Estre snatches Hyperpole at the death

Kévin Estre waited until the very last second of a breathtaking Hyperpole session to put his #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 on pole position for the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Frenchman was the last driver to cross the line in Hyperpole, edging out a strong challenge from Cadillac to secure Porsche’s first pole at Le Mans since 2016.

Ferrari begin strongly, Cadillac challenge

Ferrari began the session as the team to beat, with both Antonio Fuoco in the #50 499P and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 posting strong opening efforts.

However, as the tyres started to come up to temperature, it was Cadillac who rose to the fore with their pair of V-Series.Rs. A 3:25.924 from Sébastian Bourdais – seven tenths quicker than the Ferraris – put the #3 Cadillac on provisional pole at the halfway point of the 30-minute session.

Le Mans native Bourdais then posted an even faster time of 3:24.816 before parking up his #3 machine with around 10 minutes of the session remaining.

#51 Ferrari at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

Vanthoor incident brings out red

Dries Vanthoor – the quickest man in Wednesday’s qualifying – then ran wide at Indianapolis and beached himself in the gravel, resulting in the session being red-flagged with around 7 minutes remaining.

The session resumed shortly afterwards, with enough time for each of the remaining Hypercars to complete at least one flying lap.

Lynn pips Bourdais before Estre swoops

As the session drew to a conclusion, Ferrari were unable to match the times set by Cadillac and had to settle for P4 and P5. Paul Loup Chatin qualified his #35 Alpine an impressive sixth in the team’s Le Mans debut with their A424.

The final cars to cross the line were Alex Lynn in the #2 Cadillac and Kévin Estre in the #6 Porsche 963 – both of whom had been relatively anonymous up to that point.

Lynn put together a monster lap to eclipse Bourdais’ provisional pole time by just 0.034 of a second. Seconds later, however, Kévin Estre rattled over the curbs at the Ford Chicane and crossed the line to post a 3:24.634, just a tenth and a half faster than the Brit.

#3 Cadillac during Hyperpole at the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans

Porsche-Cadillac front row

Porsche will start the 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position for the first time in 8 years. Alongside the Estre/Vanthoor/Lotterer machine will be the #3 Cadillac instead of the #2 Lynn/Bamber/Palou V-Series.R. This is due to the five-position grid penalty imposed on the #2 after Bamber’s accident at the 6 Hours of Spa. The #2 will start the race from P7.

The second row will be an all-Ferrari affair, with the #35 Alpine and the #15 BMW starting the race from the third row of the grid.

Inception McLaren with LMGT3 Hyperpole, AO by TF top in LMP2

McLaren took pole in LMGT3 on its return to the Circuit de la Sarthe as a manufacturer. The #70 Inception Racing car piloted by Brendan Iribe was the fastest man in the field. Starting the race alongside the #70 will be the #92 Manthey Racing Porsche.

Pole position in LMP2 went the way of “Spike”, the purple-liveried #14 AO by TF Oreca. Louis Délétraz posted the fastest time in the category as the chequered flag flew, just pipping the #28 IDEC Sport Oreca driven by Rishad de Gérus.

The race is scheduled to start at 4:00pm on Saturday. For a full list of session times, check out our race page. All the times from Hyperpole are available here.

Images (c) WEC-Magazin (Walter Schruff / Maksym Lobachov)