Qualifying for the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans saw teams and drivers fight it out for a total of 23 “golden tickets” to Thursday evening’s Hyperpole. The one-hour session was rain-affected from around the halfway stage as showers swept in from the west.
Shortly before the rain came, a red flag was called by race direction after an accident involving Michael Fassbender in the #93 Porsche. The Irishman lost the car under braking for the Daytona Chicane and careered into the barriers on driver’s right. Fassbender managed to continue to the pits, but there lots to be plenty of work to do in the Proton Competition garage before the remainder of the practice sessions.
Toyota fastest but Glickenhaus close behind
With only five cars in the Hypercar class, there was little jeopardy among the front runners. All each entry needed to do in the qualifying session was to set a valid lap time.
The pair of Glickenhaus 007 LMHs ran well, posting fastest times in the mid-3:27s. But it was Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi who set the session’s fastest tour – a 3:27.247 – in the #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR0101 Hybrid.
There were some slight issues for the #8 Toyota, which didn’t manage to set a lap time until after the red-flag stoppage – by which time the track conditions were extremely treacherous.
Riley Motorsports misses out in GTE Pro
Seven cars became six for Hyperpole in GTE Pro, with the #74 Riley Motorsports Ferrari 488 GTE EVO the unlucky one to miss out on the session that will set the grid for the race.
Fastest was the #92 Porsche 911 RSR-18 of Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor with a fastest lap time of 3:50.999, followed by the #63 Corvette Racing entry of Garcia/Taylor/Catsburg just one-tenth further back.
The fastest Ferrari was the #51 machine driven by Pier Guidi/Calado/Serra with a 3:51.502, impressive considering the trio only managed four laps in FP1 due to a technical issue on the car.
Both WRT and United Autosports cars through in LMP2
Fastest in LMP2 was the #31 WRT Oreca of Sean Galael, Robin Frijns and René Rast, with Frijns the first driver this week to drop into the 3:29s.
Also through to tomorrow’s Hyperpole session were the #38 JOTA, the #41 Realteam by WRT, the #22 and #23 United Autosports cars and the #9 Prema Orlen Team machine.
Aston on top in GTE Am
Nicki Thiim posted the fastest time in GTE Am – a 3:52.559 – as the Northwest AMR squad topped the time sheets. Second-fastest was the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari followed by the #54 AF Corse entry.
The other cars through to Hyperpole were the #85 Iron Dames entry, the #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche and the #61 AF Corse car.
Hyperpole shoot-out on Thursday evening
The 23 cars will battle it out for the top-six grid positions in each class in Thursday’s Hyperpole session, which is scheduled to start at 8pm local time.
Image © WEC-Magazin (David Tunnicliffe)