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Toyota confirms favouritism with Le Mans pole

Speedcafe.com

Friday 13th June, 2014 - 8:44am

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Kazuki Nakajimi has led the #7 TS040 to pole position at the Le Mans 24 Hour

Kazuki Nakajimi has led the #7 TS040 to pole position at the Le Mans 24 Hour

Toyota has inched closer to shaking a Japanese hoodoo by claiming pole position for this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hour.

Kazuki Nakajima became the time-honoured classic’s first Japanese polesitting driver by leading the #7 V8 petrol-powered  TS040 hybrid to the top grid spot in 3:21.789s inside the final five minutes.

Porsche’s #14 919 V4 petrol-powered hybrid will start from second place following Romain Dumas’ lap of 3:22.146s which split the Toyota duo that are aiming to become only the second Japanese manufactured cars to win the great sports car race.

Sebastien Buemi managed to improve the #8 Toyota to third.

The #20 Porsche 919 secured fourth spot with time of 3:22.908s after sitting on the provisional pole.

Kiwi Brendon Hartley said: “It was a tough session out there with slow-zones and red and yellow flags.

“It was a matter of luck who got a clear lap and who didn’t, which I found a bit frustrating. But I think from the team’s point of view it was a great effort. Second and fourth on the grid at the return of Porsche to the prototype class in Le Mans – this is fantastic.“

Mark Webber only posted two timed laps in the #20 when the track was on the green side but has declared himself ready for the race.

Audi’s problematic build-up will see the three-pronged V6 diesel-powered hybrids coming out of positions five (#3 R18), six (#2 R18) and seven (#1 which was rebuilt around a fresh tub).

The #46 LMP2 topped its class with Tristan Gommendy clocking 3:37.609s to be 10th on the grid behind the pair of Rebellion Toyota-powered LMP1s.

GTE Pro pole was taken by Gianmaria Bruni in the AF Corse Ferrari.

Sam Bird topped GTE Am in the Ferrari he is sharing with Australian Stephen Wyatt with a 3:54.665s lap, just under a second off Bruni’s time.

The electric Nissan Zeod, running under the experimental rules of Garage 56 turned a 3:50.185s lap at the hands of Lucas Ordonez and will start from 27th just behind the slowest LMP2 runner.

The last time Toyota sat on pole was Martin Brundle in the GT-One in 1999 and the only time a Japanese car has won Le Mans was the rotary-powered Mazda 787B in 1991.

See below for full Le Mans 24 Hour grid

 1

LMP1

Toyota

Wurz/Sarrazin/Nakajima

3:21.789

 2

LMP1

Porsche

Dumas/Jani/Lieb

3:22.146

 3

LMP1

Toyota

Davidson/Lapierre/Buemi

3:22.523

 4

LMP1

Porsche

Bernhard/Webber/Hartley

3:22.908

 5

LMP1

Audi

Albuquerque/Bonanomi/Jarvis

3:23.271

 6

LMP1

Audi

Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer

3:24.276

 7

LMP1

Audi

Di Grassi/Gene/Kristensen

3:25.814

 8

LMP1

Rebellion

Prost/Heidfeld/Beche

3:29.763

 9

LMP1

Rebellion

Kraihamer/Belicchi/Leimer

3:31.608

10

LMP2

Ligier

Thiriet/Badey/Gommendy

3:37.609

11

LMP2

Zytek

Dolan/Tincknell/Turvey

3:37.674

12

LMP2

Ligier

Brundle/Mardenborough/Shulzhitskiy

3:37.892

13

LMP2

Morgan

Rusinov/Pla/Canal

3:38.000

14

LMP2

Alpine

Chatin/Panciatici/Webb

3:38.089

15

LMP2

Oreca

Berthon/Gonzalez/Chandhok

3:38.207

16

LMP2

Oreca

Howson/Bradley/Imperatori

3:38.689

17

LMP2

Morgan

Klien/Hirsch/Brandela

3:39.135

18

LMP2

Oreca

Frey/Mailleux/Lancaster

3:39.993

19

LMP2

Zytek

Kimber-Smith/McMurry/Dyson

3:40.035

20

LMP2

Oreca

Rast/Charouz/Capillaire

3:40.407

21

LMP2

Oreca

Ladygin/Minassian/Mediani

3:41.297

22

LMP2

Oreca

Zlobin/Salo/Ladygin

3:42.131

23

LMP2

Morgan

Schell/Leutwiller/Roussel

3:42.438

24

LMP2

Ligier

Cheng/Tung/Fong

3:42.988

25

LMP2

Morgan

Ragues/Taylor/Ihara

3:43.843

26

LMP2

Zytek

Munemman/Latif/Winslow

3:44.293

27

CDNT

Nissan

Ordonez/Reip/Motoyama

3:50.185

28

GTEP

Ferrari

Bruni/Vilander/Fisichella

3:53.700

29

GTEA

Ferrari

Wyatt/Rugolo/Bird

3:54.665

30

GTEP

Chevrolet

Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor

3:54.777

31

GTEP

Aston Martin

Turner/Mucke/Senna

3:54.891

32

GTEP

Chevrolet

Gavin/Milner/Westbrook

3:55.190

33

GTEP

Ferrari

Griffin/Parente/Leo

3:55.347

34

GTEP

Porsche

Holzer/Makowiecki/Lietz

3:55.516

35

GTEA

Aston Martin

Dalla Lana/Lamy/Nygaard

3:55.644

36

GTEP

Porsche

Pilet/Bergmeister/Tandy

3:55.745

37

GTEA

Aston Martin

Poulsen/Heinemeier-Hansson/Thiim

3:55.944

38

GTEA

Ferrari

Perez-Companc/Cioci/Venturi

3:55.977

39

GTEA

Ferrari

Bertolini/Shaitar/Basov

3:56.063

40

GTEA

Porsche

Ried/Bachler/Al Qubaisi

3:56.974

41

GTEA

Porsche

Dempsey/Foster/Long

3:57.004

42

GTEA

Ferrari

Montecalvo/Roda/Ruberti

3:57.217

43

GTEP

Aston Martin

MacDowall/O’Young/Rees

3:57.258

44

GTEA

Ferrari

Mann/Case/Giammaria

3:57.274

45

GTEA

Ferrari

Al Faisal/Neiman/Pumpelly

3:57.757

46

GTEA

Ferrari

Mowlem/Patterson/Hamilton

3:57.958

47

GTEP

Ferrari

Rigon/Calado/Beretta

3:58.086

48

GTEA

Porsche

Narac/Armindo/Hallyday

3:58.398

49

GTEA

Porsche

MacNeil/Curtis/Bleekemolen

3:59.012

50

GTEA

Porsche

Perrodo/Collard/Palttala

3:59.394

51

GTEA

Ferrari

 Barthez/Pons/Ayari

3:59.837

52

GTEA

Ferrari

Krohn/Jonsson/Collins

4:01.006

53

GTEA

Ferrari

Nakano/Ehret/Rich

4:01.446

54

GTEA

Porsche

Maris/Merlin/Helary

4:03.277

55

GTEA

Ferrari

Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank

4:10.354

 

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