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24H Le Mans

Jani Retains Pole for 24H Le Mans Amid Rainy Thursday

Porsche sweeps front row for 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

Porsche has swept the front row for the 84th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Neel Jani claiming his second consecutive pole for the twice-around-the-clock French endurance classic.

Thursday’s two qualifying sessions was mostly a washout, with few improvements, hampered by heavy rain in the final session that resulted in a lengthy one-hour red flag for track conditions.

It ensured Jani’s 3:19.733 time in the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid from Wednesday’s session stood as the pole-winning lap.

The Swiss driver, who becomes the first repeat Le Mans pole winner since Stephane Sarrazin in 2007-2009, will share his Porsche with Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas.

The sister No. 1 entry of defending FIA World Endurance Champions Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley will roll off second, thanks to the German driver’s 3:20.203 lap.

Toyota Gazoo Racing will roll off from the second row, with Sarrazin in the No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid edging out teammate Antony Davidson by nearly a second.

Both of the Audi R18s, meanwhile, hit trouble on Wednesday and didn’t manage to set representative times. The diesel-powered prototypes will roll off fifth and sixth overall.

The No. 13 Rebellion R-One AER was quickest of the LMP1 Privateers, thanks to a 3:26.586 lap by Dominik Kraihamer.

LMP2 class pole honors went to G-Drive Racing’s Rene Rast, who took his No. 26 Oreca 05 Nissan to a quick lap of 3:36.605, also set on Wednesday.

The Audi factory driver, on-loan to the Jota Sport-run squad, edged out the No. 35 Baxi DC Racing Alpine A460b Nissan of Nelson Panciatici by 0.570 seconds.

Orecas or the Alpine-badged Orecas swept the top four positions in class, with the No. 49 Michael Shank Racing Ligier JS P2 Honda of Laurens Vanthoor the best of the rest in fifth.

The American squad, however, will be forced to serve a five-minute stop-and-hold penalty sometime in the first half of the race due to undergoing an engine change.

The race gets underway Saturday at 3 p.m. local time, with live coverage on the FOX Sports family of networks in the U.S. and across Eurosport and other networks worldwide.

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. 7D3

    June 16, 2016 at 5:55 pm

    Congrats Porsche!!

    Highlight of qualifying was the Audi R8 Safety car powersliding in the latest Downpour.

    I Tip my Hat to who was driving that Audi R8.

    • Brad

      June 16, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      I have not seen any video, but wouldn’t the safety car be a Porsche since they won overall last year?

      • Jack

        June 17, 2016 at 10:11 am

        Audi supplies safety cars for the season. But you are right. Maybe Porsche passed up on that option

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