Le Mans 24h: Toyota narrowly beats Rebellion to pole

Kamui Kobayashi has gifted Toyota another pole at the Le Mans 24 Hours after beating Rebellion’s Gustavo Menezes in a tightly-contested Hyperpole session.

The new-for-2020 Hyperpole shootout gave the fastest six cars in each class in Thursday’s first qualifying session a chance to fight for pole in a condensed 30-minute session on Friday morning.

In the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid Kamui Kobayashi clocked a first flying lap of 3m15.920s, comfortably quicker than teammate Kazuki Nakajima’s 3m17.424s.

Rebellion returned fire by virtue of a stellar 3m15.822s from Gustavo Menezes in the #1 Rebellion R-13, the fastest ever lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe for a privateer and a non-hybrid car.

That prompted Kobayashi to respond with an even quicker lap aboard the #7, posting a 3m15.267s on his next attempt. Nakajima too went quicker on his second attempt, but stayed third with a 3m16.649s, ahead of the second Rebellion of Louis Deletraz.

The Japanese driver look set to take another six tenths out of his time the following lap, but he aborted the lap because of a track limits transgression – denying him the chance to beat his own lap record from three years ago.

Tom Dillmann’s #4 ByKolles machine brought up the rear of the five-car LMP1 field, the ENSO CLM P1/01 barely ahead of the LMP2 runners.

In LMP2 Paul di Resta put the #22 United Autosports Oreca on top early on with a 3m24.528s, a new all-time record for the class, followed by Jean-Eric Vergne in the #26 G-Drive entry and Will Stevens in the JOTA Sport-run #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing car.

In the #33 High Class Racing Oreca, Toyota protege Kenta Yamashita then jumped Stevens to take third, only to then be demoted himself by a late effort from Nyck de Vries in the #29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca.

FIA F2 champion De Vries had survived an early scare in the Porsche Curves, going straight on into the gravel trap but narrowly avoiding the barriers on his way out.

Porsche scored pole in the GTE Pro class thanks to Gianmaria Bruni’s 3m50.874s effort in the #91 911 RSR-19, albeit almost three seconds down on 2019’s class pole time.

Sam Bird led the early proceedings in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, his time of 3m51.515s actually two tenths slower than GTE Am’s provisional polesitter Matt Campbell in the Proton Porsche.

Bruni then went faster in the #91 Porsche, before Marco Sorensen lifted his #95 Aston Martin Vantage up to second. In the closing stages, James Calado vaulted over Sorensen to second in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari, while the #97 Aston of Alex Lynn went fourth.

In GTE Am Campbell’s early benchmark was eventually bettered by Come Ledogar in the #61 Luzich Ferrari, the Frenchman posting a 3m51.266s.

That was just over half a tenth quicker than Campbell and four tenths quicker than Matteo Cairoli in the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche.

Qualifying results:

17 Mike Conway
 Kamui Kobayashi
 Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 HybridLMP13’15.267  
21 Bruno Senna
 Norman Nato
 Gustavo Menezes
Rebellion R13LMP13’15.8220.5550.555
38 Sebastien Buemi
 Kazuki Nakajima
 Brendon Hartley
Toyota TS050 HybridLMP13’16.6491.3820.827
43 Romain Dumas
 Nathanael Berthon
 Louis Deletraz
Rebellion R13LMP13’18.3303.0631.681
54 Tom Dillmann
 Bruno Spengler
 Oliver Webb
ENSO CLM P1/01LMP13’23.0437.7764.713
622 Philip Hanson
 Filipe Albuquerque
 Paul di Resta
Oreca 07LMP23’24.5289.2611.485
726 Roman Rusinov
 Jean-Eric Vergne
 Mikkel Jensen
Aurus 01LMP23’24.8609.5930.332
829 Frits van Eerd
 Giedo van der Garde
 Nyck de Vries
Oreca 07LMP23’25.0629.7950.202
933 Kenta Yamashita
 Mark Patterson
 Anders Fjordbach
Oreca 07LMP23’25.42610.1590.364
1032 William Owen
 Alex Brundle
 Job van Uitert
Oreca 07LMP23’25.67110.4040.245
1137 Ho-Pin Tung
 Gabriel Aubry
 Will Stevens
Oreca 07LMP23’25.87510.6080.204
1291 Gianmaria Bruni
 Richard Lietz
 Frederic Makowiecki
Porsche 911 RSR – 19LMGTE PRO3’50.87435.60724.999
1351 Alessandro Pier Guidi
 James Calado
 Daniel Serra
Ferrari 488 GTE EVOLMGTE PRO3’51.11535.8480.241
1495 Nicki Thiim
 Marco Sorensen
 Richard Westbrook
Aston Martin Vantage AMRLMGTE PRO3’51.24135.9740.126
1561 Francesco Piovanetti
 Oswaldo Negri Jr
 Come Ledogar
Ferrari 488 GTE EVOLMGTE AM3’51.26635.9990.025
1677 Christian Ried
 Riccardo Pera
 Matt Campbell
Porsche 911 RSRLMGTE AM3’51.32236.0550.056
1797 Maxime Martin
 Alex Lynn
 Harry Tincknell
Aston Martin Vantage AMRLMGTE PRO3’51.32436.0570.002
1871 Davide Rigon
 Miguel Molina
 Sam Bird
Ferrari 488 GTE EVOLMGTE PRO3’51.51536.2480.191
1956 Egidio Perfetti
 Larry ten Voorde
 Matteo Cairoli
Porsche 911 RSRLMGTE AM3’51.64736.3800.132
2092 Michael Christensen
 Kevin Estre
 Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 911 RSR – 19LMGTE PRO3’51.77036.5030.123
2198 Paul Dalla Lana
 Ross Gunn
 Augusto Farfus
Aston Martin Vantage AMRLMGTE AM3’52.10536.8380.335
2290 Salih Yoluc
 Charlie Eastwood
 Jonathan Adam
Aston Martin Vantage AMRLMGTE AM3’52.29937.0320.194
2386 Michael Wainwright
 Ben Barker
 Andrew Watson
Porsche 911 RSRLMGTE AM3’52.34637.0790.047


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