it has been a smooth preparation without any problem on the car. I think we are ready.
“So far I think we’ve been doing okay. In the moment of when it counts, everything turns into our way. Obviously the race is extremely long and extremely difficult. We have to go in with a lot of respect and try to execute the race the best way we can and hopefully we have Toyota 1-2 also at the end of the race.”
Alonso got to experience Le Mans for the first time in wet conditions, as rain showers swept across the track during the final session.
“It’s difficult at night; it’s obviously like a different track,” he said. “Now with a bit of rain it was quite tricky, but I wanted to have the experience now on the test and not in the race. I don’t want to jump in in the night and find rain and be my first laps.
“As I say I think we did all the preparation we could and now it’s a long 24 hours ahead of us but we feel ready.
“Every lap you do you make progress, you learn things. Now it was important to do some laps in wet conditions and in night conditions that are probably the most difficult ones. But we will discover many things.
“A 24 hour race you can never plan it because always we will find things unexpected, so we are ready for anything.”
Additional reporting by Jacobo Vega