Neel Jani takes provisional Le Mans pole position for Porsche

Porsche dominated first qualifying for the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours, with Neel Jani leading a one-two-three for the German manufacturer on Wednesday evening

Neel Jani takes provisional Le Mans pole position for Porsche

Jani set a blistering 3m16.887s early on to take provisional pole, a lap fast enough to be the quickest pole position for the race in terms of laptime since 1989 should it not be beaten.

Jani's #18 Porsche and Timo Bernhard's #17 entry immediately laid down markers when the two-hour session began, quickly making it clear that none of the other manufacturers would be a factor in the fight for pole.

They were joined at the head of the field by the third #19 car, which was sent out slightly later in the hands of Nick Tandy.

Loic Duval was the best of the Audi drivers in the #8 R18 e-tron Quattro, but his lap was nearly three seconds adrift of Jani's mark.

Audi comfortably had the measure of Toyota in the battle for best of the rest, with Marco Bonanomi slotting the #9 car into fifth early in the session and Benoit Treluyer setting the best laps for the #7 car in the final 30 minutes.

But things didn't all go smoothly for Audi. Rene Rast spun the #9 car at Mulsanne corner, while Treluyer lost the #7 car at the first Mulsanne chicane long before he settled in for his run of quick laps at the end.

The Frenchman hit trouble again at the first chicane at the end of the session, clouting the left-hand kerb and sending himself into the gravel on the outside.

Last year's polesitter, Toyota, was a distant spectator to the action ahead from the moment the first qualifying laps were posted.

The TS040s ended the session more than six seconds off the pace of the Porsches, with a late effort from Stephane Sarrazin jumping the #2 car ahead of the #1 machine in their lonely battle for seventh place.

The Toyotas finished the session only three seconds clear of the leading Rebellion entry, with Mathias Beche setting a 3m26.8s to comfortably beat the team's fastest lap from 2014 qualifying.

Nissan completed its first qualifying session with mixed fortunes for its three cars, which were led by the #23 entry in 12th overall with Jann Mardenborough at the wheel.

The Briton's lap wasn't quite good enough to outpace the leading LMP2 car, but it was way clear of its LMP1 team-mates.

The #22 Nissan crept up the order to finish the session 20th overall with Harry Tincknell, while the troubled #21 entry was 30th in the hands of Lucas Ordonez after logging only nine laps.


Like the front end of the field, the best times in LMP2 came early on.

Practice pacesetter Richard Bradley continued KCMG's strong start to the week, recording a 3m38.032s on his first flying lap.

Jon Lancaster went within a second moments later in the Greaves Motorsport Gibson, but that was as close as anyone got to Bradley all night.

The Greaves entry remained second despite Gaetan Paletou crashing at Mulsanne Corner halfway through the session, resulting in a 25-minute red flag.

Last year's LMP2-class winner Jota Sport was third - with Mitch Evans and Oliver Turvey both setting times good enough for the place - while Sam Bird put G-Drive Racing (OAK) into fourth place with a late run.

Following Mark Patterson's practice crash, Murphy Prototypes emerged with 20 minutes remaining, and Nathanael Berthon set the 14th-fastest time.


Richie Stanaway headed an Aston Martin Racing one-two in GTE, as the British marque secured provisional pole in both categories.

The New Zealander, quickest in practice, set a best lap of 3m54.928s in the #99 Vantage to edge Am-class pacesetter Pedro Lamy in the sister #98 Aston.

Last year's winning trio, Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander were third quickest thanks to Bruni's best time, with the #51 458 Italia three-tenths shy of Stanaway's benchmark.

Stefan Mucke (#97) and Marco Sorensen (#95) made it four Astons in the top five with late improvements, demoting the lead Chevrolet Corvette C7.R to sixth in GTE Pro.

Porsche fared worst of the four manufacturers. Jorg Bergmeister and Frederic Makowiecki put the #91 and #92 Manthey-run 911 RSRs ninth and 12th in GTE respectively, which left them slower than three Am-class entries.

Several cars were reported for track-limits offences, particularly at Tertre Rouge, though only the #71 Ferrari was punished.

