Michelin 2019 Le Mans Qualifying Report

June 13, 2019

Michelin 2019 Le Mans Qualifying Report

June 13, 2019

Michelin has claimed three class pole positions for the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans (Saturday, 9 a.m. EDT, Motor Trend TV and Radio Le Mans).

As anticipated, Toyota Gazoo Racing locked out the front row in LMP1. Aston Martin (GTE-Pro) and Dempsey-Proton Porsche (GTE-Am) claimed the GTE class poles.

The poles came in a mix of track conditions, with Toyota setting its pole while the sun was up and the other three cars setting their poles with the sun about to set into darkness.

Toyota’s best two times in the 3:15 bracket came during the start of the second qualifying session of the week, Thursday’s first session. Kamui Kobayashi’s 3:15.497 lap kept the No. 7 TS050 Hybrid ahead of Kazuki Nakajima, at 3:15.908 in the No. 8 car.

SMP Racing slotted up to third and fifth with Egor Orudzhev fastest among the non-hybrids in the No. 17 BR1 AER. Rebellion Racing’s two cars were fourth and sixth, both having hit mechanical troubles during the day.

LMP2 changed hands both during and after qualifying. DragonSpeed held the provisional LMP2 pole for the majority of qualifying, but that all changed within the first five minutes of the third and final session. First TDS and then Graff emerged atop the charts, the latter thanks to Tristan Gommendy in the No. 39 Oreca 07 at 3:25.073. However that car’s times were later deleted following a post-qualifying infringement, and fell to 14th in class. It promoted the No. 28 TDS Oreca back to class pole.

GTE-Pro’s timesheets also changed rapidly. By the end of the second qualifying session, Porsche’s Michael Christensen and Corvette’s Antonio Garcia moved to first and second with times in the low 3:49 range.

But at the start of the third session, things changed. Nick Tandy took the U.S.-run Porsche first into the 3:48s at 3:48.907, before Ford and Aston Martin moved ahead. The No. 67 Ford dropped to 3:48.112 and Marco Sorensen took the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage AMR to 3:48.000.

The year-on-year qualifying improvement for Aston Martin is massive in GTE-Pro. In the new car’s first Le Mans last year, these two cars qualified at 3:52.486 and 3:53.523, respectively. The Aston Martins were ninth and 14th during the Le Mans Test Day.

Dempsey-Proton held the top spot in GTE-Am for nearly all of the qualifying sessions courtesy of Matteo Cairoli in the No. 88 Porsche.

Qualifying results are linked here.

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