The Toyota Gazoo Racing team has managed to lock Porsche out of the front row of qualifying for the 2017 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Toyota ace Kamui Kobayashi set a lap time of 3:14.791 in the second round of qualifying that could not be overcome by any of his LMP1 competitors in the final session.
Not only was the lap a new record at the Circuit de la Sarthe, it was a full 2.3 seconds ahead of teammate Sebastien Buemi in the sister No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid.
Porsche could manage only third with the No. 1 919 Hybrid in the hands of Neel Jani. Their fastest lap time was also set during the day’s earlier qualifying session.
Fourth in qualifying went to the other Porsche LMP1 entry, relegating the third Toyota car to fifth on the grid. Filling out the all-Michelin shod LMP1 class is the No. 4 Nissan-powered ByKolles car, the only privateer entry in the class.
In LMP2, the No. 26 G-Drive racing car took pole position with Alex Lynn and the helm, and took a new lap record for that class along the way.
GTE-Pro provided the closest battle during qualifying, with all 13 cars in the class being covered by less than two seconds. Darren Turner scored P1 in class for Aston Martin Racing with a time of 3:50.837, just ahead of the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of James Calado.
Third and Fourth were also Aston-Ferrari with Richie Stanaway in the No. 95 Aston P3 and the No. 71 Ferrari of Sam Bird P4.
IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship driver Ryan Briscoe was fifth in class in the No. 69 Ford Chip Ganassi Racing Ford GT, ahead of their American rivals Corvette Racing’s Antonio Garcia in sixth.
The remaining Ford GTs in class were eighth for the No. 66, ninth for the No. 67 and 12th for No. 68. The second Corvette machine was P10.
Porsche qualified seventh and 13th in their pair of GTE-Pro 911 RSRs, and the No. 82 Risi Competizione Ferrari qualified 11th.
Though they got the GTE-Pro pole, Aston Martin Racing was denied first place in the GTE-Am category, with Fernando Rees just beating them to the fastest time No. 50 Labre Competition Chevrolet Corvette C7-Z06.
The all-American No. 62 Ferrari with IMSA regulars Townsend Bell, Bill Sweedler and Cooper MacNeil rounded out the top-three in class.