Fourth-placed Toyota "unlucky in traffic" in Le Mans qualifying - Alonso

Fernando Alonso's Toyota ended up only fourth in opening qualifying for this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours as a result of what the Spaniard called bad luck in traffic

Fourth-placed Toyota "unlucky in traffic" in Le Mans qualifying - Alonso

Kazuki Nakajima, who shares the #8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID with Alonso and Sebastien Buemi, was more than four seconds off the provisional pole set by team-mate Kamui Kobayashi when both Japanese cars went out on qualifying runs right at the start of Wednesday night's timed session.

#7 Toyota on provisional Le Mans pole despite bizarre collision

The #7 Toyota was fastest in opening qualifying with a 3m17.161s set by Kamui Kobayashi on his second flying lap, whereas Nakajima encountered traffic on both his hot laps and ended up setting a 3m21.979s.

Alonso subsequently improved on Nakajima's time with a 3m19.632s set later in the session during the course of a long run, moving the car up from sixth to fourth position.

Alonso said: "In qualifying we were unlucky with traffic so we didn't show our true pace.

"After that, we just concentrated on improving our car in race conditions — we were following our programme.

"On Thursday we have another chance to improve the set-up and we will try to get a better lap time."

Nakajima added: "I attempted a qualifying lap on new tyres but I suffered in traffic.

"Qualifying is always a lottery here with the traffic and today we just didn't have the luck."

Toyota went for a time with both cars at the start of the session before it got dark, in anticipation of more unsettled weather during the final two qualifying sessions on Thursday evening which will be its last chances to improve its grid position.

It then returned to its testing programme in preparation for the race.

Both Toyotas were involved in incidents with slower cars over the course of the two-hour session.

Buemi had contact with a GT car that required a repair to the Toyota's floor and the replacement of the nose.

Conway hit the stationery DragonSpeed ORECA-Gibson 07 driven by Roberto Gonzalez in the second part of the Ford Chicane.

This resulted in damage to the left front corner and a 30-minute stay in the pits.

Gonzalez had spun and then half pulled back on to the circuit before stopping as Conway was approaching.

Conway was given a suspended three-minute stop-and-hold penalty for the incident with Gonzalez.

The decision stated that Conway had failed to slow at the entry to the Ford Chicanes and was not prepared to change direction or stop as required.

It continued: "As a result he collided with car #31 [Gonzalez] which was partially blocking the track at T33."

One of the cars behind the #8 Toyota - the #1 Rebellion-Gibson R-13 - has lost all its lap times from opening qualifying as a result of a technical irregularity described in the stewards' report as an "incorrect declaration of fuel-flow meter".

The car had been sixth in the times, thanks to a 3m20.297s lap set by Neel Jani, in the car he shares with Bruno Senna and Andre Lotterer.

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