Hartley beats Kobayashi in dramatic pole duel

Toyota’s pair of GR010 Hybrids locked out the front row of the grid for the 90th running of the FIA ​​World Endurance Championship centrepiece, with Hartley taking top spot in the #8 machine he shares with Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa with a time of 3m24.408s .

That compares to a 3m23.900s with which Kamui Kobayashi took pole for last year’s race.

Kobayashi was aiming to secure a fifth pole in six years aboard the #7 Toyota, but came up 0.177s shy with his best lap of 3m24.585s.

Behind the Toyotas, Alpine’s grandfathered A480-Gibson LMP1 took third spot on the grid thanks to a 3m24.850s effort from Nicolas Lapierre, which proved good enough to beat the two Glickenhaus 007 LMHs.

Hartley led the way after the initial runs with a 3m25.213s, but with just a few minutes left in the 30-minute shootout that was surpassed by the 3m24.850s set by Alpine driver Lapierre.

Kobayashi then took the top spot back for Toyota with a 3m24.585s that was initially scratched for a track limits infringement, but reinstated before it was beaten by Hartley.

Glickenhaus driver Ryan Briscoe briefly occupied second place on a 3m25.841s at the wheel of the #709 car, but was demoted to fourth in the final reckoning ahead of Olivier Pla, who could only manage a 3m26.359s in the #708 example.

WRT, Corvette get class poles

Pole in the LMP2 class went to WRT, as Robin Frijns went more than a second clear of the opposition with a best time of 3m28.394s at the wheel of the #31 Oreca 07-Gibson he shares with Sean Gelael and Rene Rast.

Norman Nato made it a one-two for the Belgian team in the #42 Realteam by WRT-entered car with his best time of 3m29.697s ahead of Filipe Albuquerque in the best of the United Autosports machines, the #22 car.

Rounding out the Hyperpole order in LMP2 were the #38 JOTA car of Antonio Felix da Costa, Louis Deletraz in the sole Prema entry and Alex Lynn in the #23 United machine.

Corvette Racing secured a front-row lockout in GTE Pro, as Nick Tandy set the only sub-3m50s effort in the class at the wheel of the American brand’s #64 C8.R.

Tandy’s best of 3m49.985s compared to 3m50.177s set by Antonio Garcia in the sister #63 car and a 3m50.377s from the best of the works Porsche 911 RSR-19s in third place, the #91 example of Frederic Makowiecki.

Porsche swept the second row of the grid as Laurens Vanthoor took fourth place in the #92 because ahead of the two AF Corse-run Ferrari 488 GTE Evos, Antonio Fuoco leading James Calado.

Pole in GTE Am went to AF Corse Ferrari driver Vincent Abril by just under two tenths from Mikkel Jensen in the Kessel Racing example.

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