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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 IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship.

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