Toyota dominates LMP1, De Vries rules in LMP2 at Le Mans qualifying
Kamui Kobayashi led a Toyota one-two in the first qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, while former Formula 2 champion Nyck de Vries topped the loaded LMP2 category.
All LMP1 cars have automatically qualified for Friday’s ‘Hyperpole’ session at the Circuit de la Sarthe - the pole position shoot-out between the top six cars of each class - as there are only five in the field this year.
Kobayashi, in the #7 Toyota, set a time of three minutes 17.089secs, a tenth of a second quicker than sister car and 2019's pole-sitter Kazuki Nakajima [#8], and four and a half seconds clear off Bruno Senna's Rebellion.
In LMP2, a field that features 22 entries this year, De Vries in the #29 Racing Team Nederland led Will Stevens in the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca.
De Vries' 3:26.648s was four-tenths of a second quicker than Stevens, who managed a 3:27.097s.
Paul di Resta [#22 United Autosports Oreca], Jean-Eric Vergne [#26 G-Drive Oreca], Alex Brundle [#32 United Autosports] and Kenta Yamashita [#33 High Class Racing Oreca] all made it through into Friday’s Hyperpole session.
The all-Dutch Racing Team Nederland switched from the Dallara to the Oreca chassis for this WEC season, a decision that has proved fruitful so far.
Former F1 drivers Di Resta and Vergne, along with Brundle, son of former F1 driver and Le Mans winner Martin, all impressively wedged themselves into the top six.
Reigning Formula E champion Antonio Felix da Costa missed out by a tenth of a second, while another former F1 star in Juan Pablo Montoya was over two seconds off the pace.
The all-female Richard Mille Racing Team, with teenager Sophia Flörsch behind the wheel, will start from 25th overall and 20th in the category as she finished five seconds adrift.
As was the case in free practice, Aston Martin led the way in the GTE Pro category with Marco Sorensen spearheading a one-two, setting a 3:50.872s, just half-a-tenth of a second quicker than Alex Lynn.
AF Corse Ferrari duo Alessandro Pier Guidi and Davide Rigon, along with Porsche pair Gianmaria Bruni and Michael Christensen all made it through to the Hyperpole.
In the busy GTE Am category, Augusto Farfus led the way for Aston Martin with a 3:52.778s. F1 race winner Giancarlo Fisichella in his AF Corse Ferrari could only muster 10th.
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