Porsche sweeps front row for 24 Hours of Le Mans

Porsche goes 1-2-3 in qualifying for the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The No.18 Porsche 919 Hybrid will start the Le Mans 24 Hours on pole position. Neel Jani’s time of 3m16.887s, set on Wednesday evening, stood until the end of the final qualifying session and was never seriously threatened.

The German manufacturer annexed the top three positions on the starting grid with the No.17 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Webber/Hartley/Bernard in second place and the No.19 example of Tandy/Bamber and Hulkenberg third.

First Porsche pole in 27 years

It was the first pole position for a works Porsche team at Le Mans since 1988 when Hans-Joachim Stuck (who was present at the track today) claimed top spot in the Shell liveried Porsche 962. Jani’s fastest lap also saw Porsche extend its run of WEC poles to six

“It feels good, very good,” Jani told Motorsport.com after the final session. “The team have done a brilliant job with giving us a phenomenal car for qualifying. Now though we look to the race which is the most important thing. This pole will feel great for a few hours but the important work starts now for the race on Saturday.”

Jani even had time to register the No.18 Porsches best lap of the day – a 3m21.119s in the dying moments of the last session, emphasising Porsches superiority over the last two days of track action.

Audi takes positions 4, 5 and 6

With the teams concentrating on long runs and evaluating fuel and tyre usage, combined with less favourable ambient and track conditions, any challenge to usurp the all-conquering Porsches was never a prospect for Audi.

However, the average times from the longer stints indicate that Audi will run Porsche close in race spec. The defending Le Mans champions tried a variety of aero set-ups in readiness for the race       and on a few occasions, when running close to the Porsches on track, the R18 e-tron quattros appeared to be quicker through the slower and medium speed corners. The much talked about battle royal between the two VW Group brands looks like it will ebb and flow throughout the 24 Hours.

The No.8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Di Grassi/Duval and Jarvis starts in fourth place after Duval’s time of 3m19.866s from yesterday remained the best effort from an Audi Sport Team Joest entry.

The only significant change from yesterday’s first qualifying results came when Andre Lotterer improved in the No.7 Audi. The German took 1.3s off yesterday’s time and vaulted the No.9 example which also improved its time today but by just 0.084s.

Toyota continued to try and claw back some of the pace deficit this evening but concentrated on perfecting race strategies to try and get closer to their direct LMP1 rivals. The No.2 Toyota TS 040 HYBRID of Sarrazin/Wurz and Conway remained ahead of defending WEC champions – Davidson/Buemi and Nakajima in the No.1 car.

Rebellion tops Nissan

Rebellion Racing rounded out the top ten with its new AER-turbo powered R-One chassis’. ‘Dodo’ Kraihamer recovered from his qualifying two spin in the No.13 car to join the sister Anglo/Swiss racer in the sub 3m30s bracket, with a 3m28.930s.

Nissan made some progress during the final session with both the No.21 and No.23 Nissan GT-R LM NISMO moving up the order. Jann Mardenborough set a 3m37.291s to initially place 12th overall, while Lucas Ordonez gave the No.21 crew a much needed boost by moving up to 15th place. The No.22 car, driven by Harry Tincknell, had a late charge to move ahead of the sister No.23 car to take over 12th position.

KCMG takes LMP2 pole

KCMG celebrated pole position in the LMP2 category despite missing a large chunk of the second and third qualifying sessions after a damper breakage stopped the car after Mulsanne Corner. The team repaired the ORECA 05 and Nicolas Lapierre returned to the fray to work on further race set-up. Richard Bradley’s pace yesterday was enough to guarantee pole by almost a second.

The big change in the make-up of the LMP2 grid came in the first hour of the final two-hour qualifying session when Sam Bird stopped the clocks on a 3m38.939 to move up from fourth place to second. Bird shares the G-Drive Ligier-Nissan with Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal.

The two Gibson 015S entries from Greaves Motorsport and JOTA Sport form the second row of the LMP2 grid, while the Signatech Alpine A450b-Nissan starts fifth.

Imola ELMS winners Thiriet by TDS lost most of the qualifying session tonight after stopping on the Mulsanne Straight with an unspecified mechanical problem. The Gommendy/Thiriet and Badey crewed car will start sixth on the LMP2 grid.

Aston sweeps GTE classes

There were no changes at the top of the LMGTE classes today with the No.99 and No.98 Aston Martin securing pole respectively.

Richie Stanaway’s 3m54.928s from Wednesday’s qualifying session was threatened by the No.51 reigning WEC champion AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia driven by Gimmi Bruni/Toni Vilander and Giancarlo Fisichella which came within 0.097s of the Kiwi’s best time.

