The #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima secure Pole Position for the 86th running of the legendary Le Mans 24 hours.
Never looking likely to be beaten at the Circuit de la Sarthe, the big budget Toyota factory team performed a flawless performance to secure a dominant 1 - 2 result in qualification for the 2018 Le Mans 24 Hours this coming weekend.
New star driver, and former double Formula One World Championship winner Fernando Alonso ended up sharing the Pole Position car this evening, the Spanish star getting plenty of laps under his belt in wet and dark conditions as the team consolidated a strong start to the three part qualification sessions, eventually topping out the times thanks to a superb lap from Japanese ace Nakajima to put the most high profile car on the grid a solid two seconds clear of the sister #7 machine, driven by Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, José María López.
Behind the dominant Toyota team would be the #1 Rebellion Racing entry of former winners André Lotterer, Neel Jani and LMP2 World Champion Bruno Senna, the privately run Gibson powered R13 finishing the day just over four seconds shy of the fastest time.
Securing themselves a second row slot for the race on Saturday would be the #17 SMP Racing car of Matevos Isaakyan, Egor Orudzhev and Stéphane Sarrazin, the Russian concern out pacing the other Rebellion machine by just four tenths of a second, themselves just under a tenth away from the best of the privateer entries this weekend.
LMP2 would be a charged affair during most of the running today, eventually falling the way of the impressive IDEC Sport #48 Oreca of Paul Lafargue, Paul-Loup Chatin and Memo Rojas, the team taking fastest time by the closest of margins with just less than one tenth separating them from the Dragonspeed Oreca of Jazeman Jaafar, Nabil Jeffr and Weiron Tan in the #37 car. A further four tenths would cover the next four cars, headed by G-Drive Racing from TDS Racing, the struggling LMP1 Manor car and Panis Barthez Competition fifth in class.
Heading the chasing LMGTE Pro field would unsurprisingly be the mighty Porsche #91 of Richard Lietz - Gianmaria Bruni and Frédéric Makowiecki. With performance seemingly to spare over the GTE Pro field, this experienced team would wind up an impressive 1.6 seconds clear of the distinctive "Pink Pig" sister car of Michael Christensen, Kevin Estre and Laurens Vanthoor in the #92 machine, just under a tenth ahead of the first of the Ford contingent in third, Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson flying the flag for Chip Ganassi in the American run sportscar from the blue oval.
Over in LMGTE AM it would again be a Porsche benefit, with the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing 911 mixing it with the rear of the GTE Pro field, Matteo Cairoli, Khaled Al Qubaisi and Giorgio Roda taking the class pole by over half a second from the iconic liveried #86 Gulf Racing 911 of Ben Barker, Alex Davison and Michael Wainwright.
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Qualifying what you expected? Looking forward to the race? Any stand out performances, in your opinion? Let us know in the comments section below!