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24H Le Mans

Nakajima Puts No. 8 Toyota on Pole

Toyota’s Kazuki Nakajima improves to secure Toyota 1-2 ahead of 24H Le Mans…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

Kazuki Nakajima improved upon his provisional pole setting lap time to lead a Toyota Gazoo Racing 1-2 in qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Japanese driver set a best time of 3:15.337 in Thursday night’s Qualifying 3 to improve upon his Q1-topping time by 1.933 seconds.

He co-drives the No. 8 Toyota with Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Buemi and takes the Japanese manufacturer’s second consecutive pole for the French endurance classic. 

The sister car qualified exactly 2 seconds slower and will line up second for the start of the race on Saturday afternoon.

Kamui Kobayashi, who set pole for last year’s race, set the No. 7 Toyota’s best time during Q1.

Few improvements were made in the second half of the session as rain started to fall on Circuit de la Sarthe.

Rebellion Racing was the best of the non-hybrid teams with a time 4.072 seconds off Nakajima set by Bruno Senna early in the session.

Thomas Laurent posted a quicker time in the other Rebellion R13 Gibson but had times early in the session deleted for not stopping at the scrutineering light.

SMP Racing will start fourth and seventh while the other No. 3 Rebellion car and DragonSpeed separate the two Russian-entered cars, ahead of ByKolles Racing in eighth.

CEFC TRSM Racing improved with the pace of both of its Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachromes as Oliver Rowland set a weekend-best time of 3:23.757.

Chatin Takes IDEC Sport to LMP2 Pole

Paul-Loup Chatin led the way for IDEC Sport in LMP2 as several front-running cars went quicker early in the session.

The Frenchman posted a 3:24.842 to move the No. 48 Oreca 07 Gibson he shares with Memo Rojas and Paul Lafargue into the lead of the class although the fastest time of qualifying was a 3:24.816 set by TDS Racing’s Loic Duval.

However, the TDS car also had all of its times until 10:13 p.m. deleted for not stopping at the scrutineering light. 

DragonSpeed will start from second in class ahead of the TDS-run G-Drive Racing Oreca which will line up alongside the TDS-entered car, counting its Q1 time. 

Panis Barthez Competition had the quickest Ligier JS P217 Gibson in fifth by 0.560 seconds while the best-placed Dallara P217 Gibson was the Cetilar Villorba Corse in 12th overall.

Giorgio Sernagiotto had a heavy crash in the No. 47 Villorba Corse Dallara late in Q2, which heavily damaged the car and prematurely ended the session.

As a result, Q3 was extended by 30 minutes to make up for lost time and started at 9:30 p.m. local time. 

RESULTS: Qualifying

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist who is Sportscar365's European Editor and also Managing Editor for e-racing365. He is a student of Politics and International Relations. Contact Jake

30 Comments

30 Comments

  1. Jack

    June 14, 2018 at 6:11 pm

    closest gap from a full factory team to a true privateer entry, LET THE COMPLAINING BEGIN…..

    • Steven

      June 14, 2018 at 6:20 pm

      Technically, no. 2006. Pescarolo was 2 seconds slower than the factory Audi R10.

      • Jack

        June 14, 2018 at 6:45 pm

        if you want to go into technically speaking, then technically the pescarolo effort was a factory effort. but a good point, but the pescarolo was a more proven car at that point and the audi was very new, which is why the following year when the kinks were out of it it spanked henry’s cars.

        • David Chaste

          June 15, 2018 at 9:26 am

          Pescarolo was fully privateer in 2006. He did it all from sponsorships. He wanted to manufacture Pescarolo race cars. He did not sell cars to the general public so he was fully privateer.

          Rebellion has TVR sponsorship which is a small manufacturer.

