Toyota looks closer than ever to its first ever Le Mans win and the second ever for a Japanese car. The TS040 Hybrid #7 driven by Alexander WURZ, Stéphane SARRAZIN and Kazuki NAKAJIMA set the pole position with a time of 3:21.789, a new record for the Circuit de La Sarthe in its current configuration.
But the returning Porsche Team also looked strong during the qualifying practice. Car #14 driven by Romain DUMAS, Neel JANI and Marc LIEB fell just 3 tenths of a second short of the pole position time. The car will start in second position and can be a real threat for the #7 Toyota.
The number 8 Toyota TS040 driven by Anthony DAVIDSON, Nicolas LAPIERRE, Sébastien BUEMI and the number 20 Porsche 919H driven by Timo BERNHARD, Mark WEBBER, Brendon HARTLEY occupy respectively the third and fourth grid positions.
Surprisingly, the more experienced Audi team looked a bit slower than its main rivals. But we all know that raw speed isn't enough to win a 24 Hours race. But consistency and reliability can be the key. So Audi's mature package might have an advantage compared to Porsche and Toyota's sophisticated new hybrid race cars.
Le Mans legend Tom Kristensen's #1 Audi R18 TDI E-Tron Quattro will start from seventh position after being totally rebuilt following Loic Duval's crash. The latter will not take part in Saturday's race and was replaced by Marc Gené.
Swiss REBELLION racing team showed real improvements during qualifying and their times finally fell above 3 minutes 30 seconds. However, the red Toyota R-One was still at least 4 seconds slower than the closest LMP1 competitor.
Full qualifying results can be found here.
You can also check out this cool infographic summarizing some of the most important figures of the legendary 24 Hours Race.