LE MANS MOTORSPORT NEWS

Kamui Kobayashi gives Toyota provisional pole

Former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi gave Toyata pole position provisionally after the first qualifying session of the Le Mans 24 Hours. Kobayashi, driving the #7 TS050 Hybrid , clocked his time of 3m18.793s around 15 minutes into the qualifying session and that time stood for the remainder of the 1 hour 40 minute session.

 

The session was delayed by 20 minutes due to barrier repairs after a crash at the Porsche Curves which meant a shortening of the session.

The initial early pace was set Porsche’s Timo Bernhard in the #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid who clocked a 3m19.710s.

However, Bernard was not only beaten by Kobayashi but also the former Sauber and Caterham driver’s Toyata team-mate Kazuki Nakajima, who logged 3m19.431s driving the #8 TS050 Hybrid, meaning he had to settle for P3.

Nicolas Lapierre (#9 TS050 Hybrid) finished in P4 with a time of 3m19.958s whilst Neel Jani rounded off the top five in the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, clocking 3m21.165s.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 of Yuji Kunimoto, Nicolas Lapierre and Jose Maria Lopez drives during practice for the Le Mans 24 Hour Race at Circuit de la Sarthe on June 14, 2017 in Le Mans, France.

The Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 of Yuji Kunimoto, Nicolas Lapierre and Jose Maria Lopez drives during practice for the Le Mans 24 Hour Race at Circuit de la Sarthe on June 14, 2017 in Le Mans, France.Getty Images

A bit further back in P6 was the sole LMP1 privateer with Dominik Kraihamer clocking a 3m28.887s in the #4 ByKolles ENSO CLM.

In the LMP2 class the battle for pole was far closer as Jean-Eric Vergne and Vitaly Petrov in the Manor Orecas set the early pace.

However despite Petrov beating his team-mate both were beaten by pole-setter Matthieu Vaxiviere in the #28 TDS car with the #31 Rebellion Oreca driving by Bruno Senna in second.

Aston Martin dominated the GTE classes as Marco Sorensen in the No 95 Aston Martin Vantage clocked 3m52.117s in the Pro class with Mathias Lauda taking the AM class with a time of 3m55.134s in the No 98 Aston Martin Vantage.