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24H Le Mans

Kobayashi Tops Qualifying as Cars Advance to Hyperpole

Toyota 1-2 as fights for LMP2, GTE classes intensify in qualifying for 24 Hours of Le Mans…

Photo: Toyoyta

Toyota Gazoo Racing continued its dominance atop the time charts in qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Kamui Kobayashi quickest in the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.

Kobayashi reeled off a 3:17.089 lap time early in the 45-minute session that locked in positions seventh and lower in each class for the 88th running of the French endurance classic.

The rest will advance to tomorrow’s hyperpole, which will set the grid for the top six in each class.

The No. 7 Toyota was 0.247 seconds quicker than teammate Kazuki Nakajima, with the No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson qualifying third with a fresh engine and No. 4 Team Byolles ENSO CLM P1/01 Gibson in fourth.

All five LMP1 cars, including the No. 3 Rebellion, will advance to hyperpole on Friday.

Nyck De Vries’ 3:26.648 lap in the No. 29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07 Gibson has put the Dutch team at the top of the pack in LMP2, despite several late-session improvements from cars looking to get into the top-six.

De Vries edged out the No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca of Will Stevens by 0.449 seconds.

Stevens, along with Paul Di Resta (United Autosports), Jean-Eric Vergne (G-Drive Racing), Alex Brundle (United) and Kenta Yamashita (High Class Racing) will all advance to hyperpole.

Vergne had jumped to the top of the time charts late in the session but had his time deleted due to track limits.

Aston Martin, meanwhile, ended the session 1-2 in GTE-Pro while also taking provisional pole in GTE-Am.

A last-gasp lap by Alessandro Pier Guidi put the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE into hyperpole, with the American-flagged Ferrari entries from WeatherTech Racing and Risi Competizione not advancing and set to start seventh and eighth, respectively, on Saturday.

Cars that will advance in GTE-Am in addition to the No. 98  Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Augusto Farfus include the No. 90 TF Sport Aston, No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche, No. 61 Luzich Racing Ferrari, No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche and No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche.

The WEC class championship-leading No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari was the first to miss out on hyperpole and will start seventh in class.

A four-hour night practice is up next, scheduled to begin at 8 p.m. CEST/2 p.m. EST.

RESULTS: Qualifying

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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