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LMP1 Times Fall in Qualifying 2; Toyota 1-2

Toyota, SMP, Rebellion all improve times in second qualifying session; Toyota now 1-2…

Photo: MPS Agency

LMP1 lap times improved throughout the class early in Thursday evening’s second qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Toyota Gazoo Racing coming out first and second.

Kamui Kobayashi, after setting provisional pole in Qualifying 1 on Wednesday evening, improved by almost two seconds to log a 3:15.497 in the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.

The sister No. 8 car improved to go 0.411 seconds off Kobayashi’s time after Fernando Alonso could only manage fourth last night due to traffic.

The quickest non-hybrids also significantly improved their lap times, with an early flier from Mikhail Aleshin breaking the 3:16 barrier with the No. 11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AER, setting a 3:16.953 early on.

Rebellion Racing managed a 3:17.313 with its No. 1 entry, meanwhile.

Those new times marked an improvement of seven-tenths for SMP and 2.3 seconds for Rebellion over Qualifying 1 pace.

Pastor Maldonado improved DragonSpeed’s LMP2-topping time after teammate Anthony Davidson led the way last night, going 0.314 seconds with the No. 31 Oreca 07 Gibson.

Jackie Chan DC Racing is now second in class with its No. 38 Oreca, pushing the Signatech Alpine Matmut entry down to third.

Porsche Takes GTE-Pro Provisional Pole from Ford

A late performance from Michael Christensen moved Porsche into provisional GTE-Pro pole as the Dane beat Harry Tincknell’s Qualifying 1 lap.

Christensen posted a 3:49.388 in his No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR, while Antonio Garcia moved the No. 63 Corvette C7.R into second, with Tincknell’s No. 67 Ford GT relegated to third.

Matteo Cairoli’s GTE-Am time still stands from last night, with the No. 88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche on top with a 3:52.454.

That car is now ahead of the Team Project 1 Porsche and No. 54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 GTE.

The session was red-flagged for 25 minutes after Thomas Laurent stopped on track between the second chicane and Mulsanne Corner, due to an engine failure on his No. 3 Rebellion.

Ben Keating later hit the barriers in his GTE-Am Ford after the car had initially improved to be classified sixth.

One more two-hour qualifying session will be held to decide the grid for the 87th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, starting at 10 p.m. local time (4 p.m. EDT).

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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