Brendon Hartley has taken Toyota Gazoo Racing‘s seventh overall 24 Hours of Le Mans pole position in a session dictated by track limits. Nick Tandy led Anotnio Garcia across the line for a Corvette Racing one-two in GTE Pro, adding to the strong week the American manufacturer has had so far.
At the start of the session, Toyota seemed to be running away with overall pole. Kamui Kobayashi and Hartley both set 3m25s laps, which were seconds ahead of the other Hypercars. In a surprise twist, Nicolas Lapierre came out in the #36 Alpine Elf Team and put a 3:24.850 on the table, the first sub 3m25s that had been seen all weekend. This left it up to Toyota to mount the challenge.
Getting stuck behind an Am car hindered both Toyotas in their penultimate flying laps, Hartley losing half a second in the final sector. It has looked like Kobayashi had done enough, setting a 3:24.585, but the time was deleted for track limits, promoting Alpine back up to provisional pole. In a confusing chain of events, Kobayashi’s time was reinstated, but it no longer mattered as both Toyotas went faster again, Hartley taking pole with a 3:24.408, four tenths up on Kobayashi. Kobayashi’s 3:24.828 outpaced Lapierre by just 0.022.
The two Glickenhaus Racing cars had a quiet Hyperpole after looking so promising through practice. Ryan Briscoe outpaced Olivier Pla in the #708 by just under half a second after having had a few laps deleted for track limits himself.
Filipe Alberquerque started Hyperpole looking like the man with the advantage, but Robin Frijns bided his time to set a sensational 3:28.394 in the #31 WRT. 1.3s up on the Realteam by WRT in the hands of Norman Nato, none of the LMP2 cars had an answer for the incredible pace Frijns found.
Alberquerque finished third, four tenths off of Nato. Antonio Felix Da Costa who had led the class in the early stages of Hyperpole was fourth in the #38 JOTA ahead of Loius Delatraz in the #9 Premal Oreln Team and Alex Lynn in the second United Autosports. It was a tough session for Lynn who had many lap times deleted due to track limits and couldn’t quite seem to put the perfect lap together like the sister car in the hands of Albequerque.
It was two-by-two in GTE Pro, with Tandy and Garcia keeping Corvette on top. The top four were covered by six tenths at the chequered flag, with Tandy setting the first 3m49s lap time of the class (3:49.985). Frederic Makowieki kept the pressure on the two Corvettes, three tenths off with his 3:50.377, two tenths up on the #92 Porsche GT Team in the hands of Laurens Vanthoor.
AF Corse struggled once again to be in contention for the top three, their fastest time set by Antonio Fuoco 1.8s off Tandy’s pace. James Calado was a further tenth back with a 3:51.816, taking sixth in class.
With pace that surprised everyone, Vincent Abril took Am pole with the #61 AF Corse. The 3:52.594 kept him two tenths up on second placed Mikkel Jensen in the Kessel Racing Ferrari. Harry Tincknell banished a Ferrari top three in class with his 3:53.006, half a second down on Abril in the Spa-winning #77 Dempsey Proton Racing.
After having a few laps deleted, Nicki Thiim could do no better than fourth for the #98 Northwest Aston Martin Racing, finishing ahead of Nick Cassidy in the #54 AF Corse and Rahel Frey in the Iron Dames entry.