Photo: Roger Jenkins
Toyota Gazoo racing headed the time sheets with provisional pole position in the LMP1 category after the second of three qualifying sessions for the 2019 24 Hours of Le Mans. The #7 Toyota T050 Hybrid lapped in 3:15.497 while the sister car put in 3:15.908. Third quickest in the first of two sessions today was the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 which put in a 3:16.953.
Quickest of the LMP2 runners was the #31 DragonSpeed ORECA 07 with a 3:26.490 with the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA second quickest with a 3:26.821.
The LMGTE Pro category saw some frantic on-track action as the two-hour session drew to a close and it was the #92 Porsche GT Team Porsche 911 RSR that topped the time sheets with a 3:49.388 set by Michael Kristensen. Corvette Racing was second quickest with the #63 Chevrolet Corvette C7.R setting a 3:49.424. The top three in class were completed by the #67 Ford GT Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford GT which lapped in 3:49.530 in the hands of Harry Tincknell.
The LMGTE Am category was led by the #88 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR which put in a 3:52.454.
The session started under warm and dry conditions but running was quickly neutralised after the #3 Rebellion Racing Rebellion R13, with Thomas Laurent at the wheel, started leaking fluids before coming to a halt just after the Mulsanne Corner. With fluids on the circuit, the Race Director had no choice but to red-flag the session with a little over 90 minutes remaining.
Prior to the red flag, times, in the warmer conditions, had started to drop with Kamui Kobayashi lapping the #7 Toyota in 3:15.497, the sister #8 car putting in a 3:15.908 in the hands of Kazuki Nakajima and the #11 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 lapping in 3:16.953 with Mikhail Aleshin at the wheel.
With the #3 car to recover and fluids to clean up, Race Control announced that the session would recommence at 19:53.
There was some confusion as to whether the #99 Dempsey – Proton Porsche would be taking part in the session as a car had been prepared, as was suggested the previous evening, and the team were waiting for clearance. However, it was sadly announced at 19:53 that Tracy Krohn, who was involved in the accident involving the #99 car the previous day, had been advised to refrain from racing for one week. As a result, the #99 car was withdrawn from the event.
With 35 minutes of the session remaining, the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 was in the garage with an electrical issue, having completed 12 laps of the first evening qualifying session.
The #3 Rebellion, which caused the red flag earlier in the session, was returned to the garage where an engine change was promptly started.
With 23 minutes remaining, Ben Keating, at the wheel of the #85 Keating Motorsports Ford GT had an off-track excursion at Mulsanne Corner and put the #85 car into the gravel. A slow zone was introduced from the second chicane to past the Mulsanne Corner to allow for recovery.
The second session of the evening gets underway at 22:00 local time.