Aston Martin had a double LMGTE pole celebration as the No.98 Vantage V8 will start from the front of the 14 car field. Pedro Lamy’s 3m55.102s lap stood throughout the four hours of today’s running and was never seriously threatened.

Two Ferraris line up behind the Aston Martin. The No.83 AF Corse Collard/Perrodo/Aguas starts second, ahead of the SMP Racing Ferrari which improved its time today with factory Ferrari ace Andrea Bertolini taking four tenths of a second off its previous best.

Incidents

Jan Magnussen returned to his team pit box after being checked out at the circuit medical centre after his accident in qualifying two. The Chevrolet Corvette team and Magnussen were going through data to try and ascertain what the cause of the incident was and also to begin repairs on the No.63 C7R, which was heavily damaged in the incident.

Other excursions in the session included a dramatic fire for the AAI Porsche 911 of Alex Kapadia on the Mulsanne Straight and a high speed spin in to the Indianapolis gravel for Olivier Beretta in the No.71 AF Corse Ferrari.

Marco Sorensen crashed the No.95 Aston Martin in the final moments of tonight’s session, damaging the rear after a high speed spin across the gravel at the Esses after the Dunlop Chicane.

The 83rd Le Mans 24 hours starts at 15.00 local time on Saturday afternoon.

Starting lineup

Cla   No.   Driver   Car / Engine   Time   Delay   Laps   km/h 
18  Romain Dumas
Neel Jani
Marc Lieb
Porsche 3'16.887   35 249.200
17  Timo Bernhard
Mark Webber
Brendon Hartley
Porsche 3'17.767 0.880 30 248.091
19  Nico Hülkenberg
Earl Bamber
Nick Tandy
Porsche 3'18.862 1.975 25 246.725
Lucas di Grassi
Loïc Duval
Oliver Jarvis
Audi 3'19.866 2.979 33 245.486
Marcel Fässler
André Lotterer
Benoît Tréluyer
Audi 3'20.561 3.674 34 244.635
F.Albuquerque
Marco Bonanomi
René Rast
Audi 3'20.997 4.110 35 244.105
Alexander Wurz
S.Sarrazin
Mike Conway
Toyota 3'23.543 6.656 29 241.051
Anthony Davidson
Sébastien Buemi
Kazuki Nakajima
Toyota 3'23.767 6.880 30 240.786
12  Nicolas Prost
Mathias Beche
Nick Heidfeld
Rebellion/AER 3'26.874 9.987 15 237.170
10  13  A.Imperatori
D.Kraihamer
Daniel Abt
Rebellion/AER 3'28.930 12.043 26 234.836
11  Simon Trummer
Pierre Kaffer
Tiago Monteiro
CLM/AER 3'36.825 19.938 8 226.285
12  22  Harry Tincknell
Michael Krumm
Alex Buncombe
Nissan 3'36.995 20.108 17 226.108
13  23  Olivier Pla
J.Mardenborough
Max Chilton
Nissan 3'37.291 20.404 20 225.800
14  47  Matt Howson
Richard Bradley
Nicolas Lapierre
ORECA/Nissan 3'38.032 21.145 13 225.033
15  21  Tsugio Matsuda
M.Shulzhitskiy
Lucas Ordóñez
Nissan 3'38.691 21.804 26 224.354
16  26  Roman Rusinov
Julien Canal
Sam Bird
Ligier/Nissan 3'38.939 22.052 23 224.100
17  41  Gary Hirsch
Gaëtan Paletou
Jon Lancaster
Gibson/Nissan 3'38.958 22.071 30 224.081
18  38  Simon Dolan
Mitchell Evans
Oliver Turvey
Gibson/Nissan 3'39.004 22.117 25 224.034
19  36  N.Panciatici
Paul-Loup Chatin
V.Capillaire
Alpine/Nissan 3'39.699 22.812 32 223.325
20  46  Pierre Thiriet
Tristan Gommendy
Ludovic Badey
ORECA/Nissan 3'39.805 22.918 15 223.217
21  34  Chris Cumming
Laurens Vanthoor
Kévin Estre
Ligier/HPD 3'40.058 23.171 28 222.961
22  48  Karun Chandhok
Mark Patterson
N.Berthon
ORECA/Nissan 3'40.690 23.803 23 222.322
