The #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 Hybrid of Brendon Hartley, Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa will start the 2022 24 Hours of Le Mans from pole position after a frantic Hyperpole session on Thursday evening.
The thirty-minute pole position shoot-out involved just 23 of the 62 starters, giving all participants a much clearer track on which to set their lap times. However, many of the early flying laps were still affected by traffic or by track limits violations, with most of the front-runners seeing lap times deleted.
Kamui Kobayashi, on the hunt for a record-equalling fifth pole position at Le Mans, was the fastest out of the blocks. The Japanese driver was soon into the 3:26s, with the pair of Glickenhaus cars in the hands of Ryan Briscoe and Olivier Pla not far behind.
All drivers were improving as the session progressed as the cars became lighter. Nicolas Lapierre then posted a time almost out of nowhere – a 3:24.850 – to grab provisional pole for the #36 Alpine.
With just ten minutes of the session remaining, there was only time for a couple of fast laps. Both Hartley and Kobayashi were in the running for pole, but it was the New Zealander Hartley in the #8 car who would prevail with a 3:24.408 on his final fast lap.
WRT on song in LMP2
WRT continued its domination of the LMP2 category by securing pole position by over a second. Driver Robin Frijns, reigning Le Mans champion in the class, was in majestic form and posted a fastest time of 3:28.394 for the Belgian squad.
Second-quickest was the sister WRT entry, the #41 Realteam by WRT Oreca, with a fastest time of 3:29.697. Sharing the second row will be the #22 United Autosports crew and the #38 JOTA machine.
Corvette lock out front row in GTE Pro
The pair of factory Corvettes put in an impressive performance in GTE Pro, finishing first and second fastest in the half-hour Hyperpole session. Starting Saturday’s race from pole position will be the #64 car of polesetter Nick Tandy, Tommy Milner and Alex Sims ahead of the #63 machine of Antonio Garcia, Jordan Taylor and Nicky Catsburg.
Porsche will start the race from the second row of the grid, with Ferrari back in fifth and sixth.
GTE Am pole goes to Ferrari
Vincent Abril secured pole position for the #61 AF Corse entry after a fastest lap time of 3:52.594. Fellow Ferrari team Kessel Racing will start the race from the front row, with the second row shared by Dempsey-Proton Racing and Northwest AMR.
For a full list of times, visit Alkamel Systems.
Image © WEC-Magazin (Ton Kerdijk)