Brendon Hartley and the #8 Toyota crew will start from third at the Le Mans 24 Hours as the sister TS050 Hybrid of Kamui Kobayashi scored Toyota its fourth consecutive pole at Circuit de la Sarthe.
After a muted start to this year’s Le Mans campaign, Rebellion turned up in the wick in last night’s final practice session to end Toyota’s dominance ahead of Hyperpole which would determine the grid for tomorrow’s race.
The Swiss outfit would then continue their fine form into the morning when American racer Gustavo Menezes set a 3m15.822s, the fastest ever non-hybrid lap at Le Mans, to split the two Toyota’s.
Hyperpole regulations meant only one driver per car would be allowed to set a time in the 30-minute shootout, with Kobayashi the first to lay a benchmark by clocking into the high 3m15s.
Kazuki Nakajima was at the helm of the #8 machine but had a sloppy opening lap and ended up 2.5 seconds adrift. He would improve on his next run by almost one second but he would stay third quickest at the chequered flag.
Menezes was unable to reproduce a similar lap while Kobayashi aborted his final run for track limit violations. The Japanese racer was up six-tenths on his last timed lap and could have been within a shot of resetting the overall lap record.
Paul di Resta edged out Jean-Eric Vergne for pole in LMP2 with the defining margin between the two ex-Formula 1 rivals just three-tenths.
Preliminary qualifying pace-setter Nyck de Vries survived a hairy moment during his opening Hyperpole run when he skated across the grave traps through Porsche Curves. The Dutch driver was able to improve and would end the session third fastest.
Porsche put an end to Aston Martin’s early weekend promise with a composed performance in GTE Pro to claim pole position courtesy of Gianmaria Bruni in the #91 911 RSR.
Australian GT ace Matt Campbell then very nearly made it two-from-two for the German manufacturer in GTE Am. Campbell led the opening stages of the session but had his best time bettered by the Ferrari of Come Ledogar by half-a-tenth.
Campbell would finish Hyperpole an impressive 16th fastest and ahead of three GTE Pro drivers.
The 88th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours will get underway from 12.30 Sunday morning and run uninterrupted until the following Monday. The race will be broadcast live on Sky Sport pop-up channel 600.