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24H Le Mans

Early End to Incident-Filled Q2

No major improvements as red flags disrupt second qualifying session at Le Mans…

Photo: MPS Agency

The second qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans saw no major improvements as a red flag brought Thursday evening’s opening run to a premature halt.

A heavy accident for Giorgio Sernagiotto in the No. 47 Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara P217 Gibson resulted in the untimely stoppage with 38 minutes left in the two-hour session.

Sernagiotto was pictured walking away from the crash, which appeared to happen in the braking zone heading into the first chicane.

That incident came after a nine-minute red flag spell earlier in Q2 to clear debris following a spin for Nico Lapierre’s Signatech Alpine A470 Gibson through the Ford Chicane gravel.

The No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, the No. 94 Porsche 911 RSR and the No. 67 Ford GT were also caught up in separate episodes during an eventful session.

Toyota had a nervous moment when Mike Conway aborted his turn-in for the Dunlop Chicane after a lock up, but the Briton managed to hobble his car through the gravel before continuing without apparent damage.

Sven Mueller struck the tires at the end of the Indianapolis braking zone in the Porsche, while Andy Priaulx was forced to crawl the Ford back to the pits after backing into the barriers at Tertre Rouge.

Priaulx appeared to clip the left-side grass on entry before rotating through the gravel and into the tire stack, which caused damage to the car’s rear-end.

Norman Nato also had a wild spin across the new Porsche Curves run-off in the No. 35 SMP Racing Dallara P217 Gibson, but recovered without serious consequence.

Fernando Alonso set the fastest lap of 3:18.021 behind the wheel of the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid that currently holds provisional pole position after Kazuki Nakajima’s flying lap on Wednesday.

Toyota currently holds a front-row lockout with one session to run, while the No. 17 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AER is third provisionally.

Paul-Loup Chatin’s 3:24.956 marker is still the LMP2 benchmark, while Porsche continues to hold front-row monopolies in both GTE categories.

The only improvement in LMP1 was a new personal best for the No. 6 CEFC TRSM Racing Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachrome, which posted a 3:24.343 in the hands of Alex Brundle.

Thursday’s second and final qualifying session, in which the pole sitter for the race will be confirmed, is set to get underway at 9:30 p.m and will run for an extra half-hour to compensate for the Q2 stoppage.

RESULTS: Qualifying 2

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365 and e-racing365, with a focus on the FIA World Endurance Championship and various electric racing series.

7 Comments

7 Comments

  1. Will

    June 14, 2018 at 3:42 pm

    Who else is hoping Toyota will lose?

    • FlyingLobster27

      June 14, 2018 at 3:56 pm

      Not hoping specifically, but let’s say I won’t be sorry for them if they lose. Their actions in the off-season and the first race have blown away all sympathy I had for them, and there was a huge amount of it after the last two years – an unloseable amount, I might say, and yet, they succeeded in losing it!

      If the Toyotas dropped out, it would be like when Porsche left LM P1: “well I won’t miss them”. I won’t celebrate it, but nor will I celebrate the win if it goes their way. I won’t regard the win as hollow though, I just won’t enjoy it fully.

      • Mike S.

        June 14, 2018 at 4:54 pm

        Toyota only has to beat the race which is the hardest thing to do. They don’t have a very good track record at all at Le Mans. They made a big mistake not adding a 3rd car this year, yeah not my budget or money, but I am sure race managers made it clear to the purse strings 3 cars adds in even more redundancy than just the 2 cars. They are above and faster than anyone of course, but the scavengers will pounce if they have any issues so this isn’t some guarantee by any means. It’s kind of like that team that plays not to lose in any sport and what happens a lot of times when you play not to lose… you end up losing. I think this is harder spot to be in than having 2 other direct competitors like in past years. It will be very interesting and can’t wait to see how it unfolds. I want to see Rebellion win it like anyone or any other privateer certainly but lets see the clock strike 24 hours first.

    • Milanello

      June 14, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Nope!

    • Greg

      June 14, 2018 at 4:53 pm

      I wouldn’t say hope to lose, if they run their program and dominate the race then fair play to them they can’t make other manufacturers spend money, they’ll just have won against a thin filed, audi did the same basically racing themselves for a number of years so no shocker their.

      Now if they eff up and break of bin the car then they deserve everydrop of egg on their face that comes there way, the pressure to not eff this one up has to be pretty huge when you think about it…

  2. Justin A Porter

    June 14, 2018 at 4:33 pm

    As a Ginetta fan, I’m very glad to see them get some run-time today and to see that they were faster than the ByKolles today.

    I know it’s going to be a rough 24 for them, but I still want them to do well.

  3. Luna

    June 14, 2018 at 7:46 pm

    ACO and FIA have done everything possible to let Toyota win…
    They desperately need Toy in a fake world championship which has no interest at all in LMP1. The real race, the real championship is in GTE. No doubt..

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