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24H Le Mans

Hartley Paces Final Practice for Toyota

Toyota’s Brendon Hartley sets the pace in final practice session ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: Charly Lopez/DPPI

Brendon Hartley put Toyota Gazoo Racing at the top of the timesheets in the final practice session ahead of this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans on Thursday night.

The New Zealander set a best lap of 3:29.451 in the one-hour session, which started 30 minutes behind schedule following the delays caused by the crash in the earlier Road to Le Mans support race prior to Hyperpole.

Hartley’s benchmark in the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid was enough to top the session by 0.076 seconds ahead of the No. 50 Ferrari 499P in which Miguel Molina set the best time of 3:29.527.

Third-fastest was Sheldon van der Linde in the Art Car-liveried No. 20 BMW M Hybrid V8, 0.109 seconds slower than Hartley, followed by the No. 93 Peugeot 9X8 of Mikkel Jensen and the No. 15 BMW of Dries Vanthoor.

The pole-winning No. 6 Porsche 963 didn’t put a time on the board until the very end of what was a relatively-incident free session, some 30 seconds off the pace, while the No. 2 Cadillac V-Series.R that was second-fastest in Hyperpole didn’t set a time at all.

The No. 12 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche also sat out the session as the team’s rebuild around a fresh monocoque continues ahead of an anticipated shakedown on Friday.

Setting the pace in LMP2 was the No. 23 United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson of Ben Hanley with a best time of 3:37.121.

Second-fastest was the No. 24 Nielsen Racing car of Fabio Scherer, 0.295 seconds adrift, while Nolan Siegel made it two United entries in the top three in the No. 22 machine.

Esteban Masson was fastest in LMGT3 in the No. 87 Akkodis ASP Lexus RC F GT3.

His best lap of 3:58.755 was good enough to beat the No. 95 United Autosports McLaren 720S GT3 Evo of Marino Sato by 0.344 seconds.

Rounding off the top three in class was the No. 77 Proton Competition Ford Mustang GT3 of Benjamin Barker.

Warm-up for the 24 Hours of Le Mans takes place at noon local time (6 a.m. EDT) on Saturday, with the race due to begin at 4 p.m. (10 a.m. EDT).

Jamie Klein is Sportscar365's Asian editor. Japan-based Klein, who previously worked for Motorsport Network on the Motorsport.cоm and Autosport titles, covers the FIA World Endurance Championship and SUPER GT, among other series.

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