The #7 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 of López/Kobayashi/Conway retained its place on provisional pole in Q2 at Le Mans, ahead of the sister #8 car and the #11 SMP Racing machine. In GTE Pro, a series of quick times later in the session saw the #92 Porsche 911 RSR secure provisional pole ahead of the #63 Corvette Racing machine.
As is customary at the beginning of the second qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, a flurry of activity at the beginning of the two hours saw a series of improvements at the head of the grid. First up, Stoffel Vandoorne put in a 3:16.953 for the #11 SMP Racing BR01 to swipe provisional pole for all of a handful of seconds before the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing TS050 crossed the line just under four tenths quicker.
Then, on his first flyer of the session, Kamui Kobayashi came within two tenths of last year’s pole with a 3:15.497 to put the #7 on provisional pole. The times would not be bettered for the remainder of the session, with cars preferring to concentrate on race set-up.
Problems befell the #3 Rebellion Racing machine, which came to a halt at Mulsanne Corner and brought out the red flag – causing the only significant interruption of the session. Engine damage was terminal for the R13 Gibson, giving the Swiss team plenty of work to do before Saturday’s race.
Porsche back on top in GTE Pro
In the GTE Pro class, the fast times all arrived at the end of Q2, with a number of cars joining the #93 Porsche and the #67 Ford in the 3:49s. Michael Christensen’s fastest lap time of 3:49.388 came with around 10 minutes of the session remaining and was good enough for provisional pole.
Second-fastest was the improving #63 Corvette Racing machine of Antonio Garcia, Mike Rockenfeller and Jan Magnussen, which was just 0.036 seconds slower with a 3:49.424. The #67 Ford GT remains the third-quickest car in GTE Pro despite not making any improvement in Q2.
Times improve in LMP2, but DragonSpeed still top
The #31 DragonSpeed Oreca 07 remains the car to bear in LMP2 at Le Mans this year. The Maldonado/Gonzalez/Davidson machine was once again fastest in second qualifying, posting a quickest time of 3:26.490.
Second-fastest was the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca around four tenths further back, followed by the championship-leading #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut machine. The top three were the only cars to dip below the 3:26s.
No changes in GTE Am front row
There were no changes in terms of times in the GTE Am, bar Giancarlo Fisichella’s 3:52.826 to put the #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari 488 into provisional third on the grid. The provisional front continues to be an all-Porsche affair, with the #88 Demsey-Proton Racing machine around three tenths faster than the #56 Team Project 1 machine.
Elsewhere, there was bad news Dempsey-Proton Racing after the withdrawal of the #99 Porsche 911 RSR following Tracey Krohn’s accident on the Mulsanne Straight on Wednesday. The American driver has not been cleared to race by the medical team, giving the crew no other option than to withdraw the car.
Click here for a full list of times from second qualifying.