Le Mans test day: Toyota beats 2016 pole time in afternoon

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Le Mans test day: Toyota beats 2016 pole time in afternoon
By: Gary Watkins
Jun 4, 2017, 4:04 PM

Toyota went faster than last year's pole position time for the Le Mans 24 Hours as it continued its domination of the official pre-race test. 

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Stéphane Sarrazin
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Stéphane Sarrazin
#35 Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson: Pierre Ragues, Andre Negrao, Nelson Panciatici
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Stéphane Sarrazin
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Stéphane Sarrazin
#50 Larbre Competition Corvette C7-Z06: Romain Brandela, Christian Philippon, Fernando Rees
#91 Porsche Team Porsche 911 RSR: Richard Lietz, Frédéric Makowiecki, Patrick Pilet
#64 Corvette Racing Corvette C7.R: Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Marcel Fassler

Kamui Kobayashi ended up fastest with a 3m18.132s aboard the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which was more than a second and a half up on Neel Jani's 2016 pole time for Porsche. 

The Japanese driver driver jumped to the top of the timesheets with a 3m18.319s shortly after the test resumed and then improved by two tenths later in the opening hour. 

Those times put him ahead of the #8 Toyota, in which Kazuki Nakajima had led the way during the morning of the test. 

Sebastien Buemi improved on the car's morning best with a 3m20.091s just 15 minutes into the second of the two four-hour sessions, and then bettered that with a 3m20.037s. 

He returned to the car to post its fastest lap of the day with a 3m19.290s.

The #9 Toyota ended up third on a 3m21.455s, set by event rookie Jose Maria Lopez.

The first of the Porsche 919 Hybrids was just four hundredths behind in fourth place at the end of the day, which was halted 12 minutes early after a red flag for dropped oil. 

Earl Bamber set the fastest Porsche time of the test with a 3m21.512s after the car returned to the track following an engine change that began at the end of the opening session.

Reigning WEC champion and Le Mans winner Jani was fifth-fastest in the #1 Porsche on a 3m22.100s.

Signatech, Chevrolet stay on top

The #35 Signatech Alpine again went quickest in LMP2, this time with Nelson Panciatici turning the fastest lap of the session.

He posted a 3m28.146s aboard the Alpine-badged Oreca-Gibson to send up seven tenths clear of the Jean-Eric Vergne in the best of the Manor team's entries. 

Chevrolet moved back to the top spot in GTE Pro times with a 3m54.701s from Oliver Gavin late in the session after the car had undergone an engine change. 

His time eclipsed the 3m54.996s from Frederic Makowiecki in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR. 

Aston Martin Racing took top spot in GTE Am with a 3m58.250s from Pedro Lamy. 

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Le Mans test day: Toyota locks out top three in morning session

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