AF Corse driver James Calado was stripped of his early fourth-best laptime and the car dropped to last, though the Briton did rise to 10th in GTE with a late flying lap.


Pos Class Driver Team Car Time
1 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 3m16.887s
2 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 3m17.767s
3 LMP1 N.Hulkenberg, E.Bamber, N.Tandy Porsche Team Porsche 3m19.297s
4 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m19.866s
5 LMP1 F.Albuquerque, M.Bonanomi, R.Rast Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m21.081s
6 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 3m21.839s
7 LMP1 A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.Conway Toyota Racing Toyota 3m23.543s
8 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota 3m23.767s
9 LMP1 N.Prost, M.Beche, N.Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 3m26.874s
10 LMP1 A.Imperatori, D.Kraihamer, D.Abt Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 3m31.933s
11 LMP2 M.Howson, R.Bradley, N.Lapierre KCMG ORECA/Nissan 3m38.032s
12 LMP1 O.Pla, J.Mardenborough, M.Chilton Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m38.468s
13 LMP2 G.Hirsch, G.Paletou, J.Lancaster Greaves Motorsport Gibson/Nissan 3m38.958s
14 LMP2 S.Dolan, M.Evans, O.Turvey JOTA Gibson/Nissan 3m39.004s
15 LMP2 R.Rusinov, J.Canal, S.Bird G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 3m39.867s
16 LMP2 P.Thiriet, T.Gommendy, L.Badey Thiriet by TDS Racing ORECA/Nissan 3m39.923s
17 LMP2 C.Cumming, L.Vanthoor, K.Estre Oak Racing Ligier/HPD 3m40.058s
18 LMP1 S.Trummer, P.Kaffer, T.Monteiro Team ByKolles CLM/AER 3m40.368s
19 LMP2 N.Panciatici, P-L.Chatin, V.Capillaire Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 3m40.438s
20 LMP2 G.Yacaman, P.Derani, R.Gonzalez G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 3m40.967s
21 LMP1 H.Tincknell, M.Krumm, A.Buncombe Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m41.400s
22 LMP2 P.Ragues, O.Webb, Z.Amberg Team SARD Morand Morgan/SARD 3m42.015s
23 LMP2 L.Roussel, D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung Pegasus Racing Morgan/Nissan 3m42.023s
24 LMP2 M.Mediani, D.Markozov, N.Minassian SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 3m42.077s
25 LMP2 N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane Strakka Racing Dome/Nissan 3m42.237s
26 LMP2 M.Aleshin, K.Ladygin, A.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 3m42.417s
27 LMP2 K.Chandhok, M.Patterson, N.Berthon Murphy Prototypes ORECA/Nissan 3m44.513s
28 LMP2 S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, D.H.Hansson Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/HPD 3m44.675s
29 LMP2 T.Krohn, N.Jonsson, J.Barbosa Krohn Racing Ligier/Judd 3m44.899s
30 LMP2 P.Perret, I.Bellarosa, J.Ibanez Ibanez Racing ORECA/Nissan 3m45.350s
31 LMP1 T.Matsuda, M.Shulzhitskiy, L.Ordonez Nissan Motorsports Nissan 3m45.807s
32 LMP2 E.Brown, J.van Overbeek, J.Fogarty Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/HPD 3m46.165s
33 LMP2 J.Nicolet, J-M.Merlin, E.Maris Oak Racing Ligier/HPD 3m52.843s
34 GTE Pro F.Rees, A.MacDowall, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m54.928s
35 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m55.102s
36 GTE Pro G.Bruni, T.Vilander, G.Fisichella AF Corse Ferrari 3m55.306s
37 GTE Pro D.Turner, S.Mucke, R.Bell Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m55.466s
38 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, C.Nygaard, N.Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m55.783s
39 GTE Pro J.Magnussen, A.Garcia, R.Briscoe Corvette Racing Chevrolet 3m55.963s
40 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 3m56.723s
41 GTE Pro O.Gavin, T.Milner, J.Taylor Corvette Racing Chevrolet 3m57.081s
42 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen, J.Bergmeister Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 3m57.192s
43 GTE Pro D.Rigon, J.Calado, O.Beretta AF Corse Ferrari 3m57.216s
44 GTE Am V.Shaytar, A.Bertolini, A.Basov SMP Racing Ferrari 3m57.271s
45 GTE Pro P.Pilet, F.Makowiecki, W.Henzler Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 3m57.667s
46 GTE Am C.Ried, K.Al Qubaisi, K.Bachler Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 3m58.259s
47 GTE Am P.Mann, R.Giammaria, M.Cressoni AF Corse Ferrari 3m58.478s
48 GTE Am P.Dempsey, P.Long, M.Seefried Dempsey Racing - Proton Porsche 3m58.822s
49 GTE Am B.Sweedler, T.Bell, J.Segal Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 3m58.946s
50 GTE Am J.Bleekemolen, B.Keating, M.Miller Riley Motorsports-Ti Auto SRT/Dodge 3m59.054s
51 GTE Am D.Cameron, M.Griffin, A.Mortimer AF Corse Ferrari 3m59.091s
52 GTE Am G.Roda, P.Ruberti, K.Poulsen Larbre Competition Chevrolet 3m59.522s
53 GTE Am A.Al Faisal, K.Giermaziak, M.Avenatti JMW Motorsport Ferrari 4m00.551s
54 GTE Am R.Goethe, S.Hall, F.Castellacci Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 4m01.160s
55 GTE Am H.C.Chen, G.Vannelet, M.Parisy Team AAI Porsche 4m03.117s
56 GTE Am J.San Chen, A.Kapadia, X.Maassen Team AAI Porsche 4m04.827s

