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24H Le Mans

Kobayashi “A Bit Disappointed” at Not Breaking Own Lap Record

Kobayashi felt he had the pace to break his 2017 Le Mans record in hyperpole…

Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing

Kamui Kobayashi admitted he felt a “little bit disappointed”‘ at not breaking his own Circuit de la Sarthe lap record in hyperpole qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Kobayashi set the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid on pole for tomorrow’s race with a time of 3:15.267 but missed out on lowering his outright lap record from 2017 by 0.476 seconds.

The Japanese driver said he felt an improvement coming on his next flying lap, only for him to exceed track limits and void the potentially better time.

“To be honest I’m a little bit disappointed because on my second attempt I think I could have broken my record,” said Kobayashi.

“I think the car was pretty good and track conditions seemed good in hyperpole. We were more confident [without] traffic so we could concentrate on performance.

“I think we did the right move, but unfortunately I had a lap deleted so I had to stop, but I was gaining seven-tenths which is breaking the record.

“It’s a big shame but this is how it is. The team did a great job and I was confident with the car. Hyperpole is a great opportunity to drive at Le Mans without traffic. It’s a fantastic feeling.”

Kobayashi added that the No. 7 Toyota crew is “hungry” to make amends in this year’s edition after missing out on Le Mans victory in 2019 to its teammate No. 8 squad.

Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez lost its lead and a clear chance to win when a sensor issue caused the team to change the wrong tire when Lopez came in with a puncture just one hour from the end.

“From last year what happened, we are definitely hungry to finally win the 24 Hours of Le Mans,” said Kobayashi.

“We have always been quick here but have never won somehow. We made the win happen at Spa, so I think this year could be different. We are trying our best.

“Le Mans is always something special [because] you can have the best car but still not win.

“This is the story of the 24 Hours. We believe the team and I believe in my teammates.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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