• Tim Fullbrook

Le Mans Qualifying: #7 Toyota heads overall as red-flag and rain disrupt session

Toyota bookend the Hypercar class as the top six selected for Hyperpole

The knock-out Qualifying session for the 2022 24H Le Mans saw the #7 Toyota top the timesheets with a 3:27.247. Kamui Kobayashi set the fastest time of the weekend so far before a red flag for Michael Fassbender's Daytona Chicane crash in the #93 Proton Competition Porsche, and a significant shower once green flag running was resumed, saw the time go unchallenged for the remainder of the session.

Glickenhaus would complete the top three, #708 leading #709 with the former a mere 0.108s slower than the leading GR010.

Due to the top six in each class making the cut for Hyperpole, all five of the Hypercar entries are automatically through.difficult session for the #8 Toyota, which saw the car run through the gravel at Mulsanne and then required to limp around in the damp conditions to at least set a legal lap time.

Team WRT set the pace in the hotly contested LMP2 category as Robin Frijns lit up the timing screens inside the first quarter of the session with a 3:29.898 lap.

Closely followed by the #38 JOTA of Antonio Felix da Costa, and the #41 RealTeam By WRT car of Norman Nato who puts the only car from the LMP2 PRO-AM sub-class into Hyperpole. Two United LMP2s qualified for Hyperpole, #23 and #22 in fourth and fifth respectively, with the debuting #9 PREMA Orlen Team taking up the final spot in P6.

Pole-sitters for the first two races in the WEC season, the #83 AF Corse ORECA 07, were unable to make it through to the Hyperpole session. Nicklas Nielsen's best time of 3:36.548 was some 6.650s slower than Frijns, and so the team will start in P22 on Saturday.

Porsche look set for Corvette challenge as Iron Dames make Hyperpole

The #92 Porsche set the pace in the GTE PRO category in the hands of Laurens Vanthoor, as the German marque look to set for a close fight with the two Corvette C8.Rs.

Vanthoor set his 3:50.999 lap prior to the red flag and subsequent rain-shower, knocking Antonio Garcia's #63 from the top of the class.

The sister #91 Porsche and the #64 Corvette Racing completed the top four which was separated by less than half a second.

Reigning class victors, the #51 AF Corse Ferrari would be the fastest of the two 488s in the PRO class. Daniel Serra claiming P5 just over a tenth faster than Miguel Molina in the #52. The Italian team look to have closed the pace deficit to their GTE PRO rivals over a single lap.

Riley Motorsport would be the only car unable to qualify for Hyperpole, Felipe Fraga's 3:54.116 laptime was some 3.117s slower than the #92 Porsche.

Nicki Thiim would set the fastest time in GTE AM and send the #98 NorthWest AMR Aston Martin Vantage through to Hyperpole in convincing fashion.

The 2014 GTE AM class winner set a 3:52.559 early on in the session with a near-second margin over the #57 Kessel Racing Ferrari of Mikkel Jensen.

Le Mans debutant Nick Cassidy sent the #54 AF Corse Ferrari through to Hyperpole in P3, ahead of a jubilant Iron Dames squad who will be set for their best Le Mans grid position thanks to Rahel Frey's 3:54.081.

Harry Tincknell managed to drag the only Porsche 911 RSR-19 into GTE AM Hyperpole, the two-time class winner setting a 3:54.224, some 1.6s slower than Thiim's benchmark in P5 with Vincent Abril claiming the last spot in category in the #61 AF Corse Ferrari.

Michael Fassbender would suffer a major hit into the barrier moments before the halfway point of the session. The debutant dropping #93 Proton Competition Porsche under the brakes for the newly-named Le Mans chicane and putting the car out of the session with heavy front-end damage. The team will line up in P21 on Saturday.

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