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.
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.
|1||7|| Mike Conway |
Jose Maria Lopez
|Toyota TS050 Hybrid||LMP1||3'15.267|
|2||1|| Bruno Senna |
|3||8|| Sebastien Buemi |
|Toyota TS050 Hybrid||LMP1||3'16.649||1.382||0.827|
|4||3|| Romain Dumas |
|5||4|| Tom Dillmann |
|ENSO CLM P1/01||LMP1||3'23.043||7.776||4.713|
|6||22|| Philip Hanson |
Paul di Resta
|7||26|| Roman Rusinov |
|8||29|| Frits van Eerd |
Giedo van der Garde
Nyck de Vries
|9||33|| Kenta Yamashita |
|10||32|| William Owen |
Job van Uitert
|11||37|| Ho-Pin Tung |
|12||91|| Gianmaria Bruni |
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE PRO||3'50.874||35.607||24.999|
|13||51|| Alessandro Pier Guidi |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE PRO||3'51.115||35.848||0.241|
|14||95|| Nicki Thiim |
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE PRO||3'51.241||35.974||0.126|
|15||61|| Francesco Piovanetti |
Oswaldo Negri Jr
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE AM||3'51.266||35.999||0.025|
|16||77|| Christian Ried |
|Porsche 911 RSR||LMGTE AM||3'51.322||36.055||0.056|
|17||97|| Maxime Martin |
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE PRO||3'51.324||36.057||0.002|
|18||71|| Davide Rigon |
|Ferrari 488 GTE EVO||LMGTE PRO||3'51.515||36.248||0.191|
|19||56|| Egidio Perfetti |
Larry ten Voorde
|Porsche 911 RSR||LMGTE AM||3'51.647||36.380||0.132|
|20||92|| Michael Christensen |
|Porsche 911 RSR - 19||LMGTE PRO||3'51.770||36.503||0.123|
|21||98|| Paul Dalla Lana |
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE AM||3'52.105||36.838||0.335|
|22||90|| Salih Yoluc |
|Aston Martin Vantage AMR||LMGTE AM||3'52.299||37.032||0.194|
|23||86|| Michael Wainwright |
|Porsche 911 RSR||LMGTE AM||3'52.346||37.079||0.047|
Le Mans 24h: Rebellion leads Toyota in fourth practice
Kobayashi "disappointed" to miss new Le Mans record