Le Mans 24 Hours: Kobayashi heads Toyota 1-2 with qualifying record

Toyota will start the 2017 Le Mans 24 Hours from the front row after sealing a 1-2 in Thursday evening's third and final qualifying session

Le Mans 24 Hours: Kobayashi heads Toyota 1-2 with qualifying record

Kamui Kobayashi's record-breaking 3m14.791s lap from second qualifying was never threatened in the final two hours of running, meaning he and his team-mates in the #7 TS050 HYBRID, Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin, will begin Saturday's race from pole.

They will be joined on the front row by the sister #8 machine thanks to a lap of 3m17.128s from Kazuki Nakajima shortly after the start of the third session, which was enough to beat the #1 Porsche by just over a tenth.

Neither of the two Porsches could improve on their earlier times in the final qualifying session, and will therefore start from the second row of the grid in third and fourth.

Neel Jani ended up best of the Porsches after recording a 3m17.159s in the #1 car - 2.468 seconds down on Kobayashi's sensational pole time and eight tenths up on Timo Bernhard's best effort in the #2 919 Hybrid.

The #2 car sat out much of the session when Brendon Hartley slowed and eventually ground to a halt at Indianapolis, a precaution taken due to rising oil temperatures.

Nicolas Lapierre logged an improvement early on in the session in the #9 Toyota but couldn't improve on fifth with his time of 3m18.625s.

Having lagged behind the best of the LMP2s after second qualifying, Oliver Webb hauled the #4 ByKolles CLM up to sixth overall with a best time of 3m24.170s, nine seconds off the pace.

LYNN SECURES LMP2 POLE FOR G-DRIVE

Alex Lynn sealed LMP2 pole position for the #26 G-Drive ORECA, banging in a lap of 3m25.352s early in the final session to elevate the car he shares with Roman Rusinov and Pierre Thiriet from seventh place.

That was two-tenths faster than the time Vitaly Petrov set in the #25 Manor ORECA at the end of Thursday's earlier qualifying session.

The battle for third went down to the closing minutes, with first Bruno Senna putting the #31 Rebellion ORECA into the position before Ho-Pin Tung reclaimed it for the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA.

The #13 Rebellion ORECA, which Mathias Beche improved to a 3m26.811s, ended up fifth.

Manor's #24 ORECA will start sixth after Jean-Eric Vergne was unable to improve on the time he set early in Thursday's first session.

Overnight class polesitter Matthieu Vaxiviere's #28 TDS ORECA had been shuffled down to 12th by the time he got the chance to do a serious lap.

His pace was good enough for seventh place ahead of the #35 Signatech ORECA that Nelson Panciatici set the time in late on.

Alex Brundle was another to improve in the final 15 minutes, securing the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA ninth.

The #27 SMP Dallara was the best non-ORECA after breaking into the top 10 with just eight minutes remaining - 2.430s off the pace - while the best of the Ligiers was the #32 United Autosports Ligier in 15th place, Filipe Albuquerque posting two improvements in the final 30 minutes to take the position.

Rubens Barrichello qualified 17th for his first Le Mans in the #29 RTN Dallara, also improving his time early in this session.

The sole Riley ended up 24th in the hands of Ricky Taylor, who improved on Jeroen Bleekemolen's time, ahead only of the #33 Eurasia Ligier that Erik Maris crashed in the preceding session.

ASTON ON TOP IN ULTRA-TIGHT GTE FIGHT

Last year's GTE Pro class pole position time of 3m51.185s only fell in the final half hour of the session as Richie Stanaway took the #95 Aston Martin round in 3m51.038s, only to be supplanted by Darren Turner in the sister car with a 3m50.837s.

James Calado managed to split the Astons with a 3m51.028s in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari during the final minutes, and might have improved again but for yellow flags as the chequered flag flew.

Sam Bird was fourth in the sister #71 entry, just 0.048s off Stanaway.

Ryan Briscoe was the fastest of the Ford GTs in the #69 Ganassi car with a 3m51.232s he set mid-way through the session, and which topped the timesheets until the Astons and Ferraris demoted him to fifth.

