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

Kamui Kobayashi ensured Toyota remains on provisional pole for the Le Mans 24 Hours with a sensational record-breaking lap in the second qualifying session on Thursday evening

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

The Japanese driver's 3m14.791s flyer came on his first lap out of the pits after a red flag period, helped by the ex-Formula 1 driver encountering a traffic-free run.

It puts the #7 TS050 HYBRID he shares with Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin on provisional pole by a full 2.468 seconds from the #1 Porsche, and 2.096s up on Neel Jani's previous lap record on the current configuration of the Circuit de la Sarthe set in 2015.

Conway had already beaten Kobayashi's Wednesday benchmark on his first run, producing a 3m18.651s - which stood as the fastest time when the session was stopped after 17 minutes due to a crash for Erik Maris's #33 Ligier at the first Mulsanne chicane.

It took around 50 minutes for the session to resume after lengthy barrier repairs, shortly after which Kobayashi posted his 3m14s lap at an average speed of 251.9 km/h.

Jani's 3m17.259s put the #1 Porsche nearly 2.5 seconds in arrears of the leading Toyota, while a 3m18.067s for Timo Bernhard in the sister #2 919 Hybrid was enough for third.

The #8 Toyota failed to turn a timed lap in second qualifying, Sebastien Buemi forced to crawl back to the pits after stopping early in the session with an oil supply issue.

Toyota changed the car's engine as a precaution, and Buemi was able to return to the track just before the session was red-flagged for a second time with 10 minutes to go after a crash for Timothe Buret in the #23 Ligier at the Porsche Curves.

The #8 crew remains fourth in the provisional classification on the strength of its Wednesday time.

Fifth was the #9 Toyota thanks to a 3m19.889s lap from Le Mans rookie Yuji Kunimoto, which put the Japanese driver five seconds behind compatriot Kobayashi.

ByKolles was seventh overall behind the best of the LMP2 cars, with Dominik Kraihamer setting the #4 CLM's best time, a 3m26.026s.

PETROV PUTS MANOR CLEAR IN LMP2

The #28 TDS ORECA of Matthieu Vaxiviere started the session on top in the LMP2 ranks having set the pace on Wednesday night, but early in the session Thomas Laurent put the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA fastest with a lap of 3m26.776s.

That was during the brief blast of running before the first red flag, but soon after the track re-opened Manor's Vitaly Petrov put in his time to secure top spot - outpacing the LMP1 ByKolles CLM in the process with the fastest-ever LMP2 lap at Le Mans.

The #38 ORECA held onto second place, while the sister #24 Manor ORECA of Jean-Eric Vergne also improved on it's Wednesday time to take third shortly after the restart.

The #13 Rebellion ORECA was eighth overnight, but Mathias Beche jumped up to fourth to end up ahead of the sister #31 car that Bruno Senna improved in shortly before the session was brought to a premature close.

The #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA ended up sixth thanks to Alex Brundle following an overnight engine change. This was a result of the oil pressure problem that curtailed its running on Wednesday night.

The #36 Signatech Alpine of Gustavo Menezes was eighth, ahead of the #22 G-Drive ORECA that Jose Gutierrez pushed up the leaderboard late in the running.

Vaxiviere was at the wheel of the #28 TDS ORECA when the session was stopped for the final time, but did not have the chance to improve and ended up shuffled down to 11th.

The best non-ORECA was the #48 Villorba Corse Dallara in which Andrea Belicchi set the time in 13th. It was one place ahead of the best-placed Ligier, the #45 Algarve entry in which Matt McMurry set the time.

Le Mans rookie and ex-Ferrari Formula 1 ace Rubens Barrichello was 19th in the #29 RTN Dallara.

ASTON AND FERRARI STAY FASTEST IN GTE PRO

Only two cars beat Marco Sorensen's fastest lap in the #95 AMR Aston Martin from Wednesday night, and the fastest of them was the sister #97 car shared by Darren Turner, Jonny Adam and Daniel Serra.

Adam set that car's flying lap of 3m51.860s shortly after the green flag, while James Calado slotted the #51 AF Corse Ferrari into second with a 3m52.087s just before the second red flag.

