Toyota GAZOO Racing achieved his fourth pole position in the 24 Hours of Le Mans and took the first row of the grill after qualifying for the second race of the World Endurance Championship, which concluded at midnight on Thursday at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
The Toyota TS050 HYBRID No. 8 they share japanese Kazuki Nakajima, the Swiss Sébastien Buemi and Spanish Fernando Alonso will start from the first place followed by the Toyota TS050 HYBRID No. 7 in which they will alternate English Mike conwaythe Japanese Kamui Kobayashi and the Argentine Jose Maria Lopez.
The qualifying result at Le Mans, the best possible for Toyota, allows the Japanese brand to add an extra point for the Constructors' World Championship, although the team's focus during all tests at La Sarthe has been to achieve consistent performance. of his two prototypes to try to achieve victory in the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time in his twentieth attempt.
Grid positions are decided by the fastest lap of any of the three two-hour qualifying sessions, one on Wednesday and two on Thursday, but there was no opportunity to improve on Wednesday's times during the second session, in the afternoon. Thursday, as two red flags only allowed real action on the track for a very short time interval and the session ended 24 minutes earlier than planned as a result of an LMP2 accident.
However, the third session was different, with both TS050 HYBRIDs immediately racing to battle for pole position. A clean lap from Nakajima allowed the No. 050 TS8 HYBRID to improve its time from Wednesday's provisional pole position, pushing its rivals a bit further and setting a new track record at its new configuration of 13,626 km, in use for the first time. time this year.
With up 60 cars on track, traffic is always a determining factor in qualifying and this was the case with the TS050 HYRBRID No. 7, which was unable to improve its time on Wednesday. For the remainder of the session, both Toyota prototypes and their drivers focused on the preparations for the race and were even able to drive in the wet at the end as it started to rain at 22.30.
That provided important data before the race, but meant that the fight for grid positions was over well before midnight. In addition, it allowed Alonso to continue his learning behind the wheel of his new car, driving with two factors that can be very relevant in the race: the darkness of the night and the water on the track if it rains at some point during the 24 hours.