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1-2 for Toyota and Porsche in qualifying for 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans

Written by  Jun 15, 2018

The no7 Toyota will line up alongside the sister car on Saturday’s grid after Kamui Kobayashi posted a 3m17.377 in FP1 to book their front row position. 

Row two will be headed by the no1 Rebellion Racing R13-Gibson after Bruno Senna set a 3m19.449 lap to finish just 0.034s ahead of Stephane Sarrazin in the no17 SMP Racing BR01-AER.

In the LMGTE Pro battle it will be Porsche on pole position after Gimmi Bruni’s 3m47.504 lap set the pace in the no91 911 RSR and secured the top spot in the world championship class, nearly 1.6 seconds ahead of the no92 Porsche, with Michael Christensen posting the fastest lap.  The no66 Ford GT will start in third place with a 3m49.181, three tenths ahead of the reigning world champions Ferrari.

It was a top four for Oreca in the LMP2 category with the no48 IDEC Sport Oreca of Paul Loup Chatin taking the pole position with a 3m24.842 in the final session of the day to claim the top spot.  The French driver was just 0.039s ahead of the no31 Dragonspeed Oreca of Nathanaël Berthon and three tenths ahead of the no26 G-Drive Racing Oreca of Jean-Eric Vergne. The no28 TDS Racing Oreca was fourth fastest.  The car had been on the top spot but Loic Duval’s best time was cancelled when the car missed the scrutineering bay for checks, dropping the French team down to fourth spot.

The LMGTE Am battle once again saw Porsche see off the challenge to take the top three places in the class.  Matteo Cairoli was confirmed as the fastest driver to secure the class pole with a 3m50.728 in the no88 Dempsey-Proton Porsche, six tenths ahead of Ben Barker in the no86 Gulf Racing 911, with the no77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche in third. The no54 Spirit of Race Ferrari of Giancarlo Fischella was fourth fastest, 1.2 seconds behind the pole position car.

Kazuki Nakajima no8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota TS050 Hybrid (LMP1 Pole Position)

“I was more or less at the maximum on that lap, I had no traffic so I cannot complain too much. It was much better than yesterday when I didn’t feel as good grip as today. The lap time was not as good as I expected but I have to be happy with it.  More importantly I had a really good balance for the race trim and we are ready for the race.”

Gianmaria Bruni – no91 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR (LMGTE Pro Pole Position)

“It is something very good, I think yesterday was a really good lap, I was able to put it all together.  I had a bit of a slipstream from another car which helped.  The car was well balanced and I tried to go faster on the next lap but it didn’t work and I spun over the gravel. But better yesterday than today or Saturday.  It is 70 years of Porsche with this special livery which we have talked a lot about this week and it feels so good to be working with this special family.”

Paul Loup Chatin – no48 IDEC Sport Oreca 07-Gibson (LMP2 Pole Position)

“First of all congratulations to Loic Duval, he did a really great lap, he was three hundredths in front of me and on the track he deserved the pole position.  I took the pole position last night and I improved my time tonight and it was really close to Loic.  Three hundredths on a race track like LeMans is nothing and I think our team also deserve this pole position.”

Matteo Cairoli – no88 Dempsey–Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR (LMGTE Am Pole position)

“It is something special to be on pole position at Le Mans, it is really amazing. I’m really proud of the team, they did an amazing job.  I’m a little bit disappointed about the last session, I had a spin in Mulsanne. Luckily everything was fine.  We are pretty confidant for the race and I just can’t wait to start the race.”

The 2018 24 Hours of Le Mans will begin at 15h00 on Saturday 16 June.

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