None of the #95 car's drivers improved on its fastest time of 3m52.117s from the first qualifying session, so it remained third.

The #82 Risi Competizione that had its times struck off for a parc ferme infraction last night ended the session fourth thanks to a 3m52.138s by Giancarlo Fisichella.

Just one second separates the top 12 GTE Pro entries after this curtailed session.

Will Stevens took provisional pole in the GTE Am class with a late 3m53.981s in the #84 JMW Motorsport Ferrari, overturning the previous best of 3m54.456s set by Mathias Lauda in the #98 Aston.

Euan Hankey also demoted the works Vantage, slotting into second place in the TF Sport-run Vantage with a 3m54.319s.

SECOND QUALIFYING RESULTS

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time Gap Laps
1 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, S.Sarrazin Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m14.791s - 22
2 LMP1 N.Tandy, A.Lotterer, N.Jani Porsche LMP Team Porsche 3m17.259s 2.468s 21
3 LMP1 T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley Porsche LMP Team Porsche 3m18.067s 3.276s 21
4 LMP1 J.M.Lopez, Y.Kunimoto, N.Lapierre Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 3m19.889s 5.098s 20
5 LMP2 V.Petrov, S.Trummer, R.Gonzalez CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m25.549s 10.758s 16
6 LMP1 O.Webb, M.Bonanomi, D.Kraihamer ByKOLLES Racing Team ENSO CLM/NISMO 3m26.026s 11.235s 4
7 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m26.776s 11.985s 21
8 LMP2 J-E.Vergne, J.Hirschi, T.Graves CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m26.871s 12.080s 14
9 LMP2 N.Piquet Jr., M.Beche, D.H.Hansson Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 3m27.021s 12.230s 21
10 LMP2 N.Prost, B.Senna, J.Canal Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 3m27.564s 12.773s 19
11 LMP2 T.Gommendy, A.Brundle, D.Cheng Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m28.432s 13.641s 17
12 LMP2 A.Lynn, R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m28.580s 13.789s 17
13 LMP2 R.Dumas, G.Menezes, M.Rao Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 3m28.856s 14.065s 19
14 LMP2 M.Rojas, R.Hirakawa, J.Gutierrez G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m28.937s 14.146s 15
15 LMP2 N.Panciatici, A.Negrao, P.Ragues Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 3m29.328s 14.537s 21
16 LMP2 R.Bradley, J.Allen, F.Matelli Graff ORECA/Gibson 3m29.396s 14.605s 21
17 LMP2 A.Belicchi, R.Lacorte, G.Sernagiotto Cetilar Villorba Corse Dallara/Gibson 3m30.014s 15.223s 18
18 LMP2 V.Capillaire, M.McMurry, M.Patterson Algarve Pro Racing Ligier/Gibson 3m30.164s 15.373s 20
19 LMP2 M.Aleshin, S.Sirotkin, V.Shaytar SMP Racing Dallara/Gibson 3m30.262s 15.471s 13
20 LMP2 B.Hanley, F.Rosenqvist, H.Hedman Dragonspeed - 10 Star ORECA/Gibson 3m30.369s 15.578s 17
21 LMP2 F.Albuquerque, W.Owen, H.de Sadeleer United Autosports Ligier/Gibson 3m30.693s 15.902s 18
22 LMP2 E.Collard, M.Vaxiviere, F.Perrodo TDS Racing ORECA/Gibson 3m31.085s 16.294s 23
23 LMP2 N.Berthon, T.Buret, F.Barthez Panis Barthez Competition Ligier/Gibson 3m31.346s 16.555s 18
24 LMP2 R.Barrichello, J.Lammers, F.van Eerd Racing Team Nederland Dallara/Gibson 3m31.766s 16.975s 19
25 LMP2 N.Moore, K.Chandhok, P.Hanson Tockwith Motorsports Ligier/Gibson 3m33.739s 18.948s 17
26 LMP2 K.Calko, R.Breukers, M.Konopka ARC Bratislava Ligier/Gibson 3m33.921s 19.130s 22