Mark Webber fastest in Le Mans 24 Hours free practice for Porsche

Previous article

Mark Webber fastest in Le Mans 24 Hours free practice for Porsche

Next article

When Nissan should have won Le Mans

When Nissan should have won Le Mans
Load comments
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Plus

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year

Jul 24, 2021
How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak Plus

How glitches left Toyota 'worried' about losing unbeaten WEC streak

The World Endurance Championship's long-awaited return to Monza posed the sternest test yet for Toyota's new hypercar. Although the Japanese marque's GR010 HYBRID remains unbeaten, the victory for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi was far from plain sailing

Jul 19, 2021
How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts Plus

How the next step in the IMSA and WEC convergence can reunite multiple fronts

OPINION: Following the latest convergence connection permitting Le Mans Hypercars from the World Endurance Championship to compete against LMDh entries in the IMSA SportsCar Championship from 2023, it could open up enticing options not only to manufacturers but also for the calendar and race formats

Jul 13, 2021
How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks Plus

How overlooked Mazda produced one of Le Mans' greatest shocks

The screaming rotary-engined Mazda 787 is regarded as one of the most popular Le Mans 24 Hours-winning cars, but until its surprise success on this day 30 years ago it was never regarded as a likely victor. But that reckoned without a new technical partner, some canny political manoeuvring and a rival's bizarre self-inflicted weakness

Jun 23, 2021
How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear Plus

How Alpine's stunted Portimao charge helped Toyota to keep clear

Despite going stride for stride for pace at Portimao, Alpine’s grandfathered LMP1 couldn’t convert pole position into a sustained victory fight against Toyota. And due to rules and car limitations that are set in stone, the French manufacturer will be searching for solutions in its own battle of endurance

Jun 14, 2021
Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts Plus

Toyota hits the ton — charting 100 world championship sportscar starts

The Japanese manufacturer is celebrating its 100th world championship prototype start in this weekend's Portimao 8 Hours round of the World Endurance Championship. Here are the major milestones on the road to three figures since the earliest low-key days of its entry into the Group C arena nearly 40 years ago

Jun 12, 2021
The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing Plus

The philosophical problems the WEC's new Hypercar class is already facing

OPINION: Most of the column inches after the World Endurance Championship's opener were centred around the relative pace of the Hypercar class and the LMP2s, but there's another question that needs addressing in order for the new division to have a successful future

May 7, 2021
How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era Plus

How stumbling Toyota drew first blood in the WEC's new era

Amid concerns that the new Hypercar class would be upstaged on debut by the spec LMP2 machines at Spa, Toyota delivered the pole and victory that the vast majority of observers expected. But neither car had a clean run, which gave the grandfathered Alpine LMP1 an unexpected shot at glory

May 4, 2021