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Aston Martin Sweeps GTE Qualifying at Le Mans

Stanaway (GTE-Pro), Lamy (GTE-Am) take class poles at Le Mans…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Aston Martin Racing has swept GTE qualifying honors for the 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the British manufacturer claiming three of the top-four combined positions in the production-based categories.

Richie Stanaway’s 3:54.928 lap time from Wednesday’s qualifying session held as the quickest in GTE-Pro, while Pedro Lamy scored GTE-Am class pole.

Stanaway, who will share the No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage V8 with Alex MacDowall and Fernando Rees, was more than two seconds clear of the competition.

It marked Aston Martin’s sixth consecutive GTE qualifying sweep in FIA World Endurance Championship competition, dating back to Fuji of last year, and its second in the last three years at Le Mans.

The No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia of Gianmaria Bruni was second, thanks to a 3:55.025 lap time set by the Italian in Thursday’s final session after his times from Q1 were deleted due to abusing track limits.

Lamy’s GTE-Am pole-winning 3:55.102 lap from Q1 was good enough for third among the GTE cars, ahead of the GTE-Pro class No. 97 Aston Martin art car, which will start third in class.

Bruni was just one of a handful of drivers to make improvements in Q3, which also included teammate James Calado in the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari, who moved from eighth to fourth.

It came prior to an off by co-driver Olivier Beretta at Indianapolis, although the car was not badly damaged from the single-car incident.

Aston Martin and Ferraris swept the top-five in GTE-Pro, with the No. 63 Corvette C7.R the best of the rest, although following a drama-filled day for the Pratt & Miller squad.

Magnussen crashed heavily at the Porsche Curves, which brought an early end to Q2. The Dane was evaluated and released from the medical center, although the team has yet to issue an update.

While the No. 63 car sustained considerable damage and did not return the rest of the evening, the sister No. 64 Corvette also did not set a time in Q3.

The No. 95 Aston Martin stopped on track with Marco Sorenson driving, just after the Dunlop chicane, in the final 10 minutes of the session.

There was also drama for Alex Kapadia in the No. 67 Team AAI Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, which ground to a halt on track on fire to bring out the session’s only red flag.

Of note, the No. 53 Riley Motorsports Dodge Viper GTS-R qualified fourth in GTE-Am, thanks to an improvement by Jeroen Bleekemolen, while Patrick Long put the No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche fifth in class.

The 83rd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans gets underway Saturday at 3 p.m. local (9 a.m. ET).

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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