27 LMP2 E.Trouillet, E.Guibbert, J.Winslow Graff ORECA/Gibson 3m36.128s 21.337s 9
28 LMP2 P.Lafargue, P.Lafargue, D.Zollinger Idec Sport Racing Ligier/Gibson 3m36.362s 21.571s 22
29 LMP2 J.Bleekemolen, R.Taylor, B.Keating Keating Motorsports Riley/Gibson 3m37.350s 22.559s 14
30 LMP2 J.Nicolet, P.Nicolet, E.Maris Eurasia Motorsport Ligier/Gibson 3m42.916s 28.125s 3
31 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam, D.Serra Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m51.860s 37.069s 12
32 GTE Pro A.P.Guidi, J.Calado, M.Rugolo AF Corse Ferrari 3m52.087s 37.296s 22
33 GTE Pro T.Vilander, G.Fisichella, P.Kaffer Risi Competizione Ferrari 3m52.138s 37.347s 15
34 GTE Pro M.Christensen, D.Werner, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 3m52.177s 37.386s 20
35 GTE Pro O.Gavin, T.Milner, M.Fassler Corvette Racing - GM Chevrolet 3m52.391s 37.600s 19
36 GTE Pro R.Briscoe, S.Dixon, R.Westbrook Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford 3m52.496s 37.705s 14
37 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m52.525s 37.734s 11
38 GTE Pro O.Pla, S.Mucke, B.Johnson Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 3m52.558s 37.767s 19
39 GTE Pro R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki, P.Pilet Porsche GT Team Porsche 3m52.593s 37.802s 20
40 GTE Pro J.Hand, T.Kanaan, D.Muller Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA Ford 3m52.626s 37.835s 16
41 GTE Pro J.Magnussen, A.Garcia, J.Taylor Corvette Racing - GM Chevrolet 3m52.886s 38.095s 20
42 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird, M.Molina AF Corse Ferrari 3m52.903s 38.112s 21
43 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell, P.Derani Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 3m53.059s 38.268s 22
44 GTE Am W.Stevens, D.Vanthoor, R.Smith JMW Motorsport Ferrari 3m53.981s 39.190s 18
45 GTE Am R.Bell, E.Hankey, S.Yoluc TF Sport Aston Martin 3m54.319s 39.528s 18
46 GTE Am P.Lamy, M.Lauda, P.D.Lana Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 3m54.456s 39.665s 16
47 GTE Am F.Rees, R.Brandela, C.Philippon Larbre Competition Chevrolet 3m54.559s 39.768s 16
48 GTE Am T.Bell, B.Sweedler, C.MacNeil Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 3m54.576s 39.785s 19
49 GTE Am P.Long, A.Al Faisal, M.Hedlund Proton Competition Porsche 3m54.621s 39.830s 17
50 GTE Am A.Bertolini, N.Jonsson, T.Krohn DH Racing Ferrari 3m54.813s 40.022s 20
51 GTE Am M.Cairoli, M.Dienst, C.Ried Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 3m54.890s 40.099s 18
52 GTE Am M.Cioci, A.Scott, D.Cameron Spirit of Race Ferrari 3m54.941s 40.150s 21
53 GTE Am R.Gunn, O.Bryant, A.Howard Beechdean AMR Aston Martin 3m55.046s 40.255s 17
54 GTE Am K.Bachler, S.Lemeret, K.Al Qubaisi Proton Competition Porsche 3m55.468s 40.677s 19
55 GTE Am M.Griffin, K.Sawa, Mok W.S. Clearwater Racing Ferrari 3m55.995s 41.204s 19
56 GTE Am O.Beretta, F.Castellacci, T.Flohr Spirit of Race Ferrari 3m57.005s 42.214s 19
57 GTE Am A.Balzan, C.Nielsen, B.Curtis Scuderia Corsa Ferrari 3m59.842s 45.051s 12
58 GTE Am A.Parente, H.Katoh, R.Wee Clearwater Racing Ferrari 4m02.436s 47.645s 19
- LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota - - 2
- GTE Am B.Barker, N.Foster, M.Wainwright Gulf Racing Porsche - - 0

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

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