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Le Mans: Porsche takes provisional pole in first qualifying

Porsche 919, Le Mans 2014

Brendon Hartley put Porsche on provisional pole for the Le Mans 24 Hours after the opening qualifying session was brought to a premature end due to a crash.

Kiwi Hartley, who is partnered in the #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid by Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard, lapped in 3m23.157s to head a one-two for the German manufacturer on its return to the top class of the French enduro after 15 years away.

The other Porsche 919, driven by Neel Jani ,set the pace once the first representative runs had been completed.

Although he was swiftly overhauled by Hartley and later suffered a hydraulics issue, a 3m23.928s was good enough to clinch second ahead of the two Toyotas.

Porsche LMP1 vice-president Fritz Enzinger told AUTOSPORT: "That was not bad for the first day; we don't know what the others were doing, but we are still very happy.

"The afternoon [practice session] was quite difficult for us, because we did not have the right set-up but the evening was good."

Toyota's #8 TS040 HYBRID had topped practice in the hands of Anthony Davidson, but the Briton - partnered by Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi - ended up just over two seconds adrift of the lead Porsche, and a tenth clear of the sister car of Alexander Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Kazuki Nakajima.

Last year's winner Audi only had two cars taking part in the first part of qualifying after Loic Duval's huge crash in practice, and its pair of R18 e-tron quattros could only manage fifth and sixth fastest in the hands of Andre Lotterer and Filipe Albuquerque.

Both Toyota and Audi were expected to usurp the Porsches at the top of the times until, with just under an hour left to run, Fernando Rees crashed his GTE Pro Aston Martin Vantage at the Porsche Curves.

That, along with Sarrazin slowing to a halt at the Dunlop chicane due to an oil leak in the Toyota, brought out the red flags, and Rees' incident caused sufficient barrier damage for the session to be brought to a premature end with half an hour still left on the clock.

In LMP2, the #26 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan took provisional pole with Oliver Pla outpacing Paul-Loup Chatin in the #36 Signatech Alpine ORECA-Nissan by more than half a second.

It was closer in GTE Pro, but AF Corse Ferrari 458 driver Gianmaria Bruni beat the lead AMR Vantage, driven by Stefan Mucke, into second place by 0.3s, with Frederic Makowiecki (Manthey Porsche 911 RSR) and Antonio Garcia (Corvette C7.R) ensuring the top four places were locked out by four different manufacturers.

Ferrari was also on top in GTE Am, where the #72 SMP 458 driven by Andrea Bertolini led the similar #61 AF car of Marco Cioci by less than 0.2s.

Six cars failed to set a time. In addition to the #1 Audi's absence, the Nissan ZEOD RC, #41 Greaves Zytek-Nissan, two Imsa Porsches and 8Star Ferrari all failed to complete a flying lap.