23  28  Gustavo Yacamán
Luis Derani
Ricardo González
Ligier/Nissan 3'40.967 24.080 28 222.044
24  43  Pierre Ragues
Oliver Webb
Zoel Amberg
Morgan/SARD 3'41.250 24.363 26 221.760
25  29  Leo Roussel
David Cheng
Ho-Pin Tung
Morgan/Nissan 3'42.023 25.136 14 220.987
26  27  Maurizio Mediani
Devi Markozov
N.Minassian
BR Engineering/Nissan 3'42.077 25.190 26 220.934
27  42  Nick Leventis
Danny Watts
Jonny Kane
Dome/Nissan 3'42.237 25.350 27 220.775
28  37  Mikhail Aleshin
Kirill Ladygin
Anton Ladygin
BR Engineering/Nissan 3'42.417 25.530 26 220.596
29  30  Scott Sharp
Ryan Dalziel
David Hansson
Ligier/HPD 3'42.453 25.566 29 220.560
30  31  Ed Brown
J.van Overbeek
Jon Fogarty
Ligier/HPD 3'44.631 27.744 22 218.422
31  40  Tracy Krohn
Nic Jönsson
João Barbosa
Ligier/Judd 3'44.854 27.967 24 218.205
32  45  Pierre Perret
Ivan Bellarosa
José Ibanez
ORECA/Nissan 3'45.350 28.463 24 217.725
33  35  Jacques Nicolet
Jean-Marc Merlin
Erik Maris
Ligier/HPD 3'52.843 35.956 30 210.718
34  99  Fernando Rees
Alex MacDowall
Richie Stanaway
Aston Martin 3'54.928 38.041 7 208.848
35  51  Gianmaria Bruni
Toni Vilander
G.Fisichella
Ferrari 3'55.025 38.138 29 208.762
36  98  Paul Dalla Lana
Pedro Lamy
Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin 3'55.102 38.215 24 208.694
37  97  Darren Turner
Stefan Mücke
Rob Bell
Aston Martin 3'55.466 38.579 29 208.371
38  71  Davide Rigon
James Calado
Olivier Beretta
Ferrari 3'55.582 38.695 25 208.268
39  95  Marco Sørensen
C.Nygaard
Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin 3'55.783 38.896 23 208.091
40  63  Jan Magnussen
Antonio García
Ryan Briscoe
Chevrolet 3'55.963 39.076 0 207.932
41  91  Richard Lietz
M.Christensen
Jörg Bergmeister
Porsche 3'56.618 39.731 24 207.357
42  83  François Perrodo
Emmanuel Collard
Rui Águas
Ferrari 3'56.723 39.836 29 207.265
43  72  Viktor Shaitar
Andrea Bertolini
Aleksey Basov
Ferrari 3'56.877 39.990 27 207.130
44  92  Patrick Pilet
F.Makowiecki
Wolf Henzler
Porsche 3'56.922 40.035 29 207.090
45  64  Oliver Gavin
Tommy Milner
Jordan Taylor
Chevrolet 3'57.081 40.194 7 206.952
46  53  J.Bleekemolen
Ben Keating
Marc Miller
SRT/Dodge 3'57.836 40.949 22 206.295
47  77  Patrick Dempsey
Patrick Long
Marco Seefried
Porsche 3'57.842 40.955 28 206.289
48  88  Christian Ried
K.Al Qubaisi
Klaus Bachler
Porsche 3'58.259 41.372 13 205.928
49  55  Duncan Cameron
Matt Griffin
Alex Mortimer
Ferrari 3'58.433 41.546 21 205.778
50  61  Peter Mann
R.Giammaria
Matteo Cressoni
Ferrari 3'58.695 41.808 26 205.552
51  62  Bill Sweedler
Townsend Bell
Jeff Segal
Ferrari 3'58.946 42.059 22 205.336
52  50  Gianluca Roda
Paolo Ruberti
Kristian Poulsen
Chevrolet 3'59.522 42.635 17 204.842
53  66  A.Al Faisal
Kuba Giermaziak
Michael Avenatti
Ferrari 3'59.612 42.725 9 204.766
54  96  Roald Goethe
Stuart Hall
F.Castellacci
Aston Martin 4'01.146 44.259 30 203.463
55  68  Han Chen Chen
Gilles Vannelet
Mike Parisy
Porsche 4'01.243 44.356 25 203.381
56  67  Jun San Chen
Alex Kapadia
Xavier Maassen
Porsche 4'01.270 44.383 17 203.358

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Event 24 Hours of Le Mans
Sub-event Thursday qualifying 2
Track Le Mans
Drivers Marc Lieb , Romain Dumas , Neel Jani , Nic Jönsson
Article type Qualifying report