Ferrari have locked out the front row for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, with Antonio Fuoco taking pole ahead of teammate Alessandro Pier Guidi in the hyperbole session.
Fuoco set a 3:22.982 to go quickest in the #50 Ferrari 499P, almost eight tenths quicker than Pier Guidi in the sister #51 car.
The two Italian cars were quicker right out of the box in Hyperpole, with Toyota unable to touch them. The two Japanese-German cars finished the 30-minute session third and fifth, with the #75 Porsche 963 of Felipe Nasr splitting the two in fourth.
Pier Guidi was initially quicker than Fuoco in the first quick laps set in the session, with a 3:23.897. The Toyotas were well over two seconds back, in a sign of things to come.
Fuoco then found time on his second lap, to go 0.008 slower than his teammate — but Pier Guidi still held the top spot. However, Fuoco’s third lap was the one, a 3:22.982 to take pole by a relative mile.
Hartley, in the #8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, was almost one and a half seconds off Fuoco, with Nasr just eight hundredths off the Kiwi.
Toyota and Porsche were both greatly inconvenienced by the #3 Cadillac V-Series.R catching fire on the Mulsanne straight with just six minutes left on the clock. The car was leaking fuel, and had had its fuel cell replaced earlier today amid issues for the car.
However, Sebastien Bourdais, at the wheel of the car, had set a time fast enough for third at time, a 3:24.908. Because the car caused a red flag, the lap has been deleted, putting the car down to eighth.
Nasr, meanwhile, had not set a lap at all in the #75 Porsche. He had just one lap to pull something out of the bag – and that he did, splitting the Toyotas and almost half a second faster than Kobyashi in fifth in the #7 Toyota GR010.
In sixth was Earl Bamber in the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R, with Fred Makowiecki seventjh in the #5 Porsche 963. Bourdais rounded out the eight Hyperpole cars in the stricken Cadillac.
In LMP2, IDEC Sport took pole, with Paul Loup Chatin prevailing in the #48 IDEC Sport Oreca 07-Gibson, with the Frenchman setting a 3:32.923.
Ben Hanley set the quickest initial lap, but Chatin came in with a faster lap, which he then improved to his eventual pole lap.
Hanley, behind the wheel of the #14 Nielsen Racing Oreca 07-Gibson, would get shuffled down to sixth in class as the faster laps came in.
Second in class was Pietro Fittipaldi in the #28 JOTA Oreca 07-Gibson, just over a tenth behind Chatin. He demoted Louis Deletraz, who’d taken second earlier, down to third, with the Swiss driver three tenths off Chatin inm the #41 WRT Oreca 07-Gibson.
Reshad De Gerus was fourth in the #47 COOL Racing Oreca 07-Gibson, with Mirko Bortolotti fifth in the #63 Prema Oreca 07-Gibson. Hanley was sixth, with Bent Viscaal seventh in the sister #9 Prema, while Gabriel Aubry was eighth in the #10 Vector Spoort Oreca 07-Gibson.
Finally, Ben Keating took GTE-Am pole in the #33 Corvette C8.R, over one and a half seconds ahead of Ahmad Al Harthy in the #25 ORT by TF Aston Martin Vantage AMR. Third was Thomas Flohr in the #54 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
Keating was on top for the entirety of the session, improving his lap time twice as he got bedded in with the car, setting his final lap after the red flash caused by Bourdais’ smoking Cadillac. Al Harthy was initially within touch of the American, but Keating’s final lap put pole firmly out of reach.