      • Just another fan

        June 14, 2018 at 6:45 pm

        Speaking of Pescarollo, in 2005 their pole car was 3s faster than the fastest Audi in Qualifying and the winning Audi was 4s behind said pole Pescarollo. The Audi nº3 beat the Pescarollo nº 16 which, after leading for a while, suffering mechanical problems, doing a hard charge taking 5s a lap out of the Audis and beating the lap record, (predictably) suffering even more problems, finally had to lower its pace to finish the race 2 laps down. While Pescarollo was able to benefit from an advantage that it shouldn’t have had in the first place, it was still exciting to watch.

        • Jack

          June 15, 2018 at 3:44 am

          those audi’s were not a factory entry tho, or factory supported., and they restricted the r8 because it was the old stlye of prototype, the gt1 cars were actually faster on the straights than the audi was.

          • Just another fan

            June 15, 2018 at 9:03 am

            I wouldn’t call Champion Racing a privateer team but after doing some research I realised that it’s indeed true. Champion campaigned privateer entered Audi R8s until 2005 and only became the factory Audi Sport North America team from from 2006 to 2008. I thought differently because Champion always communicated as if part of Audi’s PR machine and because it had the usual Audi factory drivers at its service.
            And in 2005, Oreca also fielded one privateer R8.

    • AudiTT

      June 14, 2018 at 6:58 pm

      Rebellion did an early 3.18 but apparently had their time disallowed for not stopping at scrutineering bay in pit entry.

      Both Rebellion and SMP would have been in the 3.17’s if the rain hadn’t come.

      • Just another fan

        June 14, 2018 at 7:05 pm

        Rebellion rebelling against the stewards already? They did at Spa and they did it at Le Mans last year. Are they trying to successfully get away with something by attempting it multiple times or don’t they ever learn?

        • Dave

          June 14, 2018 at 8:33 pm

          What would happen if Rebellion just ran the race the way they see fit and won? Disregard penalties dished out for not being slow enough etc….. So Toyota would technically win the race and Rebellion would be DQ’d, but Rebellion would have won by traveling further in the 24 hours. I mean, would there be fights in the pit lane when ACO comes to shut their fueling rig off for disregarding stop and holds and drive thrus? More people would pay to watch that than a Toyota parade. I realize Rebellion is a top notch organization and they wouldn’t do this, but I think living up to their name would be good TV

          • Paul

            June 15, 2018 at 4:41 am

            hehehehehe

          • Just another fan

            June 15, 2018 at 9:20 am

            I know you’re joking but I you assume that you know that it couldn’t happen. You saw how cars got their lap times disallowed which during the race will lead to penalties and forced trips to the pits and to the Race Director by team personnel. Soon enough, the car would be black flagged and if it continued to act rebellious, the race would have to be stopped to apprehend the car, the team and the driver(s) all of which would lead to severe penalties for everyone involved. The team sponsors themselves would probably sue the team too.It would never come to pass as the ones involved in “the stunt” would become pariahs.
            IRL, Rebellion made a multi-million Euro/Dollar investment into a formula. It could have stayed in LMP2 but moved to the top class with the goal of winning Le Mans – the owners made that clear publicly. While the team does its best to influence the rule makers to give them the best of chances, I am sure Rebellion won’t do anything to jeopardize its relationship with the FIA and the ACO. IDK if you know, but one of the most obscure criteria for Le Mans’ selection is “the relationship between the applicant and the ACO” or at least it was. It is or it was one of the reasons why certain teams always got invites or were allowed to race regardless (like Larbre, the Onroak team, I would say Ben Keating’s team too, etc) of recent performance. If Rebellion did something unforgivable, it would risk not going to Le Mans again for a long time or ever forever.

        • MalthusUnderestimated

          June 14, 2018 at 10:14 pm

          I guess it’s just Rebellion being snippy and unreasonable given that they’re not allowed to lap faster than Toyota. They’ve got some crust haven’t they? Such poor competitors…

          And of course the experts on this board know far more than these guys… yes, far more

          https://www.motorsport.com/lemans/news/toyota-cruised-first-qualifying-say-rivals-1046098/

  2. BirdBrick

    June 14, 2018 at 6:30 pm

    I’m just happy Alonso wasn’t the one who set the time because we wouldn’t have heard enough from the fanboys.