The #63 Corvette was sixth, courtesy of a 3m51.484s lap set by Antonio Garcia in the first half of the session.

Porsche did have a car in the top three during the session, but the #92 car slid down the order to seventh after Michael Christensen posted its fastest lap of 3m51.847s, and Frederic Makowiecki had two spins as he tried to bring the sister car on to equal terms - he lines up 13th and last in class, but less than two seconds off Turner's benchmark.

Fernando Rees will start from GTE Am pole in the otherwise unfancied Larbre Competition Corvette after rivals failed to match the 3m52.843s lap he set in the first half of the session before handing over to his Am team-mates.

Pedro Lamy was the quickest of the chasing pack in the #98 Aston, and only Rees and Lamy managed to beat a 3m53.312s Townsend Bell set earlier in the session in the #62 Scuderia Corsa Ferrari.

LE MANS 24 HOURS STARTING GRID

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, S.Sarrazin Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m14.791s -
2 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m17.128s 2.337s
3 LMP1 N.Tandy, A.Lotterer, N.Jani Porsche LMP Team Porsche 3m17.259s 2.468s
4 LMP1 T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley Porsche LMP Team Porsche 3m18.067s 3.276s
5 LMP1 J.M.Lopez, Y.Kunimoto, N.Lapierre Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m18.625s 3.834s
6 LMP1 O.Webb, M.Bonanomi, D.Kraihamer ByKOLLES Racing Team ENSO CLM/NISMO 3m24.170s 9.379s
7 LMP2 A.Lynn, R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m25.352s 10.561s
8 LMP2 V.Petrov, S.Trummer, R.Gonzalez CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m25.549s 10.758s
9 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m25.911s 11.120s
10 LMP2 N.Prost, B.Senna, J.Canal Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 3m26.736s 11.945s
11 LMP2 N.Piquet Jr., M.Beche, D.H.Hansson Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 3m26.811s 12.020s
12 LMP2 J-E.Vergne, J.Hirschi, T.Graves CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m26.871s 12.080s
13 LMP2 E.Collard, M.Vaxiviere, F.Perrodo TDS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m27.108s 12.317s
14 LMP2 N.Panciatici, A.Negrao, P.Ragues Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 3m27.517s 12.726s
15 LMP2 T.Gommendy, A.Brundle, D.Cheng Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m27.535s 12.744s
16 LMP2 M.Aleshin, S.Sirotkin, V.Shaytar SMP Racing Dallara/Gibson 3m27.782s 12.991s
17 LMP2 R.Dumas, G.Menezes, M.Rao Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 3m28.051s 13.260s
18 LMP2 E.Trouillet, E.Guibbert, J.Winslow Graff ORECA/Gibson 3m28.368s 13.577s
19 LMP2 R.Bradley, J.Allen, F.Matelli Graff ORECA/Gibson 3m28.891s 14.100s
20 LMP2 M.Rojas, R.Hirakawa, J.Gutierrez G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m28.937s 14.146s
21 LMP2 F.Albuquerque, W.Owen, H.de Sadeleer United Autosports Ligier/Gibson 3m29.151s 14.360s
22 LMP2 B.Hanley, F.Rosenqvist, H.Hedman Dragonspeed - 10 Star ORECA/Gibson 3m29.777s 14.986s
23 LMP2 R.Barrichello, J.Lammers, F.van Eerd Racing Team Nederland Dallara/Gibson 3m29.976s 15.185s
24 LMP2 A.Belicchi, R.Lacorte, G.Sernagiotto Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara/Gibson 3m30.014s 15.223s
25 LMP2 V.Capillaire, M.McMurry, M.Patterson Algarve Pro Racing Ligier/Gibson 3m30.164s 15.373s
26 LMP2 N.Berthon, T.Buret, F.Barthez Panis Barthez Competition Ligier/Gibson 3m31.346s 16.555s