Pos  Cl     Drivers                             Team/Car                 Time
 1.  P1     Bernhard/Webber/Hartley             Porsche                  3m23.157s
 2.  P1     Dumas/Jani/Lieb                     Porsche                  3m23.928s
 3.  P1     Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima              Toyota                   3m25.313s
 4.  P1     Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi             Toyota                   3m25.410s
 5.  P1     Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer           Audi                     3m26.388s
 6.  P1     Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis         Audi                     3m26.445s
 7.  P1     Kraihamer/Belicchi/Leimer           Rebellion-Toyota         3m33.117s
 8.  P1     Prost/Heidfeld/Beche                Rebellion-Toyota         3m34.922s
 9.  P2     Rusinov/Pla/Canal                   OAK Morgan-Nissan        3m38.843s
10.  P2     Chatin/Panciatici/Webb              Signatech Alpine-Nissan  3m39.490s
11.  P2     Howson/Bradley/Imperatori           KCMG ORECA-Nissan        3m39.586s
12.  P2     Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy  OAK Ligier-Nissan        3m39.822s
13.  P2     Frey/Mailleux/Lancaster             Race Perf ORECA-Judd     3m39.993s
14.  P2     Berthon/Gonzalez/Chandhok           Murphy ORECA-Nissan      3m41.502s
15.  P2     Kimber-Smith/McMurry/Dyson          Greaves Zytek-Nissan     3m41.847s
16.  P2     Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy              TDS Ligier-Nissan        3m42.730s
17.  P2     Cheng/Tung/Fong                     OAK Ligier-HPD           3m42.988s
18.  P2     Rast/Charouz/Capillaire             Loeb ORECA-Nissan        3m43.507s
19.  P2     Zlobin/Salo/Ladygin                 SMP ORECA-Nissan         3m43.618s
20.  P2     Dolan/Tincknell/Gene                Jota Zytek-Nissan        3m45.928s
21.  P2     Klien/Hirsch/Brandela               Morand Morgan-Judd       3m46.018s
22.  P2     Ladygin/Minassian/Mediani           SMP ORECA-Nissan         3m46.940s
23.  P2     Schell/Leutwiller/Roussel           Pegasus Morgan-Nissan    3m49.046s
24.  P2     Ragues/Taylor/Ihara                 Larbre Morgan-Judd       3m53.948s
25.  GTE P  Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella           AF Ferrari               3m54.754s
26.  GTE P  Turner/Mucke/Senna                  Aston Martin             3m55.067s
27.  GTE P  Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz             Manthey Porsche          3m55.516s
28.  GTE P  Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor             Corvette                 3m56.443s
29.  GTE P  Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy             Manthey Porsche          3m56.584s
30.  GTE A  Bertolini/Shaitar/Basov             SMP Ferrari              3m56.787s
31.  GTE A  Perez-Companc/Cioci/Venturi         AF Ferrari               3m56.919s
32.  GTE A  Dempsey/Foster/Long                 Dempsey Porsche          3m57.004s
33.  GTE P  MacDowall/O'Young/Rees              Aston Martin             3m57.258s
34.  GTE P  Griffin/Parente/Leo                 Ram Ferrari              3m57.793s
35.  GTE P  Rigon/Calado/Beretta                AF Ferrari               3m58.330s
36.  GTE A  Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi             Proton Porsche           3m59.291s
37.  GTE A  Perrodo/Collard/Palttala            Prospeed Porsche         3m59.394s
38.  GTE P  Gavin/Milner/Westbrook              Corvette                 3m59.445s
39.  GTE A  Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton           Ram Ferrari              3m59.794s
40.  GTE A  Barthez/Pons/Ayari                  Sofrev Ferrari           3m59.837s
41.  GTE A  Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard             Aston Martin             4m00.017s
42.  GTE A  MacNeil/Curtis/Bleekemolen          Prospeed Porsche         4m01.226s
43.  GTE A  Wyatt/Rugolo/Bird                   AF Ferrari               4m02.452s
44.  GTE A  Nakano/Ehret/Rich                   Taisan Ferrari           4m03.066s
45.  GTE A  Krohn/Jonsson/Collins               Krohn Ferrari            4m03.789s
46.  GTE A  Al Faisal/Neiman/Pumpelly           JMW Ferrari              4m05.046s
47.  GTE A  Poulsen/Hansson/Thiim               Aston Martin             4m06.464s
48.  GTE A  Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank            AF Ferrari               4m11.533s
49.  GTE A  Mann/Case/Giammaria                 AF Ferrari               4m22.744s
50.  C      Ordonez/Reip/Motoyama               Nissan ZEOD
51.  P1     Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen          Audi
52.  P2     Munemman/Latif/Winslow              Greaves Zytek-Nissan
53.  GTE A  Maris/Merlin/Helary                 Imsa Porsche
54.  GTE A  Narac/Armindo/Hallyday              Imsa Porsche
55.  GTE A  Montecalvo/Roda/Ruberti             8Star Ferrari
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