Toyota will start the 87th 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole after Kamui Kobayashi’s Q2 flyer of 3:15.497 in the #7 TS050 was unable to be beaten in Q3. The sister Toyota will start the race from second on the grid, with the #17 SMP Racing BR01 the fastest privateer car.
With temperatures falling as day turned to night, conditions were not perfect for rapid lap times and so there were only a limited number of improvements compared to Q2 in the top class.
There were yet more problems for Rebellion Racing, this time for the #1 R13 Gibson. The car stopped out on track around 20 minutes into the session with what appeared to be engine failure. Thomas Laurent had come to a standstill with a similar problem in Q2 in the #3 machine.
Aston Martin Racing spring surprise with GTE Pro pole
The surprise package in GTE Pro was the #95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sørensen and Darren Turner. It was Sørensen who posted the car’s fastest time of 3:48.000, securing pole position for the British marque.
Starting second in Saturday’s race will be the #67 Ford GT of Harry Tincknell, Andy Priaulx and Jonathan Bomarito, which was able to improve its time to a 3:48.112 in Q3. Third-fastest overall was the #63 Corvette Racing C7.R of Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen and Mike Rockenfeller some seven tenths further back.
Graff SO24 quickest, but pole time disqualified
There were also numerous improvements throughout the LMP2 field in Q3. Pole went to European Le Mans Series team Graff SO24, which posted a fastest lap time of 3:25.073. However, a subsequent stewards’ decision saw the pole time removed after Vincent Capillaire failed to stop at the mandatory weighbridge.
The car to inherit pole was the #28 TDS Racing Oreca of Loic Duval, Francois Perrodo and Mathieu Vaxivière, whose fastest lap time also came in Q3 at 3:25.345. the #31 DragonSpeed Oreca of Davidson/Maldonado/Gonzalez, which was quickest in Q1 and Q2, finished the session sixth tenths down, will start the race from second on the grid
Porsche lock-out in GTE Am
In GTE Am, the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR maintained its good form so far over the course of the week by securing pole position in class. It will be an all-Dempsey-Proton front row in class, after the #77 Porsche 911 of Christian Ried, Matt Campbell and Julien Andlauer improved on its Q2 time to go second-fastest.
Click here for a full list of times from Q3.
Images © WEC-Magazin (Walter Schruff)