24 Hours of Le MansFIA WEC

Kévin Estre Secures Pole At Le Mans For Porsche Penske Motorsport

3 Mins read
Credit: Mike Widdowson / MJW Media

The 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans continues to deliver high drama as Kévin Estre delivered a sensational 3:24.634 to put the #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car on Hypercar pole for Saturday’s race. Cadillac Racing continued their superb form with Alex Lynn and Sébastian Bourdais took their #2 and #3 cars to 2nd and 3rd on the grid respectively.

In LMP2, Louis Delétraz secured a very crowd-pleasing pole position for “Spike,” the LMP2 car run by AO by TF Sport. Brendan Iribe set the pace in LMGT3, securing pole in the #70 McLaren 720S LMGT3 Evo a whopping 0.8 seconds ahead of championship leading Manthey PureRxing.

Hypercar

The two Cadillacs performed brilliantly in Hyperpole. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

It certainly didn’t look like a Porsche party for the bulk of the session. The #12 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche did not start the session due to a heavy accident at the end of free practice 2 on Wednesday night. Initially, the pace looked to be with the Cadillacs, specifically the #3 with Le Mans native Bourdais at the wheel, the Frenchman lapping 0.8 seconds faster than Antonio Fuoco in the #50 Ferrari AF Corse, the nearest challenger at the time.

With 22 minutes of the 30 minute session gone, disaster struck for BMW M Team WRT. Dries Vanthoor, the man who stunned the paddock by setting the fastest time in qualifying, crashed his BMW at Indianapolis, bringing out a red flag and guaranteeing a short final blast to the line to secure the best time. Vanthoor’s times were all deleted, meaning the German car will start in 8th place at the back of the Hyperpole field.

The #15 BMW suffered a heart-breaking end to Hyperpole after performing so well in qualifying. Credit: Mike Widdowson / MJW Media

In that brief 7 minute window, everything changed. Estre and Lynn secured pole position and 2nd respectively on the final lap, leapfrogging Bourdais in his Cadillac. The #6 Porsche leads the championship by a comfortable margin and now looks in a prime position to challenge for victory at Le Mans. Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari managed to go one better than his teammate Fuoco, qualifying 4th ahead of the #50 Ferrari in 5th. Paul Loup Chatin qualified 6th after a fine Hyperpole performance for Alpine Endurance Team‘s debut home race at Le Mans.

LMP2

Delétraz and AO by TF Sport celebrate LMP2 Hyperpole. Credit: Julien Delfosse / DPPI

Delétraz had to regain the top spot after his initial time proved not to be quick enough. Job van Uitert thought he had done enough to secure pole for IDEC Sport with a 3:33.827. However, Delétraz and “Spike” hit back, securing a blistering time on the last lap which was 0.6 seconds faster than their nearest rival.

Second row is shared between Martin Beche in the #65 Panis Racing car and Ben Hanley for United Autosports. Malthe Jakobsen, the man who qualified on top on Wednesday, could only manage 5th fastest for COOL Racing, with the sister United Autosports car starting alongside in 6th. 7th went to Laurens Hörr in the #33 DKR Engineering car, with Patrick Pilet and Vector Sport rounding out the top 8.

LMGT3

Credit: Mike Widdowson / MJW Media

In LMGT3, the fastest lap was set early on by Iribe in the Inception Racing McLaren. The American driver set a 3:58.120 which proved to be too much for the competition to handle, including championship leaders Manthey PureRxing with Alex Malykhin qualifying 2nd 0.8 seconds of Iribe’s pace.

Third went to the #66 Ferrari 296 LMGT3 of JMW Motorsport, with the #77 Ford Mustang LMGT3, the fastest LMGT3 in qualifying, alongside them in 4th. The Heart of Racing Aston Martin starts in 5th, making it 5 different manufacturers in the top 5 in LMGT3. The third row is an Aston Martin lockout with the D’Station Racing car starting alongside in 6th. 7th went to the #82 TF Sport Corvette Z06 LMGT3.R with the #60 Iron Lynx Lamborghini Huracán LMGT3 Evo 2 taking the final Hyperpole slot.

The fastest LMGT3 car in qualifying practice starts 4th on the grid. Credit: Mike Widdowson / MJW Media

Up Next

The stage is set. The grid for the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans is confirmed. All that’s left to do is race. Follow The Checkered Flag for updates and race reports throughout the weekend.

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