Toyota dominates Hyperpole
By Mat Coch
Friday 20th August, 2021 - 8:50am
Toyota has claimed the front row for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans after dominating Hyperpole overnight.
The two GR010 Hypercar entries were well over a second clear of the field, the #7 entry, driven by Kamui Kobayashi, maintaining its position at the head of the pack.
Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima, and Brendon Hartley in the #8 entry will line up alongside it on the front row.
It’s an improvement of one place for the Japanese entry, deposing the Glickenhaus entry of Andre Negrao, Nicolas Lapierre and Matthieu Vaxiviere.
Aussie Ryan Briscoe will line up fifth just over three seconds adrift of the outright pole time.
James Allen will line up eighth overall and third in class aboard the LMP2 class Oreca he’s sharing with Julien Canal and Will Stevens, the latter having taken part in Hyperpole for the Panis Racing squad.
The 30-minute session wasn’t without interruption, Kevin Estre spraying his Porsche at Indianapolis to draw the red flag.
Throughout the session, the Toyotas enjoyed a clear advantage over the rest of the Hypercar field, though LMP2 was far more hotly contested.
Antonio Felix da Costa secured the fastest time in class but not without a fight, Louis Deletraz briefly holding top spot.
Only a tenth further back was Stevens in the #65 Panis entry, then recently crowned Formula E world champion Nyck de Vries.
In LMGTE Pro, Dries Vanthoor clocked the fastest time in the #72 HubAuto Porsche, besting Daniel Serra’s AF Corse Ferrari by two tenths.
Porsche was also fastest in LMGTE Am, Julien Andlauer delivering a 3:47.987s lap to leave him more than 0.6s clear of the opposition.
The conclusion of Hyperpole confirms the grid for the race proper, which gets underway on Saturday.
A rest day for the main event now follows, last night’s qualifying session having been bookended by two final practice sessions.
Warmup now remains the last opportunity for teams to get on track, albeit for just 15 minutes, before the race gets underway at 16:00 local time (midnight AEST) on Saturday.