The 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans got well and truly underway today as the second qualifying session saw Toyota knock Porsche off the top spot.
The session was once again interrupted by red flags, Eurosport’s Jeremy Shaw has added them up to be seven in the last 24 hours, and it has meant that more than 45 minutes of running in this second quali session had been lost but more on the red flags later.
Red flags however, didn’t matter for Kazuki Nakajima in the #7 Toyota as he set a time of 3:22.589 to take the fight to the German contingent as Romain Dumas in the #20 919 finished just over a tenth behind the Japanese driver with last night’s pole sitting #14 third at the hands of Timo Bernhard.
Elsewhere in LMP1-H it was another drama filled session for the #1 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro. After yesterdays crash for Loic Duval, Lucas Di Grassi took the freshly rebuilt car to the track today and duly span into the tyre barriers coming out of Indianapolis causing a decent dent on the front end.
Later that very same lap, as Di Grassi was limping the car back to the pits, he appeared to swerve in front of the #29 Pegasus Racing Morgan-Nissan coming out of the Porsche Curves. The result was Leo Roussel taking avoiding action across the grass, unfortunately the uneven nature of the ground pitched the LMP2 into a spin and crashing into the wall just before the Ford Chicane. Understandably that caused the second red flag of the day and about a 20 minute stoppage.
Sticking with the LMP2 class and it was the Thiriet by TDS Racing Ligier-Nissan that is provisionally on pole locking out Karun Chandhok in the Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03R by one tenth of a second.
Third place, and hoping tonight’s final session could see them snatch pole, is the Signatech Alpine of Oliver Webb – closely tailed by Christian Klien in the Newblood by Morand Racing Morgan-Judd.
Moving into the GTE Pro and the #51 AF Corse Ferrari was unable to improve on its pole time from last night but it is now facing a harder challenge from its rivals. The #73 Corvette has jumped up to second with the hope of toppling the Ferrari and, with a gap of only three tenths of a second, they will be hoping one last push can see them take a well earned pole position on the C7.R’s Le Mans debut.
It was another AF Corse car that caused the first red flag of the session the #71 of James Calado which went off at the Porsche curves. Whilst the TV pictures didn’t show the cause or aftermath of the incident, Calado was taken to the medical centre for a check up but is thankfully in good shape.
In the Am class SMP Racing still hold pole from last night but will have to hold on to keep their rivals at bay.
Finally the ZEOD RC and we can happily say that it appeared to have better reliability today and its pace put it in the middle of the GTE cars with an end result of 33rd.