Hartley leads Toyota to take Hyperpole at Le Mans

Hartley leads Toyota to take Hyperpole at Le Mans

Brendon Hartley claimed Toyota Gazoo Racing’s seventh overall 24 Hours of Le Mans pole position in a practice limited by track limits.

Toyota appeared to be pulling away with overall pole at the start of the practice. Both Kamui Kobayashi and Hartley posted lap times of 3m25s, seconds faster than the other Hypercars. In a surprising turn of events, Nicolas Lapierre driving the #36 Alpine Elf Team raced to a 3:24.850, the first time under 3m25s seen all weekend. This left Toyota with the task of mounting a challenge.

In their penultimate flying laps, both Toyotas were hampered by being caught behind an Am car, with Hartley losing half a second in the final sector. With a time of 3:24.585, it appeared that Kobayashi had done enough, but the time was deleted due to track limits, promoting Alpine to provisional pole.

However, Kobayashi’s time was reinstated due to a bizarre chain of circumstances, but it didn’t matter because both Toyotas ran quicker again, with Hartley taking pole with a 3:24.408, four tenths ahead of Kobayashi. Kobayashi’s time of 3:24.828 was just 0.022 faster than Lapierre’s.

After looking so promising in practice, the two Glickenhaus Racing cars had an uneventful Hyperpole. After having a few laps erased for track constraints, Ryan Briscoe beat Olivier Pla in the #708 by just under half a second.

In LMP2 Filipe Alberquerque appeared to have the upper hand at the start of Hyperpole, but Robin Frijns waited his turn and set a world-record 3:28.394 in the #31 WRT. None of the LMP2 cars could match Frijns’ amazing pace, which was 1.3 seconds faster than the Realteam by WRT in Norman Nato’s hands.

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Alberquerque came in third place, four tenths behind Nato. Antonio Felix Da Costa was fourth in the #38 JOTA, ahead of Loius Delatraz in the #9 Premal Oreln Team and Alex Lynn in the second United Autosports.

Lynn had a difficult session, as he had numerous lap times deleted owing to track constraints and couldn’t seem to put together the ideal lap like Albequerque’s sister car.

In GTE Pro, it was a two-horse race, with Tandy and Garcia keeping Corvette on top. At the checkered flag, the top four were separated by six tenths, with Tandy achieving the first 3m49s lap time in the class (3:49.985). 

Frederic Makowieki kept the pressure on the two Corvettes, three tenths off the pace with his 3:50.377, and two tenths ahead of Laurens Vanthoor’s #92 Porsche GT Team.

AF Corse struggled to finish in the top three once more, with Antonio Fuoco’s fastest time 1.8 seconds slower than Tandy’s. With a time of 3:51.816, James Calado finished sixth in his class.

Vincent Abril took Am pole with the #61 AF Corse, surprising everyone with his speed. He was two tenths faster than second-placed Mikkel Jensen in the Kessel Racing Ferrari with a time of 3:52.594. With his 3:53.006, Harry Tincknell ended a Ferrari top three in class, finishing half a second behind Abril in the Spa-winning #77 Dempsey Proton Racing.

Nicki Thiim of the #98 Northwest Aston Martin Racing finished fourth after a few laps were removed, ahead of Nick Cassidy of the #54 AF Corse and Rahel Frey of the Iron Dames entry.

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