Toyota, Team Nederland, Aston top preliminary Le Mans qualifying

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Toyota, Team Nederland, Aston top preliminary Le Mans qualifying

Le Mans/WEC

Toyota, Team Nederland, Aston top preliminary Le Mans qualifying

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The No. 7 Toyota TS050 of Kamui Kobayashi topped the qualifying session for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans with a lap time of 3m17.089s. A further 0.247s behind was the No. 8 TS050 of Kazuki Nakajima. Toyota has now finished 1-2 in all of the sessions completed.

With all five LMP1 entries guaranteed a spot in the Hyperpole qualifying shootout, the motivation to set a blistering time was subdued.

The No. 1 Rebellion R13, which ended the session third, was over four seconds behind the No. 8 Toyota. Its best time was a 3m21.598s. The sister No. 3 Rebellion R13 was fifth with a 3m24.632.

The No. 4 ByKolles CLM was fourth at 3m24.468. Unless Rebellion or ByKolles can find something remarkable before Hyperpole this evening, it looks set to be an easy 1-2 for Toyota.

In LMP2, Nyck De Vries led the way in the No. 29 Team Nederland ORECA (pictured above) with a time of 3m26.648s. Second in the class and showing good pace on Goodyear tires was the No. 37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA, with a best time of 3m27.097s. Meanwhile, United Autosports were able to get both of their cars a spot in Hyperpole with the No. 22 ORECA ending the session in third. The No. 32 ORECA moved into fifth at the end of the session with a strong lap from Alex Brundle.

The No. 26 G-Drive Racing Aurus ended the session in fourth with a lap of 3m27.366s. High Class Racing earned the last spot in Hyperpole with its No. 33 ORECA setting a 3m27.611s.

Multiple cars in LMP2 had lap times deleted for violations of track limits, including a lap from Jean Eric-Vergne late in the session that would have been good enough to top the class. Thomas Laurent in the No. 36 Alpine also had a chance at Hyperpole but he carried too much speed into the Ford Chicane and took a trip through the gravel.

Aston Martin Racing Vantage AMR of Nicki Thiim / Marco Sorensen / Richard Westbrook led the way in GTE Pro. Motorsport Images

In GTE Pro, Aston Martin Racing continued its strong showing as the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage driven by Marco Sorensen led an AMR 1-2 in the session with a time of 3m50.872s. The No. 97 Aston Martin Vantage was just 0.053s behind its teammates with a time of 3m50.925s.

The two full-season AF Corse Ferrari entries spent most of the session in danger of missing out on Hyperpole but the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GTE and No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE were able to lay down solid times late in the running. The No. 51 Ferrari with Alessandro Pier Guidi set a time of 3m51.244s on the car’s last lap of the session. Meanwhile, the No. 71 Ferrari set a time of 3m51.988.

Porsche completed the top six, meaning all of the full-season WEC entries will have a chance at pole position. The two Porsche 911 RSR 19s ended the session in fifth and sixth with the No. 91 Porsche getting the better of their teammates in the No. 92 Porsche.

The No. 63 Weathertech Ferrari 488 GTE and the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari 488 GTE both missed out on Hyperpole.

In GTE Am, it was more of the same with Aston Martin Vantages spearheading another 1-2 in the class. The factory-backed No. 98 Vantage topped the session with a 3m52.778s. Along with the No. 98, the No. 90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage and the No. 86 Gulf Racing Porsche 911 RSR were the only runners to set times under 3m53s.

Luzich Racing was the big surprise in the session, its No. 61 Ferrari 488 GTE ended the session in fourth. The No. 77 Dempsey Proton Porsche 911 RSR and the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR completed the top six.

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