The trio of Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa took the lead in the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Thursday.
New Zealand’s Brendon Hartley, Swiss Sebastien Buemi’s Toyota N.8 and Japan’s Ryo Hirakawa took center stage at the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Thursday, in the final moments of the big rally. The Japanese manufacturer is confirming its position as the favorite for the race, which gets its start on Saturday at 4:00 pm (2:00 pm GMT), by placing its second hypercar, Toyota N.7, victorious last year, in the front row.
On the last lap, Hartley managed to complete the Sarthe circuit with the best time, in 3 minutes 24 seconds 408/1000, ahead of his sister car driven by Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi (3 minutes 24 seconds 828/1000), Pullman last year. The Kiwi also had the fastest time since the start of the 90th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans during this high, which combined the six fastest cars in each class during the first qualifying session.
Once again, Toyota took its place in the front row just before the appearance of the checkered flag, when it was dominated by the Brazilian Arctic and the French Mathieu and Nicolas Lapierre. The latter was surprised by setting the reference time for twenty minutes, after disappointing tests for the French team. Third with 3 min 24 sec 850/1000, the Alps will still start in the second row, which is the lesser of evil.
Bad weather for Glickenhouse
On the other hand, the Glickenhaus team has reason to be disappointed, as their two cars had the worst times in the first category of supercars while often being the fastest during testing. So N.709 will start in the second row while the 708 will start the race in the third row. None of the supercars went as fast as last year’s Kobayashi, who panicked with lap times at 3m23 900/1000. The WRT N.31 was the fastest in the LMP2 class and earned its spot next to the 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, twelfth. In the LMGTE Am class, the AF Corse N.61 performed well and will start the legendary race in 18th place.
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