    • Just another fan

      June 14, 2018 at 7:02 pm

      A more mainstream sport website claims that Alonso or “the Alonso car” got pole…Very rude.

    • Mike S.

      June 14, 2018 at 8:27 pm

      Yeah I agree which is sad. I like Alonso he seems like a more normal guy than most F1 guys. But the coverage when he was at Indy and WEC was about him and no one else was racing pretty much. Also, Alonso’s presence messed up Petit LeMans since that got double booked with Fuji so he has burned through the hype in the media which is annoying but that isn’t his fault.

  3. ML

    June 14, 2018 at 7:18 pm

    I can’t wait until Toyota finds a way to not win this race…

    I’ll never forgive, and I will never forget Toyota for crashing out Nissan’s DeltaWing
    https://youtu.be/jDLm-4D5UlE

    • Max

      June 14, 2018 at 7:58 pm

      I actually think Toyota is pretty innocent in all of this. I think the ACO is just buttering them as much as they can so they wouldn’t have left and caused the whole WEC to fall apart. The rules around world championship status do not benefit the sport right now.

      • Mike S.

        June 14, 2018 at 8:29 pm

        I agree. They stuck around. ACO is the funny man here.

        • Paul

          June 15, 2018 at 4:41 am

          True

    • Andy Flinn

      June 14, 2018 at 9:21 pm

      ML, Nissan has NEVER won Le Mans, either.

      • Travis McBee

        June 14, 2018 at 9:30 pm

        Andy, READ what people are saying.

    • Just another fan

      June 15, 2018 at 9:30 am

      Toyota was not the first to ruin a cars’ race and at the Porsche curves, no less. One LMP1, a Peugeot (or a Toyota but I think it was Anthony Davidson driving a Peugeot), put the leading Corvette into the wall there during Sunday morning, ending its chances of victory. Also, G-Drive ended its case and another cars’ early last year also at the Porsche curves and who can forget how Vincent Capillare’s actions lead to Kamui Kobayashi burning his car clutch in the pits?
      It happens to someone (almost) every year so holding grudges serves no one.

  4. John

    June 14, 2018 at 8:05 pm

    Looking good for Toyota and Porsche, but anything can, and does happen in this race.

    Between the last lap failure in 2016 and pit lane antics in 2017, Toyota had two likely victories evaporate.

    And that’s just in the past two years.

    I’m still excited.

    • Mike S.

      June 14, 2018 at 8:39 pm

      Yeah and you know there is going to be a BoP announced tomorrow to slow Porsche at the last minute and add the dagger into the non-hybrid P1’s BoP, slowing more. That will be exciting because we know slowing the Porsche’s a bit can be explained and reasonable there won’t be a reason for other changes and the ACO just will bumble up how they go about it anyway and just makes it seem even more conspiracy like instead of explaining it.
      But the business of 24 hours will be exciting as the clock can’t be BoP’ed, I don’t think nor all the other factors that can’t be BoP’ed.

      • Paul

        June 15, 2018 at 4:43 am

        Bopping the clock will surely be written into the 2020 regs!

  5. Motorsport fan

    June 15, 2018 at 2:44 am

    I see most people here just show their ignorance and bias . Why not just watch and enjoy the race like ordinary race fans no matter who wins. If you do not like what is happening do not watch or follow the race No one is forcing you to do so.

    • Paul

      June 15, 2018 at 4:44 am

      When rules (biased ones especially) threaten to smother the coolest race they know people do complain

  6. JaymondoGB

    June 15, 2018 at 7:18 am

    Lopez will put the #7 Toyota into the wall or something else at some point…, should be Davidson in the car.

    • David Chaste

      June 15, 2018 at 9:39 am

      Davidson is a reckless driver. He cant be platinum fast without bounding over curbs and skirting other cars’ bodywork. Record setting on a clear track cant keep that speed on a congested race track. At least from my observations.

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