27 LMP2 N.Moore, K.Chandhok, P.Hanson Tockwith Motorsports Ligier/Gibson 3m32.536s 17.745s
28 LMP2 K.Calko, R.Breukers, M.Konopka ARC Bratislava Ligier/Gibson 3m33.921s 19.130s
29 LMP2 P.Lafargue, P.Lafargue, D.Zollinger Idec Sport Racing Ligier/Gibson 3m36.230s 21.439s
30 LMP2 J.Bleekemolen, R.Taylor, B.Keating Keating Motorsports Riley/Gibson 3m37.007s 22.216s
31 LMP2 J.Nicolet, P.Nicolet, E.Maris Eurasia Motorsport Ligier/Gibson 3m42.660s 27.869s
32 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam, D.Serra Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m50.837s 36.046s
33 GTE Pro A.P.Guidi, J.Calado, M.Rugolo AF Corse Ferrari 3m51.028s 36.237s
34 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m51.038s 36.247s
35 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird, M.Molina AF Corse Ferrari 3m51.086s 36.295s
36 GTE Pro R.Briscoe, S.Dixon, R.Westbrook Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford 3m51.232s 36.441s
37 GTE Pro J.Magnussen, A.Garcia, J.Taylor Corvette Racing - GM Chevrolet 3m51.484s 36.693s
38 GTE Pro M.Christensen, D.Werner, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 3m51.847s 37.056s
39 GTE Pro O.Pla, S.Mucke, B.Johnson Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 3m51.991s 37.200s
40 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell, P.Derani Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 3m52.008s 37.217s
41 GTE Pro O.Gavin, T.Milner, M.Fassler Corvette Racing - GM Chevrolet 3m52.017s 37.226s
42 GTE Pro T.Vilander, G.Fisichella, P.Kaffer Risi Competizione Ferrari 3m52.138s 37.347s
43 GTE Pro J.Hand, T.Kanaan, D.Muller Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford 3m52.178s 37.387s
44 GTE Pro R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki, P.Pilet Porsche GT Team Porsche 3m52.593s 37.802s
45 GTE Am F.Rees, R.Brandela, C.Philippon Larbre Competition Chevrolet 3m52.843s 38.052s
46 GTE Am P.Lamy, M.Lauda, P.D.Lana Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m53.233s 38.442s
47 GTE Am T.Bell, B.Sweedler, C.MacNeil Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 3m53.312s 38.521s
48 GTE Am M.Cairoli, M.Dienst, C.Ried Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 3m53.381s 38.590s
49 GTE Am M.Cioci, A.Scott, D.Cameron Spirit of Race Ferrari 3m53.641s 38.850s
50 GTE Am W.Stevens, D.Vanthoor, R.Smith JMW Motorsport Ferrari 3m53.977s 39.186s
51 GTE Am A.Bertolini, N.Jonsson, T.Krohn DH Racing Ferrari 3m54.088s 39.297s
52 GTE Am R.Bell, E.Hankey, S.Yoluc TF Sport Aston Martin 3m54.319s 39.528s
53 GTE Am R.Gunn, O.Bryant, A.Howard Beechdean AMR Aston Martin 3m54.328s 39.537s
54 GTE Am P.Long, A.Al Faisal, M.Hedlund Proton Competition Porsche 3m54.621s 39.830s
55 GTE Am M.Griffin, K.Sawa, Mok W.S. Clearwater Racing Ferrari 3m54.955s 40.164s
56 GTE Am A.Parente, H.Katoh, R.Wee Clearwater Racing Ferrari 3m54.994s 40.203s
57 GTE Am K.Bachler, S.Lemeret, K.Al Qubaisi Proton Competition Porsche 3m55.468s 40.677s
58 GTE Am O.Beretta, F.Castellacci, T.Flohr Spirit of Race Ferrari 3m56.301s 41.510s
59 GTE Am B.Barker, N.Foster, M.Wainwright Gulf Racing Porsche 3m56.469s 41.678s
60 GTE Am A.Balzan, C.Nielsen, B.Curtis Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 3m58.249s 43.458s


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Toyota's Kobayashi sets lap record in Le Mans 24 Hours qualifying

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