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Le Mans 24 Hours: Kazuki Nakajima takes provisional pole for Toyota

Toyota took provisional pole position for the Le Mans 24 Hours courtesy of a last-gasp lap from Kazuki Nakajima in a thrilling conclusion to an incident-filled second qualifying session.

Nakajima underlined the Toyota TS040 Hyrbid's status as pre-race favourite by clinching top spot ahead of tonight's final part of qualifying, but Porsche's pair of 919 Hybrids pushed the Japanese manufacturer hard.

A late flier from Timo Bernhard looked set to consolidate the #20's position at the top of the times until Nakajima twice improved late on.

With five minutes remaining, the Japanese split the two Porsches to lift Toyota onto the front row, and then eclipsed Bernhard's 3m22.908s by more than three-tenths of a second.

Romain Dumas then took second in the #14 Porsche, putting it ahead of its sister car but falling just 0.119s short of wresting back provisional pole from Toyota.

Oliver Jarvis was another to go faster right at the end of the session, putting the #3 Audi R18 e-tron quattro fourth.

It means the lead quartet comprises one of each of the three manufacturers and is covered by 0.7s going into the final part of qualifying, which has been extended by half an hour and will now start at 2130 local time.

That is because of a pair of red flag interruptions, the second of which came just after the #1 Audi - rebuilt following Loic Duval's huge crash in practice - was involved in a pair of accidents.

Lucas di Grassi had just gone seventh when he spun exiting Indianapolis and hit the left-hand side barrier, damaging his repaired Audi's front end.

He was able to continue, slowly, but on his way back to the pits inadvertently caused a huge crash for the #29 Pegasus Morgan-Nissan.

Broken Lucas di Grassi Audi Le Mans 24 Hours

Leo Roussel attempted to pass di Grassi at speed approaching the Ford chicane, but took to the grass to avoid the Audi as it jinked left. He spun and speared across the track, slamming hard into the barrier.

Both drivers were summoned to race control over the incident.

That accident, which unsurprisingly brought out the red flags as it came to a halt just by the entry to the pitlane, capped a chaotic couple of minutes.

In addition to di Grassi's own spin, the #79 ProSpeed Porsche drive by Bret Curtis spun on the approach to the Dunlop chicane and hit the tyre barriers.

The #46 TDS Racing Ligier-Nissan took provisional LMP2 pole courtesy of Tristan Gommendy.

The Frenchman's 3m38.094s just shaded the #48 Murphy ORECA-Nissan, in which Nathanael Berthon had earlier gone fastest.

The #36 Signatech ORECA is now third, having also held top spot by bumping Wednesday night's pacesetting LMP2 outfit, the #26 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan, which fell to fourth.

Ferraris still lead the way in both GT divisions. Gianmaria Bruni's 3m54.754s remains good enough to have the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia on provisional Pro pole, but its closest challenger is now the #73 Chevrolet Corvette.

Jan Magnussen was a steady improver in the new-for-2014 CR.7, and he pushed the #97 Aston Martin Racing entry into third with a late effort that shade the sole Vantage's best by 0.029s.

It was a less successful session for the #71 AF Corse Ferrari, in which James Calado had caused the first of the session's two red flags when he crashed at the Porsche Curves.

The SMP Ferrari remains on GTE Am pole, just ahead of the #81 AF entry.


