Ferrari fastest in first Le Mans qualifying, Toyota beaten

Ferrari fastest in first Le Mans qualifying, Toyota beaten

7 June - 19:50 Last update: 21:19

Ferrari have struck their first blow at Le Mans. The Italian team qualified for Thursday's hyperpole session with a handsome 1-2 in the first part of qualifying for the 24-hour race. Ferrari was thus faster than Toyota, which dominated the World Endurance Championship (WEC) until Le Mans. 

Qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans was spread over two days. On Wednesday, there was a general qualifying session for the three classes (hypercar, LMP2 and GT-Am). In it, the best eight in each class qualified for the hyperpole session, which takes place on Thursday evening.

Everyone is watching Ferrari

Ferrari travelled to Le Mans with high expectations. For now, the Tifosi can indeed hope for a great success, as both cars in the hypercar class showed their speed in the French city. Antonio Fuoco put his Ferrari 499P on provisional pole, with a 3.25.123. With that, he was slightly faster than teammate Alessando Pier Guidi, who followed at 0.199 seconds. The best Toyota, with Kamui Kobayashi behind the wheel and later Jose Maria Lopez, came no further than third, one better than the other Toyota driven by Brendon Hartley.

All season, Toyota had been by far the best, but probably because of the Balance of Performance (which requires Toyota to carry as much as 36 kilos of extra weight), their big lead was now gone. Behind the Japanese followed two Porsche Penske cars. Cadillac was the last team to qualify with two cars for Thursday's hyperpole. The best Cadillac (in spot 7) was driven by Sebastien Bourdais.

Fittipaldi dominates in LMP2

In the LMP2 class, Pietro Fittipaldi was the fastest. The Brazilian set the tone in the session from the start, and was continuously faster than the Belgian Team WRT, for example. That finished second with Louis Deletraz (and also Robert Kubica in its ranks). 

In the GT class, it promises to be a great spectacle the next few days. In the last few minutes the standings in the top changed a few times, eventually Alessio Rovera beating Davide Rigon.

It was a messy start to the qualifying session, with two red flags in quick succession. First it was an Alpine that stalled, then Jakobsen caused the second interruption with a crash. These red flags forced a lot of drivers to abort their fast lap twice. Although some drivers went off the track here and there, the session did not have to be stopped in the rest of the session.