Le Mans – New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley, Swiss Sebastian Buemi’s Toyota N.8 and Japan’s Ryo Hirakawa took center stage at the Le Mans 24 Hours Thursday, in the final moments of the Polar Match session.
The Japanese manufacturer is confirming its position as the race’s favorite, with its start on Saturday at 4:00 pm (2:00 pm GMT), by putting its second hypercar, the Toyota N.7 that won last year, in the front row.
On the last lap, Hartley managed to complete the best lap of the evening at Sarth, in 3min 24sec 408/1000, ahead of the sister car driven by Japanese Kamui Kobayashi (3min 24sec 828/1000), Pullman last year. .
The Kiwis also set their best time ever since the start of the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans during this hefty rally that combined the six fastest cars in each class during the first qualifying session on Wednesday night.
It’s great, the car is great,” Hartley said after the session. “We were under pressure on the last lap. Now we’ll focus on the weekend. I’m happy to be back with a big crowd for an initial start.”
– ‘Faster than us’ –
La Toyota N.7 a égallement acquis sa place en première ligne juste avant que le drapeau à damier ne s’abaisse, alors que l’hyperpole était jusque là dominée par l’Alpine du Brésilien André Negrao, associére euca Nico stone. The latter was surprised by setting the reference time for twenty minutes, after disappointing tests for the French team.
“We know they are faster than us, and the important thing is not to be too far away so we don’t let them run as quiet as last year,” Papier retained after exaggerating. Third with 3 min 24 sec 850/1000, the Alps will start in the second row, which is the lesser of evil.
On the other hand, the US team Glickenhaus has reason to be disappointed that its two cars posted the worst lap times in the Queen class, when they were very fast on Wednesday. So N.709 will start in the second row, next to the Alps, and 708 in the third row.
None of the supercars went as fast as last year’s Kobayashi, when he hit the counters at 3 minutes 23 seconds 900/1000. But Hartley is still within half a second of the Japanese record time.
In the LMP2 class, WRT Belgium’s Oreca-Gibson N.31 was the fastest and earned its place in the third row, thanks to a very good time Robin Frijns, along with Glickenhaus N .708.
As in the third free practice session contested in the afternoon, the Corvette N.64 took first place in the LMGTE Pro class. Finally, in the LMGTE Am class, the “gentlemen drivers” category, the Ferrari N.61 of Italy’s AF Corse team, also pulled out of the game.
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