#7 Toyota tops first Le Mans qualifying despite late crash
The #7 Toyota piloted by Kamui Kobayashi has taken provisional pole position for the Le Mans 24 Hours after topping Wednesday night's qualifying session.
Kobayashi's best time of 3:17.161 was almost half a second better than the #17 SMP Racing machine driven by Egor Orudzhev.
However the quickest Toyota was later involved in a head-on crash with the #31 DragonSpeed LMP2 car as Roberto González spun and attempted to rejoin the track ahead of the #7 Toyota, with Mike Conway behind the wheel at the time, but mis-timed the manoeuvre, causing the pair to collide.
The Toyota sustained damage to the left-front, although it was light in comparison to the #31's damage, which was extensive and will require lengthy repairs.
There was then a big gap to third place, with the #3 Rebellion car a further two-seconds adrift, followed by the points leading #8 Toyota. Fernando Alonso put in their quickest time with just five minutes of the session left.
The Gulf-liveried #10 DragonSpeed machine was 6th – three seconds off Kobayashi's time – followed by the second Rebellion and SMP cars, with the #4 ByKolles bringing up the rear.
In the LMP2 class it was Pastor Maldonado who led the way in the DragonSpeed car which was later involved in the clash with the Toyota car. The ex-F1 driver posted a 3:26.804s time to pip Signatech's Nicolas Lapierre by 0.131s.
The #22 United Autosports car of Filipe Albuquerque was third in class followed by the #48 IDEC Sport car in fourth.
The GTE Pro class was topped by Ford's Harry Tincknell, but only just, with just 0.028s splitting him and the #93 Porsche 911 RSR of Nick Tandy.
The #99 Proton Porsche suffered a heavy impact during practice earlier in the day and did not appear on track.