Toyota fastest in first qualifying session

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The #7 Toy­ota Gazoo Rac­ing TS050 of Stéphane Sar­razin, Mike Con­way and Kamui Kobayashi has tak­en pro­vi­sion­al pole for the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans, with two two-hour qual­i­fy­ing ses­sions set to fol­low tomor­row. In LMP2, a 3:29.333 for the #28 TDS Rac­ing Ore­ca of Math­ieu Vax­ivière, Manu Col­lard and Fran­cois Per­ro­do was quick­est, while Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing topped the time sheets n both GTE Pro and GTE Am.

As with the pre­vi­ous Free Prac­tice ses­sion, the first two hours of qual­i­fy­ing at the Cir­cuit de la Sarthe offered per­fect con­di­tions for quick lap times. The #2 Porsche 919 Hybrid had set an ear­ly bench­mark time, but the Toy­otas soon got into their stride, with Kamui Kobayashi and then Mike Con­way set­ting times that ulti­mate­ly wouldn’t be beat­en.

Cool­er tem­per­a­tures on the track and in the ambi­ent atmos­phere were slight­ly more con­ducive to faster run­ning, although a num­ber of cars suf­fered issues through­out the ses­sion. Some expe­ri­enced punc­tures and oth­er tem­po­rary ail­ments, but there were more seri­ous prob­lems for the #27 SMP Rac­ing Dal­lara, which caught fire at Mul­sanne Cor­ner just after halfway through the ses­sion. The #47 Ceti­lar Vil­lor­ba Corse Dal­lara also had some issues at the start of qual­i­fy­ing, but dri­ver Rober­to Lacorte was able to recov­er the car to the pits after los­ing pow­er com­ing into the pits.

Quick­est in LMP2 was the #27 TDS Rac­ing machine, which went half a sec­ond quick­er than the #31 Vail­lante Rebel­lion of Bruno Sen­na, Nico­las Prost and Julien Canal. Round­ing out the top three was the #25 CEFC Manor TRS car of Simon Trum­mer, Rober­to Gon­za­lez and Vitaly Petrov. Else­where, Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing went quick­est in both GTE Pro and GTE Am, with the #95 car of Mar­co Sørsensen, Nic­ki Thi­im and Richie Stan­away recov­er­ing from a punc­ture in the ear­li­er FP ses­sion to score the fastest lap time of 3:52.117. Just 0.1 of a sec­ond fur­ther back was the #71 AF Corse machine of Davide Rigon, Sam Bird and Miguel Moli­na.

Pro­vi­sion­al pole in GTE Am also went to Aston Mar­tin Rac­ing, with Pedro Lamy in the #98 machine going quick­est with a 3:55.134. Half a sec­ond behind was the #77 Dempsey-Pro­ton Rac­ing Porsche 911 RSR, and the #90 TF Sport Aston Mar­tin round­ed out the top three in class. The next qual­i­fy­ing ses­sion is set to begin at 19:00 local time on Thurs­day evening.

Images © WEC-Mag­a­z­in/Wal­ter Schruff