Toyota Gazoo Racing once again topped the overall standings during qualifying at the 24 Hours of Le Mans amidst a heated battle for Hyperpole qualification in the LMP2 and LMGTE Pro categories.
The pit lane was crowded with cars and crew members as contestants from both factory teams and privateer efforts swarmed the legendary circuit to try and set in a lap during qualifying.
Cars from the Hypercar category were initially stuck behind the LMP2 cars, especially the no.8 Toyota Gazoo Racing car, with the fastest category of the cars at Le Mans waited patiently to set a good lap.
With not even 10 minutes completed, a full course yellow was implemented as the no.48 IDEC Sport LMP2 car went off into the barrier at Tertre Rouge, thus taking out what was at the time, the third fastest LMP2 car from Hyperpole contention.
Teams took advantage of the full course yellow to fit their cars with a new set of tires before it was lifted with 45 minutes left for the top six from each category was to be finalized for Hyperpole.
The no.98 Aston Martin from LMGTE Am went off into the gravel, bringing out the yellow flag and once again slowing down drivers attempting to qualify for the Hyperpole shootout.
Once again, the LMGTE Pro competition boiled down to a showdown between Porsche GT and AF Corse, as lap times were being deleted often, from Hypercar to LMGTE Am.
LMP2 once again proved to be a competitive battleground as the top 10 were only separated by a gap of approximately a second as the largest category in terms of capacity had a constant change in category leaders.
The no.85 Iron Lynx went off into the gravel, triggering yet another yellow flag and subsequent slow zones, with less than 15 minutes to go. GTE Pro had another mix-up as the Corvettes seemed to miss the Hyperpole mark.
There were complaints from LMP2 contestants directed towards the GTE cars as frustrated LMP2 drivers criticized the GTE drivers for holding up the rest while the latter were engaging in their battles.
In the end, Toyota extended their dominance in the Hypercar category, with the no.38 Jota topping LMP2 and AF Corse sweeping with a 1-2 in GTE Pro to get their cars into Hyperpole contention.
The fastest times from each category of the 24 Hours of Le Mans qualifying:
|Hypercar||Toyota Gazoo Racing||No.7||3:26:279|
|LMGTE Pro||AF Corse||No.52||3:46:011|
|LMGTE Am||Dempsey-Proton Racing||No.88||3:48:620|