toyota to back of grid at 24 hours of le mans

Bad luck for Toyota at Le Mans: hefty penalty after qualifying

13 June at 10:53
  • Ludo van Denderen

The #7 Toyota of Nyck de Vries, Kamui Kobayashi and José María López looked like it would be allowed to get ready for the hyperpole, to compete in it for pole position for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. But the car received a hefty penalty from race control after the first part of qualifying - in which the Japanese driver qualified fourth. Because Kobayashi caused a red flag in the closing stages of the session, the Toyota will start last in the hypercars on Saturday.

Indeed, the regulations state, "A car causing a red flag in a qualifying session will see all or some lap times deleted from that session, unless there are exceptional circumstances at the discretion of the stewards. A car that causes a red flag will no longer be allowed to compete in the qualifying sessions."

A setback for Toyota, which saw its second car in qualifying stranded in 11th place. To compete for pole on Thursday, a place among the best eight was necessary. So Toyota - seen beforehand as one of the favourites for the overall victory - will have to catch up with both cars.

BMW fastest in qualifying

The #15 of BMW was very surprisingly the fastest in qualifying on Wednesday, just ahead of the #3 Cadillac of Renger van der Zande and the #50 Ferrari, among others. For the #12 Jota Porsche of Will Stevens, Norman Nato and Callum Ilott, Toyota's penalty is good news: The private team moves up one place and is still allowed to compete in the hyperpole.