Qualifying is complete and the grid is set for the 86th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the field set to be led away by the #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing piloted by Formula E season two champion Sebastien Buemi, Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima, who set the fastest time to steal pole.
The fabled endurance race is the second event of the 2018/19 super season and attracts the biggest field of any other event in the World Endurance Championship, with nine current and ten former Formula E drivers taking part in the star-studded race.
Every category with the exception of LMGTE-Am has Formula E representation, with varying levels of success across the board.
It had been expected that Toyota would dominate qualifying for the biggest race of the WEC calendar but the big question was would it be the #7 or #8?
A stellar lap of 3:15.377s from Nakajima gave the #8, shared with Buemi and Alonso, pole position ahead of the #7 piloted by Dragon Racing’s Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway.
Rebellion Racing had initially locked out the second row of the grid, but a time deletion for the #3 of Mathias Beche, Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes promoted Techeetah’s Andre Lotterer to third in the #1 shared by former Formula E racers Bruno Senna and Neel Jani.
Also a beneficiary of the #3 Rebellion’s demotion was the #17 SMP Racing of MS&AD Andretti’s Stephane Sarrazin, Matevos Isaakyan and Egor Orudzhev, who will join Lotterer, Senna and Jani on the second row.
Formula E super sub Tom Dillmann, along with Oliver Webb and Dominik Kraihamer, will start the race from eighth in the #4 ByKolles, one position ahead of NIO’s Oliver Turvey, Alex Brundle and one-time Formula E racer Oliver Rowland.
There was disappointment for former Dragon Racing star Loic Duval, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Francois Perrodo in LMP2, with Duval setting a time good enough to top the category but after failing to stop at a scrutineering lights the stewards demoted the #28 TDS Racing to fourth in class.
This promoted the #48 IDEC Sport of Paul-Loup Chatin, Memo Rojas and Paul Lafargue to pole ahead of the #31 DragonSpeed of Pastor Maldonado, Roberto Gonzalez and former Team Aguri driver Nathanael Berthon.
Current Formula E championship leader Jean-Eric Vergne will start third in class, sharing the #26 G-Drive Racing with Roman Rusinov and Andrea Pizzitola, just ahead of the demoted Duval.
Panasonic Jaguar Racin’s reserve driver Ho-Pin Tung, along with Gabriel Aubry and Stephane Richelmi in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing, will start ninth in the LMP2 class.
Three current Formula E drivers form part of the roster for LMGTE-Pro, but none of them enjoyed a particularly successful qualifying as pole was taken by the #91 Porsche of Gianmaria Bruni, Richard Lietz and Techeetah rookie test driver Frédéric Makowiecki.
Davide Rigon, Miguel Molina and DS Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird could only qualify tenth in class in the #71 AF Corse, just behind the #63 Chevrolet of Jan Magnussen, Mike Rockenfeller and two-time Formula E racer Antonio Garcia.
11th in class was former NextEV NIO test driver Harry Tincknell, sharing the #67 Ford GT with Tony Kanaan and Andy Priaulx, ahead the #82 BMW of one-time Formula E race winner, Andretti tester Alexander Sims and Augusto Farfus.
Finally it was a miserable day for Aston Martin Racing, with both the #97 of Jonathan Adam, Maxime Martin and DS Virgin Racing’s Alex Lynn, and the #95 of Marco Sorensen, Nicki Thiim and Darren Turner falling amongst the LMGTE-Am field and leaving themselves with an uphill struggle for the race.
#LEMANS24 pole sitters ?
— WEC (@FIAWEC) June 14, 2018