2015 24 Hours of Le Mans – Qualifying 1: Porsche Dominate Rivals

Just as in practice, the story of the first qualifying session of the 2015 24 Hours of Le Mans was all about Porsche as they dominated the top three spots of the timesheets, followed by Audi an 4-5-6.

A lenghtly delay with just over the hour to go saw session time lost as the track was cleared and barriers repaired. Due to local laws the session had to end at midnight so the clock that had previously stopped due to red flag started ticking away once again.

While it was the #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid that topped practice it was the #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb that took the honours in the first of three qualifying sessions. Followed closely by the Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley 0.880 seconds behind. The #19 Porsche 919 Hybrid of F1 driver Nico Hulkenberg, Earl Bamber and Nick Tandy rounded out the top three times.

An unsettled Audi team occupied the next three positions with the #8 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro of Lucas Di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis finishing fastest of the trio ahead of #9 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro and #7 Audi R18 E-Tron Quattro, who all had their fair share of off circuit excursions.

Best of the rest was the two Toyota TS 040 – Hybrids – #2 and #1; while Rebellion Racing had a promising first outting of the year as they can home in ninth (#12) and tenth (#13).

The top Nissan GT-R LM Nismo was the #23 of Olivier Pla, Jann Mardenborough and Max Chilton who finished twelth overall, just behind the lead LMP2 car of KCMG. Team Bykolles outpaced the #22 and #21 Nissan GT-R LM Nismo’s respectively.

Credit: KCMG

In LMP2 KCMG topped the times for most of the session with a stirling effort from Matthew Howson, Richard Bradley and Nicolas Lapierre to finish eleventh overall. The #41 Greaves Motorsport finished second in class despite being one of the cars that attributed to the red flag. JOTA Sport took third in class, which is the biggest class of the Le Mans this year.

Aston Martin Racing led the way in LM GTE Pro with the #99 Aston Martin Vantage V8 car taking top honours, the #51 AF Corse Ferrari spoilt the party for AMR as they finished second fastest ahead of the #97 and #95 Aston Martin’s. The two Chevrolet Corvette C7R‘s finished fifth and sixth in class while Porsche’s best efforts were from the #91 car in seventh. The #71 AF Corse Ferrari and #92 Porsche 911 RSR propped up the bottom of the class.

An impressive time by the #98 Aston Martin Vantage V8 in the LM GTE Am class saw them not only top the class times, but also out pace all but one of the GTE Pro class by finishing 35th overall, just one place behind the previously mention #99 Aston Martin.

The #83 AF Corse Ferrari put in a time to go second while it was the #44 SMP Racing Ferrari in third place. Patrick Dempsey put in some solid times as his #77 Porsche 911 RSR finished sixth in class.

Second qualifying starts tomorrow (Thursday) at 15:00 local time.