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24H Le Mans

Kobayashi Quickest in Opening Test Session at Le Mans

Kamui Kobayashi lays down quickest lap in first test session at Le Mans…

Photo: James Moy/Toyota

Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kamui Kobayashi set the pace in the opening test for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, putting the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid atop the time charts following an interrupted session at Circuit de la Sarthe.

Kobayashi reeled off a best lap of 3:28.467 early in the three-hour session, which featured two red flags, a safety car test as well as a Full Course Yellow.

The session came to an early end with three minutes to go for an accident by the No. 37 Cool Racing Oreca 07 Gibson of Lorenzo Fluxa at the Porsche Curves.

Fluxa climbed from the LMP2 machine under his own power, although there appears to be damage in three corners of the car.

The No. 6 Penske Porsche 963 of Kevin Estre ended the session second quickest, with a 3:29.205 lap time, followed by the Robin Frijns-driven No. 20 Team WRT BMW M Hybrid V8 Art Car and No. 63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini SC63 of Mirko Bortolotti in an impressive fourth quickest.

The No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 499P of Robert Kubica completed the top-five, meanwhile.

Job van Uitert in the No. 28 IDEC Sport Oreca was quickest in LMP2, thanks to a 3:37.044 lap time, which was 0.132 seconds quicker than the No. 22 United Autosports entry of Oliver Jarvis in second.

AO by TF’s car, sporting the ‘Spike the Dragon’ livery, was third amongst the LMP2 contenders and quickest in the Pro-Am subclass, in the hands of Louis Deletraz.

LMGT3 was led by the No. 78 Akkodis ASP Team Lexus RC F GT3 of Kelvin Van der Linde, who laid down a 4:00.106 during his opening stints before jetting off to Zandvoort for the second DTM race of the weekend.

Van der Linde has been among a half-dozen drivers traveling between France and The Netherlands to fulfill their duties this weekend.

The sister No. 87 Lexus of Esteban Masson was second quickest in class, prior to a session-ending incident involving co-driver Takeshi Kimura.

Team WRT’s No. 31 BMW M4 GT3 ended the session third in class, with the McLaren 720S GT3 Evos from United Autosports (No. 59) and Inception Racing completing the top-five in class.

The first red came out at the 40-minute mark for the No. 3 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac V-Series.R of Renger van der Zande, which stopped on track with suspected fuel issues.

It led to a resumption of racing for approximately five laps prior to a practice safety car period that lasted upwards of 40 minutes.

A Full Course Yellow was also deployed for what’s understood to have been separate incidents involving Dries Vanthoor’s No. 15 Team WRT BMW and the No. 87 Akkodis ASP Lexus of Kimura.

Van der Zande, meanwhile, rejoined later in the session to log a total of ten laps in the Cadillac, the lowest number out of the 62 cars that took part.

The second and final three-hour test session of the day gets underway at 3:30 p.m. local time (9:30 a.m. EDT).

RESULTS: Test Session 1

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for and SPEED Channel and has contributed to numerous other motorsports publications worldwide. Contact John

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