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24H Le Mans

Nakajima Puts No. 8 Toyota on Pole

Toyota’s Kazuki Nakajima improves to secure Toyota 1-2 ahead of 24H Le Mans…

Photo: Olivier Beroud Images

Kazuki Nakajima improved upon his provisional pole setting lap time to lead a Toyota Gazoo Racing 1-2 in qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Japanese driver set a best time of 3:15.337 in Thursday night’s Qualifying 3 to improve upon his Q1-topping time by 1.933 seconds.

He co-drives the No. 8 Toyota with Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Buemi and takes the Japanese manufacturer’s second consecutive pole for the French endurance classic. 

The sister car qualified exactly 2 seconds slower and will line up second for the start of the race on Saturday afternoon.

Kamui Kobayashi, who set pole for last year’s race, set the No. 7 Toyota’s best time during Q1.

Few improvements were made in the second half of the session as rain started to fall on Circuit de la Sarthe.

Rebellion Racing was the best of the non-hybrid teams with a time 4.072 seconds off Nakajima set by Bruno Senna early in the session.

Thomas Laurent posted a quicker time in the other Rebellion R13 Gibson but had times early in the session deleted for not stopping at the scrutineering light.

SMP Racing will start fourth and seventh while the other No. 3 Rebellion car and DragonSpeed separate the two Russian-entered cars, ahead of ByKolles Racing in eighth.

CEFC TRSM Racing improved with the pace of both of its Ginetta G60-LT-P1 Mecachromes as Oliver Rowland set a weekend-best time of 3:23.757.

Chatin Takes IDEC Sport to LMP2 Pole

Paul-Loup Chatin led the way for IDEC Sport in LMP2 as several front-running cars went quicker early in the session.

The Frenchman posted a 3:24.842 to move the No. 48 Oreca 07 Gibson he shares with Memo Rojas and Paul Lafargue into the lead of the class although the fastest time of qualifying was a 3:24.816 set by TDS Racing’s Loic Duval.

However, the TDS car also had all of its times until 10:13 p.m. deleted for not stopping at the scrutineering light. 

DragonSpeed will start from second in class ahead of the TDS-run G-Drive Racing Oreca which will line up alongside the TDS-entered car, counting its Q1 time. 

Panis Barthez Competition had the quickest Ligier JS P217 Gibson in fifth by 0.560 seconds while the best-placed Dallara P217 Gibson was the Cetilar Villorba Corse in 12th overall.

Giorgio Sernagiotto had a heavy crash in the No. 47 Villorba Corse Dallara late in Q2, which heavily damaged the car and prematurely ended the session.

As a result, Q3 was extended by 30 minutes to make up for lost time and started at 9:30 p.m. local time. 

RESULTS: Qualifying

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


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