Kamui Kobayashi leads Toyota 1-2 in the third practice at Le Mans

Kamui Kobayashi leads Toyota 1-2 in the third practice at Le Mans

Toyota Gazoo Racing took a one-two finish in the penultimate day of practice before the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while Corvette Racing kept their record of both cars finishing in the top three in GTE Pro.

The #8 Toyota didn’t have an easy time getting through the three-hour practice, as it became stuck on track near the halfway point. Due to an electrical issue, Ryo Hirakawa was forced to slow down the Mulsanne and perform a power reset before making his way back to the pits.

The team was able to resolve the issue and get the vehicle back on track, but Hirakawa and teammates Sebastien Buemi and Brendon Hartley have to be concerned with the issue heading into Hyperpole later this evening.

The session’s quickest laps were recorded early on, with Kamui Kobayashi’s 3:26.796 being uncontested for the entire three hours. Hartley was three tenths slower than the sister vehicle, with Olivier Pla in the #708 Glickenhaus Racing third and two tenths behind.

The Alpine Elf Team LMP1 car ended 2.4 seconds behind the leaders, as it had done all week, but a change in their Balance of Performance (BoP) will potentially put them back in contention for Hyperpole. This session, the #709 wasted some time in the garage, but it was able to get out on track and posted the fourth fastest time in the class.

In LMP2, Filipe Alburquerque delivered United Autosports their first fastest lap of the weekend in class with a 3:30.964 in the #22 Oreca. Alex Lynn was 0.061s slower than Alburquerque, giving United a one-two finish ahead of FIA World Endurance Championship opponents WRT.

At the front, though, it couldn’t have been any closer, with Robin Frijns only 0.06s behind Lynn’s time, and the top three being separated by 0.121s. These three are expected to be the qualifiers for this evening’s Hyperpole, thus LMP2 will be the class to watch.

The LMP2 class saw the most mishaps yet again, with three more cars colliding with the barriers. The #30 Duqueine Team was the first to tumble, going into the barriers at Indianapolis in the first hour of the session. It was rescued and returned to the pits, but it was not seen for the next two and a half hours.

The #13 TDS Racing x Vaillante had a close call with the #31 WRT; Philippe Cimadomo attempted to pass Sean Gelal at the Porsche Curves but cut back too quickly, catching the back of the WRT. Gelal was unharmed, but Cimadomo collided with the barriers during the spin, resulting in a twenty-minute red flag for repairs. The incident is still under investigation.

The Graff Racing #39 had a mishap heading into Arnage just after the red flag was lifted, and ended up facing the wrong way with heavy damage.

Corvette was once again victorious in GTE Pro, with Nick Tandy’s time of 3:52.307 beating Richard Lietz’s. In the #91 Porsche GT Team, Lietz was four tenths off the pace, barely ahead of Antonio Garcia in the second Corvette.

The usual pattern of Corvette-Porsche-Porsche returned, with AF Corse and Riley Motorsport both suffering from the power shortfall caused by the BoP revisions that went into effect yesterday.

In the Pro class, Porsche competed against Corvette, while in the Am class, they competed against Aston Martin. Mikkel Pedersen drove the #46 Team Project 1 to victory, achieving a time of 3:54.386, two tenths faster than the second-placed #33 TF Sport.

Hardpoint Motorsport completed the top three, finishing half a second behind Pedersen’s best time. The #80 Iron Lynx was the best Am Ferrari, finishing eighth, eight tenths slower behind Team Project 1.

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