Published: Mon, June 18, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Kazuki Nakajima's Flying Lap Puts The No. 8 Toyota On Pole

Kazuki Nakajima's Flying Lap Puts The No. 8 Toyota On Pole

"We know it's only the preparation for the big race - [there's a] long 24 hours in front of us, but so far it has been a smooth preparation without any problem on the auto". "The track conditions were much better than yesterday and the lap was more or less as we expected. Both cars start the race with an equal and fair chance of winning", a Toyota spokesperson said.

The 36-year old Spaniard will start from pole position after his Japanese team-mate, and former Williams driver, Kazuki Nakajima posted the fastest time in qualifying.

Kazuki Nakajima earned his second career pole position at Le Mans, and Toyota's fourth, with a lap of 3:15.377s right at the start of third qualifying in the #8 vehicle he shares with Sebastien Buemi and Fernando Alonso.

DragonSpeed's BR1 set the sixth-fastest time, but hit trouble when Renger van der Zande stopped at pit exit, while the No. 11 SMP Racing BR1 of Jenson Button, Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov could only muster a time good enough for seventh-fastest.

Starting fourth on the grid is the SMP Racing auto with Stephan Sarrazin having set a time of 3min 19.483sec.

The #10 DragonSpeed auto secured sixth, 5.733 down on the pole time, whilst the second SMP Racing LMP1 - featuring Jenson Button - starts seventh ahead of the #4 ByKolles and #6 CEFC TRSM Racing machine, more than eight seconds adrift.

The second-tier LMP2 class has a total of 20 entries this year, including a two-car effort from the Anglo-American team United Autosports.

Few improvements were seen in the lap times of the LMP2 cars, with the IDEC time set by Paul-Loup Chatin in the opening moments of the session standing up throughout.

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El Tri completed a attractive counterattack, with Herrera sparking the counter in the center of the park and finding Chicharito . Kimmich nearly netted with an over-head kick from 12 yards before Julian Draxler saw a deflected effort go wide of the far post.


The #47 Villorba Corse Dallara did not re-emerge after a suspension failure caused Giorgio Sernagiotto to crash heavily and bring out the red flags in qualifying two. The top three in class had remained unchanged from first qualifying.

Meanwhile Porsche took pole in the GTE-Pro category thanks to Gianmaria Bruni's Wednesday lap of 3:47.504s in the #91.

Alessandro Pier Guidi promoted the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo to fourth in the final session with a time of 3m49.494s, demoting the #68 Ford to fifth and denying the Blue Oval a lockout of the second row.

Completing the top 10 were the best of the Corvette C7.Rs, the #63 vehicle of Antonio Garcia, and the second AF Corse Ferrari, whose best time was set by Sam Bird. The field was spread out considerably, with lap-record-destroying times up front, the Ferraris, BMWs, Corvettes and Aston Martins all over two seconds off the pace; and in the case of Corvette and Aston Martin, unable to better the fastest GTE Am runners.

Ben Barker put the #86 Gulf Racing machine up to second with a time 0.663s shy of Cairoli and some six tenths up on the second of Dempsey-Proton cars.

Porsche locked out the top three places in GTE Am, with Matteo Cairoli's lap from first qualifying in the #88 Dempsey-Proton vehicle proving enough for class pole.

The track action continues tomorrow evening at 19:00 local time with qualifying 2, ahead of the third and final qualifying session, which will go green at 22:00.

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