LM24: Porsche qualify 1-2-3, Stanaway tops GTE-Pro, Evans to start 4th in LMP2

Autosport

Porsche’s trio of 919 Hybrids will start this weekend’s Le Mans 24 Hours from the top three positions of the grid after maintaining their supremacy in final qualifying.

Neel Jani’s time of 3m16.887s in the #18 Porsche he shares with Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, set early in the first of three qualifying sessions held on Wednesday night, was good enough to hold on to top spot throughout today’s pair of two-hour sessions.

It is the fastest pole lap set at Le Mans since the introduction of the chicanes on the Mulsanne Straight, and the sixth fastest in history in terms of laptime regardless of configuration.

It is also the first Porsche to take pole at Le Mans since Michele Alboreto in the Joest WSC 95 in 1997.

Timo Bernhard qualified the #17 Porsche second, again with his time set early in Wednesday’s session, with the #19 car third fastest.

None of the Porsches improved in the final two-hour session, with Audi locking out positions four through six.

Filipe Albuquerque was the best-placed driver to improve a car’s qualifying time in the final session, but his marginal gain was not good enough to improve the #9 Audi’s position from sixth place.

That means the #8 Audi is the best placed of the trio, with the #7 car of 2014 winners Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler behind it in fifth.

Toyota continued to struggle, ending up 2.5s behind the slowest Audi and 6.656s off the outright pace with its lead car, the #2 machine qualified by Stephane Sarrazin, in seventh ahead of the #1 machine qualified by Buemi.

Rebellion held on to ninth and 10th place, with fellow LMP1 privateer ByKolles 11th with its CLM, which jumped up the order in the second session earlier today in the hands of Pierre Kaffer.

This was despite a late attack from Nissan, with Harry Tincknell putting the #22 GT-R LM NISMO into 12th place with just over 10 minutes remaining, just three-tenths off the CLM and 20.108s off pole.

The #23 car of Jann Mardenborough was relegated to 13th as a result, with the #21 Nissan of Tsugio Matsuda in 15th place and behind the fastest LMP2 car.

KCMG LMP2, Le Mans 2015

LMP2: KCMG REMAINS IN CHARGE

KCMG will start from pole in LMP2, thanks to Richard Bradley’s 3m38.032s lap on Wednesday night.

The team had a quiet session, missing the opening 50 minutes while the suspension problem that ended its run in the first phase was repaired, but still finished on top.

Its closest challenger was LMP2’s biggest mover, the #26 G-Drive (OAK) Ligier, which climbed to second thanks to a 3m38.939s lap from Sam Bird with an hour remaining.

Greaves Motorsport will line up third – its Gibson shed a sizeable piece of bodywork after the final restart – ahead of Jota Sport and Signatech Alpine.

While KCMG enjoys a buffer of nearly one second at the top, a similar margin covers that group.

After a troubled Thursday, Murphy Prototypes climbed from 14th overnight to eighth, with Nathanel Berthon behind the wheel.

#99 Aston Martin, Le Mans 2015

GTE: ASTON KEEPS BRUNI AT BAY

Aston Martin and Ferrari will occupy the top two spots on the GTE Pro grid after Gianmaria Bruni vaulted the #51 AF Corse 458 Italia up the order in the final session.

Richie Stanaway’s 3m54.928s in the #99 AMR Vantage, set in Wednesday’s opening qualifying segment, remained unbeaten on Thursday.

Bruni had put the Ferrari third on Wednesday night but both the team’s Pro cars lost their laptimes due to track-limits offences.

The Italian made good progress through the third and final session though, winding up less than a tenth slower than the lead Aston.

Vantages completed the top four, with Pedro Lamy going third-quickest in the pacesetting GTE Am #98 car, ahead of the Stefan Mucke-led #97.

The second Ferrari recovered to fifth overall and fourth of the Pros in the hands of James Calado, ahead of the #95 Aston.

Antonio Garcia put the best of the Corvettes sixth in the Pro class, but team-mate Jan Magnussen shunted the #63 C7.R heavily at the Porsche Curves in the second qualifying session and the car did not appear for the rest of the evening.

The Dane was unhurt but the Chevrolet is believed to be substantially damaged.

Porsche’s struggles continued, with the #91 and #92 Manthey-run 911 RSRs seventh and eighth in GTE Pro but split by two other GTE Am cars.

They were the #83 AF Corse Ferrari and that team’s SMP-badged #72 458 Italia, second and third in class respectively but a long way off the #98 Aston’s benchmark.

