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Porsche Penske Motorsport / Estre Snatch Pole in final seconds of Le Mans Hyperpole

(Photo: Roger Jenkins)

Kévin Estre, at the wheel of the #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport Porsche 963, took pole position for the 2024 24 Hours of Le Mans with a 3:24.634 on his final lap when it seemed that Cadillac Racing had locked out the front row.

Lining up alongside the #6 Porsche will be the #2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series R of Alex Lynn who put in a 3:24.782 on his final lap. Teammate Sebastien Bourdais had previously set provisional pole with a 3:24.816 before returning to the pit.

Pole position in the LMP2 class went to the #14 AO by TF ORECA driven by Louis Deletraz who lapped in 3:33.217 followed by the #28 IDEC Sport entry with Job Van Uitert at the wheel. Mathias Beche in the #65 Panis Racing entry completed the top three with a 3:34.053.

The LMGT3 category saw class pole go to the #70 Inception Racing McLaren 720S GT3 driven by Brendan Iribe with a 3:58.120 with the #92 Mathey PureRxcing Porsche piloted by Aliaksandr Malykhin second quickest with a 3:58.928. Completing the top three in class was the #66 JMW Motorsport Ferrari of Giacomo Petrobelli who lapped in 3:58.938.

The 30-minute Hyperpole session got away to a delayed start due to extensive barrier damage caused by an accident in the ‘Road to Le Mans’ race. Thankfully the driver escaped unhurt but the barrier damage required significant repair which went past the 8.00pm start time.

Instructions were given to the 23 cars to prepare to qualify at around 8.30pm with Race Director Eduardo Freitas keeping the pitlane fully informed.

The session went green at 8.35pm after which the #15 BMW M Hybrid V8 with Dries Vanthoor on board and shod with soft tyres pushed hard to heat the tyres and set the first flying lap time. The two Ferraris of Antonio Fuoco in the #50 car and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 Ferrari 499P were also pushing hard went to the top of the timing screens before Sebastien Bourdais in the #3 Cadillac set the session alight with a 3:24.816 to secure provisional pole.

With less than eight minutes remaining, Dries Vanthoor in the #15 BMW went off at Indianapolis bringing out the red flag. As a result of the red flag, all of Vanthoor’s times were disallowed and the #15 BMW was not allowed to rejoin the session. Bourdais, meanwhile, had pitted, knowing that the #3 Cadillac did not have sufficient fuel to rejoin the session.

(Photo: Roger Jenkins)

The session returned to green after five minutes and immediately the two Ferraris were working hard to get heat back into their tyres. Peir Guidi in the #51 car put in a 3:25.156 and looked to be about to join the #3 Cadillac on the front row. Alex Lynn, however, had other ideas and kept pushing to set a time which looked to lock out the front row for Cadillac. Lyn crossed the line with a 3:24.782 and set off jubilation in the Cadillac garage.

However, Kévin Estre had saved something for his final lap and crossed the line to secure pole for Porsche Penske Motorsport with a 3:24.634.

The two Ferraris qualified 3rd and 4th with the #35 Alpine of Paul-Loup Chatin in 6th. The #15 BMW will start from 7th on the Hypercar grid with the #12 Hertz Team Jota Porsche 963 starting in 8th. Hertz Team Jota announced that they have been given permission by the ACO to shake the #12 car down on the airfield on Friday evening.

There will be a final practice session on Thursday June the 13th for the 24 Hours of Le Mans grid with the race start at 4.00pm on Saturday June the 15th.