Fernando Alonso and his fellow Toyota GAZOO Racing teammates, Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi, lamented the “traffic” that marred their opening qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Alonso – who is hoping to become only the third driver in history to maintain a 100% record at Le Mans in multiple starts – stated that “in qualifying, we were unlucky with traffic so we didn’t show our true pace.“
This left the #8 TS050 HYBRID languishing in fourth overall in the standings; behind not only the sister Toyota but also the #11 SMP Racing as well as the #3 Rebellion Racing . This left the Spaniard hoping to improve as qualifying culminates tonight.
Alonso stated, “After that, we just concentrated on improving our car in race conditions. We were following our programme. On Thursday we have another chance to improve the set-up and we will try to get a better lap time.”
Buemi concurred with his teammates’ sentiments. The Swiss driver adding “It was a very eventful session for us. Unfortunately, we couldn’t do a real qualifying lap due to the traffic but we will have more opportunities on Thursday when hopefully we can challenge for a better position on the grid.
“The good thing is that we worked a lot on the set-up. We have some good information about set-up, particularly in the night, and the main target is to have a quick car in the race.” Buemi said.
Finally, Japanese driver, Kazuki Nakajima described qualifying at Le Mans “a lottery,” as the #8 car just “didn’t have any luck.”
Nakajima stated: “The practice session was affected by the rain so it was not as productive as it could have been. In the night I attempted a qualifying lap on new tyres but I suffered in traffic.
“Qualifying is always a lottery here with the traffic and today we just didn’t have the luck. We will do our best to improve in the final two sessions. But we tried different set-ups in the night and learned a few things which will be useful.”
Alonso and his teammates must now aim to refocus ahead of their final qualifying sessions of the race – taking place later tonight.