For the first time in the history of the Le Mans 24 Hours, a hybrid car will start from pole position, after Andre Lotterer set the best performance in the last qualifying session aboard his Audi R18 e-tron.
After he set the quickest lap in the first qualifying session on Wednesday evening, Lotterer was beaten by his team mate Loic Duval in his Audi R18 Ultra Diesel during the second qualifying on Thursday afternoon.
Howver, Lotterer drove a better lap during the third and last qualifying session, a lap so good that it was almost two seconds faster than Duval.
No one was able to match Lotterer’s brilliant performance, but Toyota put a strong effort during the last minutes, with Anthony Davidson setting the second best performance of the session, before the he was slowed down in traffic during his last hot lap.
In the three sessions’ overall classification, Audi put two cars on the front row of the grid with the R18 e-tron hybrid driven by Lotterer, Fassler and Treluyer leading the Gene, Dumas and Duval in their R18 Ultra diesel.
The Toyota TS030 hybrid driven by Davidson, Buemi and Sarrazin, who crashed during Wednesday afternoon’s free practice session, will start from third position ahead of the second R18 e-tron of Kristensen, Capello and McNish. The second Toyota driven by Wurz, Lapierre and Nakajima will start from fifth place ahead of the second R18 Ultra diesel of Jarvis, Bonanomi and Rockenfeller.
The best LMP1 petrol car was the Strakka Racing’s HPD ARX-Honda, which maintained his advantage over the two Lola Rebellion-Toyota. The Dome-Judd ran by team Pescarolo set the 10th best performance overall, but was serioulsy damaged after a crash on Thursday night with Seiji Ara.
In LMP2 class, the quickest car was the ADR’s ORECA-Nissan of Martin, Charouz and Graves. The DeltaWing Nissan set the 29th best performance overall, in the middle of the LMP2 field.
In GTE Pro, after the works Aston Martin Vantage dominated the first practice sessions, it was eventually the Luxury Racing’s Ferrari F458 that set pole position with Makowiecki, Melo and Farnbacher.
Finally, Porsche took the advantage in the GTE Am class, with the best performance set by Pilet, Pumpelly and Neiman’s 997 GT3 RS ran by team Flying Lizard.
Starting grid of the 80th 24 Hours of Le Mans:
1. Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer (Audi R18 e-tron) – Audi Joest - 3'23"787 (1st LMP1)
2. Gene/Dumas/Duval (Audi R18 Ultra) – Audi Joest - 3'24"078
3. Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin (Toyota TS 030 Hybrid) – Toyota - 3'24"842
4. McNish/Capello/Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron) – Audi Joest - 3'25"433
5. Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima (Toyota TS 030 Hybrid) – Toyota - 3'25"488
6. Jarvis/Bonanomi/Rockenfeller (Audi R18 Ultra) – Audi North America - 3'26"420
7. Leventis/Watts/Kane (HPD ARX-Honda) – Strakka - 3'29"622
8. Prost/Jani/Heidfield (Lola B12/60-Toyota) – Rebellion - 3'29"837
9. Belicchi/Primat/Bleekemolen (Lola B12/60-Toyota) – Rebellion - 3'31"866
10. Minassian/Ara/Bourdais (Dome-Judd) – Pescarolo - 3'33"066
14. Martin/Charouz/Graves (Oreca-Nissan) – ADR - 3'38"181 (1st LMP2)
29. Franchitti/Krumm/Motoyama (DeltaWing-Nissan) – Highcroft - 3'42"612 (1st NT)*
34. Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher (Ferrari 458) – Luxury - 3'55"393 (1st GTE Pro)
39. Neiman/Pilet/Pumpelly (Porsche 997) – Flying Lizard - 3'57"606 (1st GTE Am)
(56 cars in total)
* New Technology (won't be officially classified)