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Kobayashi Puts No. 7 Toyota on Le Mans Pole; Rebellion Second

Toyota to start from pole in 24H Le Mans as Rebellion slots into second on the grid…

Photo: ACO

Kamui Kobayashi put the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid on pole for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, beating Rebellion Racing’s Gustavo Menezes to the top spot in the new hyperpole qualifying session.

Kobayashi produced a time of 3:15.267 to set the car that he shares with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez at the front of the grid for the second year in a row.

The Japanese driver needed to come from behind after Menezes led the first set flying laps with an impressive time of 3:15.822 aboard the No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson.

But Kobayashi, who holds the Le Mans lap record from 2017, denied the non-hybrid entry from causing an upset with an improvement on his next tour.

Menezes, who drives with Norman Nato and Bruno Senna, still managed to split the Toyotas as Kazuki Nakajima qualified the No. 8 TS050 Hybrid third on a time of 3:16.649.

Louis Deletraz was fourth in the No. 3 Rebellion with a 3:18.330 effort after the Swiss driver had a better time deleted for track limits, while Tom Dillmann completed the LMP1 order in the ByKolles Racing ENSO CLM P1/01 Gibson on a 3:23.043.

Pole in the LMP2 class went to United Autosports driver Paul di Resta, who headed into the 20-minute hyperpole session straight off the back of leading the times in FP4.

Di Resta set a new LMP2 record on his first flyer of the session, which came in at 3:24.528 and was enough to beat G-Drive Racing’s Jean-Eric Vergne to pole by three-tenths.

Nyck de Vries shot into contention with the second-best time for Racing Team Nederland, after the reigning FIA Formula 2 champion had a trip through the gravel at the Porsche Curves on his first attempt.

De Vries recovered well to post a 3:25.062 that was bettered shortly after by Vergne.

High Class Racing’s Oreca will share row two of the grid with Racing Team Nederland courtesy of Kenta Yamashita’s qualifying run.

Alex Brundle came through in fifth in the second United Autosports car, beating fellow Brit Will Stevens of Jackie Chan DC Racing.

Porsche Takes GTE-Pro Pole, Luzich Leads Am

Gianmaria Bruni claimed his second Le Mans GTE-Pro class pole in three years with the fastest lap in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR-19.

The Italian couldn’t improve on his record-breaking 3:47.504 from 2018 but still managed to beat the factory field in hyperpole with a 3:50.874.

This put Bruni around three-tenths up on AF Corse Ferrari driver James Calado, while last year’s pole man Marco Sorensen was third for Aston Martin Racing.

Sorensen’s teammate Alex Lynn qualified fourth, ahead of Sam Bird in the other works Ferrari and Michael Christensen in the No. 92 Porsche.

GTE-Am pole honors went to Come Ledogar who put Luzich Racing in the prime position for tomorrow’s race start in the final two minutes of the session.

Ledogar mustered a 3:51.266 to go ahead of Matt Campbell in the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche and Team Project 1’s Matteo Cairoli.

Aston Martin drivers Ross Gunn and Charlie Eastwood, and Gulf Racing’s Ben Barker, completed the GTE-Am top six.

RESULTS: Hyperpole/Complete Qualifying

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

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