Hartley wins battle of 'extraordinary' Toyotas for Le Mans pole

·2-min read

Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa put their Toyota on pole for the Le Mans 24 Hour Race on Thursday as the Japanese manufacturer claimed a front-row lockout.

Former F1 driver Hartley secured his team's edge with a best time of 3 min 24.408 sec.

It was a sixth consecutive pole in the classic endurance event for Toyota.

The second Toyota hybrid, with 2021 pole-sitter Kamui Kobayashi behind the wheel, clocked 3 min 24.828 sec.

Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez share the driving duties with ex-F1 driver Kobayashi.

"It's great, the car is extraordinary," said Hartley whose car was second to their teammates in the 2021 race.

"We were under pressure on the last lap. Now, we will focus on the weekend."

The Alpine of Andre Negrao, Matthieu Vaxiviere and Nicolas Lapierre pushed the leaders hard, finishing third on 3 min 24.850 sec.

"We know they are faster than us, the important thing is not to be too far away so as not to let them have a quiet race like last year," said Lapierre.

The Alpine was third in the 2021 edition of the event.

Despite Toyota's anticipated dominance, the pole time was slower than 2021 when Kobayashi clocked 3 min 23.900 sec.

Leading times

Front row

Sebastien Buemi - Ryo Hirakawa - Brendon Hartley (SUI-JPN-NZL/Toyota N.8/Hypercar/hybrid) 3:24.408

Mike Conway - Kamui Kobayashi - José Maria Lopez (GBR-JPN-ARG/Toyota N.7/Hypercar/hybrid) 3:24.828

2nd row

Andre Negrao - Matthieu Vaxiviere - Nicolas Lapierre (BRA-FRA-FRA/Alpine/Hypercar) 3:24.850

Ryan Briscoe - Richard Westbrook - Franck Mailleux (AUS-GBR-FRA/Glickenhaus N.709/Hypercar) 3:25.841

3rd row

Olivier Pla - Romain Dumas - Felipe Derani (FRA-FRA-BRA/Glickenhaus N.708/Hypercar) 3:26.359

Sean Gelael - Robin Frijns - René Rast (INA-NED-GER/WRT N.31/LMP2) 3:28.394

4th row

Rui Andrade - Ferdinand Habsburg-Lothringen - Norman Nato (POR-AUT-FRA/Realteam By WRT N.41/LMP2) 3:29.697

Filipe Albuquerque - Philip Hanson - Will Owen (ESP-GBR-USA/Oreca-Gibson/LMP2) 3:30.070


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