Porsche, Toyota with Le Mans provisional poles

June 14, 2018

Porsche, Toyota with Le Mans provisional poles

June 14, 2018

Porsche (GTE) and Toyota (LMP1) carried their pace over from the Le Mans Test Day into Wednesday night’s first two-hour qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

In GTE-Pro, Gianmaria Bruni put in a stunning first flying lap of 3:47.504 in his No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR. The Italian then went off course at the Dunlop chicane and got stuck in the gravel trap. That ended his session after just two laps.

However Bruni ensured he wouldn’t be caught, as he had a 1.593-second gap to second place, the other Manthey Racing-operated Porsche.

After the two Porsches, the first two Ford GTs were next at 1.6 and 2.0 seconds behind. The first Ferrari was fifth. The best BMW (ninth), Corvette (13th) and Aston Martin (16th) were significantly further back.

The IMSA teams in GTE-Pro are provisionally fourth and 10th (Ford), sixth, seventh (CORE-operated Porsches), and 13th and 14th (Corvette).

Porsche was also 1-2-3 in the GTE-Am category. Matteo Cairoli got in among the GTE-Pro runners in his No. 88 Dempsey Proton Porsche, with a best time of 3:50.728.

Up front, Toyota set the provisional pole pace with its No. 8 TS050 Hybrid. Although more pace was possible, both the Nos. 8 and 7 cars were in comfortably with 3:17 laps. Kazuki Nakajima’s 3:17.270 lap put the No. 8 car ahead of Kamui Kobayashi’s No. 7 car, which ran a 3:17.377.

Provided Nakajima’s time holds, it would mean he, Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso would drive the pole-sitting car for Saturday’s race.

IDEC Sport led the LMP2 grid with Paul Loup Chatin posting a 3:24.956 lap in the No. 48 Oreca 07 Gibson.

This means cars that race with Michelin tires have all four provisional poles.

There are two more qualifying sessions tonight. They run from 7 to 9 p.m. and 10 p.m. to midnight local time. With potential rain forecast, Wednesday’s times may be the ones that stand.

PROVISIONAL QUALIFYING TIMES

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Monday June 18, 2018