In 2020, the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans marathon will be held for the 88th time, but in very unusual circumstances – for the first time in the history of these competitions, they will be held in empty stands. Due to the pandemic, the race had to be postponed from June to the second half of September, and today the results of the qualification, which also took place in a somewhat unusual format, became known.
The day before, the first qualification took place, in which, as expected, the factory Toyota team dominated, and on Friday afternoon the so-called Hyperpole was held – the final qualifying session, in which six cars of all four classes were allowed to participate – LMP1, LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am.
However, in the LMP1 category, it was practically pointless to qualify – we need to start with the fact that only five sports prototypes compete in this class. Thus, they all automatically went to the final.
The best time in Hyperpole was shown by Kamui Kobayashi, Toyota # 7, with the best lap in 3: 15.267 and ahead of the independent Rebellion team driver Gustavo Menezes (car # 1). Thus, the trio of Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose-Maria Lopez will start from pole for the second year in a row at Le Mans. By the way, it is the Japanese rider who holds the Le Mans lap record set in 2017.
However, Menezes, who is in the same carriage with Norman Nato and Bruno Senna, managed to drive an impressive lap and outrun the second Toyota TS050 Hybrid (# 8), in which Kazuki Nakajima, Sebastien Buemi and Brandon Hartley will start tomorrow’s race from third position.
The second Rebellion car (No. 3) starts from the fourth position, piloted by Louis Deletraz, Nathanael Burton and Roman Dumas. The fifth result was shown by Tom Dilmann, who competes on the sports prototype of the ByKolles Racing team.
In the LMP2 class, Paul di Resta showed the best time today in the car of the Zach Brown United Autosports team – by the way, a former Formula 1 racer, and now an expert and commentator of the British TV channel Sky Sports, set a new track record for cars in this category – 3: 24.528. In the final of qualification, the Scotsman was three-tenths ahead of Jean-Eric Verne, who plays for the Russian team G-Drive.
The best time in the GTE-Pro class belongs to Porsche GT Team driver Gianmaria Bruni – his crew (Bruni / Richard Litz / Frederic Makovecki) drives a Porsche 911 RSR-19.
In the most numerous GTE-Am category, Comé Ledogar was the fastest lap in the qualifying final in a Luzich Racing Ferrari 488 GTE EVO.
On Saturday, the participants of the 24 Hours of Le Mans will start the race at 14.30 local time.