Le Mans (France), June 14.- The Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Fernando Alonso’s team was the fastest in the first qualifying session of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the second scoring round for the World Endurance Championship. He has celebrated until this midnight in the Circuit de la Sarthe.
In the first session of two night hours, the Toyota number 8 (# 8) has reached midnight with a better record of 3: 17.270, obtained by the Japanese Kazuki Nakajima when he completed the second of the 31 laps he has given this prototype, of the LMP1 category.
Fernando Alonso has climbed the car in the absence of 1 hour and six minutes to arrive at midnight and has gone 11 laps, before his Japanese teammate returned to take the wheel.
The other Toyota (# 7) was the second fastest after giving 33 laps of this first of three qualifying sessions, confirming the clear dominance that can be exercised by the two Japanese hybrid prototypes, if they manage to be reliable during the race.
In the four hours of free practice in the afternoon, Kamui Kobayashi with car # 7 had been the fastest (3.18.718), leaving the other Toyota to 0.557.
Thus, after a free practice session for four hours in the afternoon, at night the Toyota have returned to be the fastest cars in the new prototyping of the prototypes on the layout of the Sarthe.
The Russian SMP Racing team (Stéphane Sarrazin (FRA), Egor Orudzhev (RUS) and Matevos Isaakyan (RUS)), with car # 17 was the third, to 2,213 of the best Toyota.
Something similar has happened with the two cars of the Rebellion Racing team, with 2,392 the number 1 and 2,875 with the number 3. It seemed that the differences between these two Swiss cars was going to be lower, but times have confirmed the opposite.
As usual in Le Mans, the day of Thursday is reserved for the last two qualifying sessions, after which the starting grid will be formed for the start of the race, which is traditional and is launched after a reconnaissance tour on Saturday at 3:00 p.m.
After the last two qualifying sessions, on Friday the cars rest and the festive character of the race with the parade of the pilots through the streets of Le Mans will receive all the interest.
These were the best times of the first seven teams in the premier class (LMP1) in the first qualifying session of the 24 Hours of Le Mans:
.1. # 8 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 Hybrid (JAP)
Sébastien Buemi (SUI) 3: 17.270
Kazuki Nakajima (JAP)
Fernando Alonso (ESP)
.2. # 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing – Toyota TS050 Hybrid (JAP)
Mike Conway (GBR) at 0.107
Kamui Kobayashi (JAP)
José María López (ARG)
.3. # 17 SMP Racing – BR Engineering BR1-AER (RUS)
Stéphane Sarrazin (FRA) to 2,213
Egor Orudzhev (RUS)
Matevos Isaakyan (RUS)
.4. # 1 Rebellion Racing – Rebellion R13-Gibson (SUI)
André Lotterer (ALE) at 2,392
Neel Jani (SUI)
Bruno Senna (BRA)
.5. # 3 Rebellion Racing – Rebellion R13-Gibson (SUI)
Thomas Laurent (FRA) to 2,675
Mathias Beche (SUI)
Gustavo Menezes (USA)
.6. # 10 DragonSpeed - BR Engineering BR1-Gibson (USA)
Henrik Hedman (SWE) to 3,840
Ben Hanley GBR)
Renger van der Zande (NLD)
.7. # 11 SMP Racing – BR Engineering BR1-AER (RUS)
Vitaly Petrov (RUS) to 4,138
Mikhail Aleshin (RUS)
Jenson Button (GBR).