24H.  Le Mans - Toyota takes pole, Corvette dominates in GTE Pro

24H. Le Mans – Toyota takes pole, Corvette dominates in GTE Pro

It was fair, but Toyota Gazoo Racing had the luxury of monopolizing the front row on the starting grid for the 24 Hours of Le Mans 2022 this Thursday, June 9. In La Sarthe, the two Toyota GR010 Hybrids driven by Brendon Hartley and Kamui Kobayashi monopolized the top of the timesheets at the end of the hyperpole.

However, the Japanese prototypes almost lost their place to Nicolas Lapierre’s unique Alpine A480. The French driver occupied the lead of the classification for a few minutes thanks to a lap of 3’24”850. His mount had benefited a few hours earlier froma slightly more favorable Balance of Performance (BoP).

As the practice time count had come to an end, the Alpine was still on provisional pole thanks to a time canceled for Kamui Kobayashi due to track limits not being respected. But the last attempt was successful for the two Toyotas, which together overtook the Alpine.

The two Glickenhaus 007 LMH close the march in the Hypercar category despite a fairly spectacular sense of attack. Ryan Briscoe and Olivier Pla fail at one second and almost two seconds:

As for LM P2, the fight was fierce between four teams: WRT, Prema, United Autosports and Jota. This last structure, already victorious in the Sarthe (in 2014) occupied the first virtual place until Antonio Félix Da Costa made a pilot error in the money time.

The Belgian WRT team did not ask for so much. Robin Frijns released an anthology lap and stuck more than a second to all his rivals, which are however not heats! Norman Nato is second, Louis Delétraz will start third on the occasion of the first participation of the transalpine formation Prema at Le Mans, while one of the references in the category, Filipe Albuquerque, is content with fourth place.

The GTE Pros also put on a show. We knew they were in good shape, but not to this point! For their second appearance at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the two Corvette C8.Rs monopolized the outposts, even if Frédéric Makowiecki and Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche) did try to thwart the plans of the American factory. Nick Tandy was one breath ahead (192 thousandths) of his Spanish colleague Antonio Garcia.

Slowed down by the new Balance of Performance (BoP), the Ferrari 488 GTE Evos were only a shadow of their former selves. Antonio Fuoco and especially the outgoing winner James Calado dragged themselves during the entire Hyperpole, and conceded nearly two seconds!

Finally, the GTE Am class allowed Monegasque Vincent Abril (Ferrari) to stand out. The French-speaking, accustomed to the DTM and Grand Touring, beat the future official Peugeot driver in Hyperpole, Mikkel Jensen (Ferrari) by 157 thousandths. Winner in GTE Pro in 2020, Harry Tincknell (Porsche) completes the virtual podium. Disappointment on the other hand for the female trio of the Iron Dames: the time of Rahel Frey (Ferrari) was canceled for a disrespect of the limits of the circuit, and ranks 6th in the Hyperpole.

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