QUALIFYING RESULTS

PosClassDriverTeamCarTime
1LMP1R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.LiebPorsche TeamPorsche3m16.887s
2LMP1T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.HartleyPorsche TeamPorsche3m17.767s
3LMP1N.Hulkenberg, E.Bamber, N.TandyPorsche TeamPorsche3m18.862s
4LMP1L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.JarvisAudi Sport Team JoestAudi3m19.866s
5LMP1M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.TreluyerAudi Sport Team JoestAudi3m20.561s
6LMP1F.Albuquerque, M.Bonanomi, R.RastAudi Sport Team JoestAudi3m20.997s
7LMP1A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.ConwayToyota RacingToyota3m23.543s
8LMP1A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.NakajimaToyota RacingToyota3m23.767s
9LMP1N.Prost, M.Beche, N.HeidfeldRebellion RacingRebellion/AER3m26.874s
10LMP1A.Imperatori, D.Kraihamer, D.AbtRebellion RacingRebellion/AER3m28.930s
11LMP1S.Trummer, P.Kaffer, T.MonteiroTeam ByKollesCLM/AER3m36.825s
12LMP1H.Tincknell, M.Krumm, A.BuncombeNissan MotorsportsNissan3m36.995s
13LMP1O.Pla, J.Mardenborough, M.ChiltonNissan MotorsportsNissan3m37.291s
14LMP2M.Howson, R.Bradley, N.LapierreKCMGORECA/Nissan3m38.032s
15LMP1T.Matsuda, M.Shulzhitskiy, L.OrdonezNissan MotorsportsNissan3m38.691s
16LMP2R.Rusinov, J.Canal, S.BirdG-Drive RacingLigier/Nissan3m38.939s
17LMP2G.Hirsch, G.Paletou, J.LancasterGreaves MotorsportGibson/Nissan3m38.958s
18LMP2S.Dolan, M.Evans, O.TurveyJOTAGibson/Nissan3m39.004s
19LMP2N.Panciatici, P-L.Chatin, V.CapillaireSignatech AlpineAlpine/Nissan3m39.699s
20LMP2P.Thiriet, T.Gommendy, L.BadeyThiriet by TDS RacingORECA/Nissan3m39.805s
21LMP2C.Cumming, L.Vanthoor, K.EstreOak RacingLigier/HPD3m40.058s
22LMP2K.Chandhok, M.Patterson, N.BerthonMurphy PrototypesORECA/Nissan3m40.690s
23LMP2G.Yacaman, L.Derani, R.GonzalezG-Drive RacingLigier/Nissan3m40.967s
24LMP2P.Ragues, O.Webb, Z.AmbergTeam SARD MorandMorgan/SARD3m41.250s
25LMP2L.Roussel, D.Cheng, H-Pin TungPegasus RacingMorgan/Nissan3m42.023s
26LMP2M.Mediani, D.Markozov, N.MinassianSMP RacingBR Engineering/Nissan3m42.077s
27LMP2N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.KaneStrakka RacingDome/Nissan3m42.237s
28LMP2M.Aleshin, K.Ladygin, A.LadyginSMP RacingBR Engineering/Nissan3m42.417s
29LMP2S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, D.HanssonExtreme Speed MotorsportsLigier/HPD3m42.453s
30LMP2E.Brown, J.van Overbeek, J.FogartyExtreme Speed MotorsportsLigier/HPD3m44.631s
31LMP2T.Krohn, N.Jonsson, J.BarbosaKrohn RacingLigier/Judd3m44.854s
32LMP2P.Perret, I.Bellarosa, J.IbanezIbanez RacingORECA/Nissan3m45.350s
33LMP2J.Nicolet, J-M.Merlin, E.MarisOak RacingLigier/HPD3m52.843s
34GTE ProF.Rees, A.MacDowall, R.StanawayAston Martin RacingAston Martin3m54.928s
35GTE ProG.Bruni, T.Vilander, G.FisichellaAF CorseFerrari3m55.025s
36GTE AmP.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.LaudaAston Martin RacingAston Martin3m55.102s
37GTE ProD.Turner, S.Mucke, R.BellAston Martin RacingAston Martin3m55.466s
38GTE ProD.Rigon, J.Calado, O.BerettaAF CorseFerrari3m55.582s
39GTE ProM.Sorensen, C.Nygaard, N.ThiimAston Martin RacingAston Martin3m55.783s
40GTE ProJ.Magnussen, A.Garcia, R.BriscoeCorvette RacingChevrolet3m55.963s
41GTE ProR.Lietz, M.Christensen, J.BergmeisterPorsche Team MantheyPorsche3m56.618s
42GTE AmF.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.AguasAF CorseFerrari3m56.723s
43GTE AmV.Shaitar, A.Bertolini, A.BasovSMP RacingFerrari3m56.877s
44GTE ProP.Pilet, F.Makowiecki, W.HenzlerPorsche Team MantheyPorsche3m56.922s
45GTE ProO.Gavin, T.Milner, J.TaylorCorvette RacingChevrolet3m57.081s
46GTE AmJ.Bleekemolen, B.Keating, M.MillerRiley Motorsports-Ti AutoSRT/Dodge3m57.836s
47GTE AmP.Dempsey, P.Long, M.SeefriedDempsey Racing – ProtonPorsche3m57.842s
48GTE AmC.Ried, K.Al Qubaisi, K.BachlerAbu Dhabi-Proton RacingPorsche3m58.259s
49GTE AmD.Cameron, M.Griffin, A.MortimerAF CorseFerrari3m58.433s
50GTE AmP.Mann, R.Giammaria, M.CressoniAF CorseFerrari3m58.695s
51GTE AmB.Sweedler, T.Bell, J.SegalScuderia CorsaFerrari3m58.946s
52GTE AmG.Roda, P.Ruberti, K.PoulsenLarbre CompetitionChevrolet3m59.522s
53GTE AmA.Al Faisal, K.Giermaziak, M.AvenattiJMW MotorsportFerrari3m59.612s
54GTE AmR.Goethe, S.Hall, F.CastellacciAston Martin RacingAston Martin4m01.146s
55GTE AmH.C.Chen, G.Vannelet, M.ParisyTeam AAIPorsche4m01.243s
56GTE AmJ.San Chen, A.Kapadia, X.MaassenTeam AAIPorsche4m01.270s

LM24: Porsche qualify 1-2-3, Stanaway tops GTE-Pro, Evans to start 4th in LMP2

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