Pos Cl       Car        Drivers                            Time        Laps
 1. LMP1 #7  Toyota     Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima             3m22.589s   20
 2. LMP1 #14 Porsche    Dumas/Jani/Lieb                    3m22.708s   14
 3. LMP1 #20 Porsche    Bernhard/Webber/Hartley            3m22.908s   17
 4. LMP1 #3  Audi       Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis        3m23.271s   20
 5. LMP1 #8  Toyota     Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi            3m23.661s   19
 6. LMP1 #2  Audi       Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer          3m24.276s   19
 7. LMP1 #1  Audi       Di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen          3m26.490s   10
 8. LMP1 #12 Rebellion  Prost/Heidfeld/Beche               3m31.180s   16
 9. LMP1 #13 Rebellion  Kraihamer/Belicchi/Leimer          3m31.608s   16
10. LMP2 #46 Ligier     Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy             3m38.094s   16
11. LMP2 #48 Oreca      Berthon/Gonzalez/Chandhok          3m38.207s   14
12. LMP2 #36 Alpine     Chatin/Panciatici/Webb             3m38.769s   20
13. LMP2 #43 Morgan     Klien/Hirsch/Brandela              3m39.135s   16
14. LMP2 #35 Ligier     Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy 3m39.523s   16
15. LMP2 #24 Oreca      Rast/Charouz/Capillaire            3m40.407s   9
16. LMP2 #47 Oreca      Howson/Bradley/Imperatori          3m40.476s   19
17. LMP2 #26 Morgan     Rusinov/Pla/Canal                  3m41.446s   16
18. LMP2 #29 Morgan     Schell/Leutwiller/Roussel          3m42.438s   11
19. LMP2 #27 Oreca      Zlobin/Salo/Ladygin                3m42.527s   18
20. LMP2 #41 Zytek      Munemman/Latif/Winslow             3m44.293s   19
21. LMP2 #37 Oreca      Ladygin/Minassian/Mediani          3m44.395s   6
22. LMP2 #34 Oreca      Frey/Mailleux/Lancaster            3m44.486s   12
23. LMP2 #38 Zytek      Dolan/Tincknell/Turvey             3m44.842s   12
24. LMP2 #50 Morgan     Ragues/Taylor/Ihara                3m47.015s   11
25. LMP2 #42 Zytek      Kimber-Smith/McMurry/Dyson         3m47.255s   18
26. LMP2 #33 Ligier     Cheng/Tung/Fong                    3m48.325s   17
27. GTEP #73 Chevrolet  Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor            3m55.038s   17
28. GTEP #51 Ferrari    Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella          3m55.552s   18
29. GTEP #97 Aston      Turner/Mucke/Senna                 3m56.516s   11
30. GTEP #52 Ferrari    Griffin/Parente/Leo                3m56.642s   18
31. GTEA #61 Ferrari    Perez-Companc/Cioci/Venturi        3m56.917s   16
32. GTEA #95 Aston      Poulsen/Heinemeier-Hansson/Thiim   3m56.994s   12
33. CDNT #0  Nissan     Ordonez/Reip/Motoyama              3m57.096s   9
34. GTEP #74 Chevrolet  Gavin/Milner/Westbrook             3m57.160s   12
35. GTEP #92 Porsche    Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz            3m57.356s   13
36. GTEA #98 Aston      Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard            3m57.455s   15
37. GTEA #81 Ferrari    Wyatt/Rugolo/Bird                  3m57.665s   18
38. GTEP #91 Porsche    Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy            3m57.682s   17
39. GTEP #71 Ferrari    Rigon/Calado/Beretta               3m58.086s   9
40. GTEA #77 Porsche    Dempsey/Foster/Long                3m58.373s   16
41. GTEA #66 Ferrari    Al Faisal/Neiman/Pumpelly          3m58.512s   16
42. GTEA #72 Ferrari    Bertolini/Shaitar/Basov            3m58.778s   18
43. GTEA #79 Porsche    MacNeil/Curtis/Bleekemolen         3m59.012s   12
44. GTEA #75 Porsche    Perrodo/Collard/Palttala           3m59.604s   17
45. GTEA #88 Porsche    Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi            3m59.920s   17
46. GTEA #60 Ferrari    Mann/Case/Giammaria                4m01.425s   16
47. GTEA #70 Ferrari    Nakano/Ehret/Rich                  4m01.446s   17
48. GTEA #57 Ferrari    Krohn/Jonsson/Collins              4m01.686s   19
49. GTEA #53 Ferrari    Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton          4m02.175s   17
50. GTEA #67 Porsche    Maris/Merlin/Helary                4m03.903s   3
51. GTEA #76 Porsche    Narac/Armindo/Hallyday             4m06.021s   7
52. GTEA #58 Ferrari    Barthez/Pons/Ayari                 4m07.434s   16
53. GTEA #62 Ferrari    Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank           4m20.025s   12
54. GTEA #90 Ferrari    Montecalvo/Roda/Ruberti                        2
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