Toyota bags pole at Le Mans

Posted by Girish Karkera at 02:38 am on Monday June 16, 2014

 

In a year being heralded more as the year Porsche makes a return to the world's greatest race - 24 hours of Le Mans - Toyota could just play spoilsport. Japanese driver Kazuki Nakajima clocked a lap time of 3m 21.789s at the historic Circuit de Le Mans in the No.7 Toyota TS 040 Hybrid ahead of the No.14 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Neel Jani of Switzerland.

Former F1 driver Mark Webber, who makes his high profile return to endurance racing, will see his Porsche No.20 start from third position.

Reigning champions Audi has its work cut out for the gruelling race with its trio lines up 5 to 7, in reverse order with car no.3 being the fastest. After the massive shunt of Loic Duval in car no.1 during qualifying, its engineers did a remarkable job of rebuilding the R18 e-tron Quattro from scratch and in time for final qualifying.

Going into tomorrow's race, while the Toyota looks to be quickest, Porsche says it has a stronger car which would matter considering the massive race time. Of course, Audi isn't new to the situation of starting with the disadvantage but definitely in the wake of stronger rivals this year, it will be an even more uphill task to retain its winning streak here.

Meanwhile Karun Chandhok will start the legendary race in overall 15th position. The Indian is driving a 03R Nissan for the Murphy Prototypes team in the LMP2 category was sixth fastest in his class and is in with a chance of a top 3 finish there.

Unlike last year, there is no sign of any rain this year which should allow all cars to be driven at the their absolute limit. The race starts tonight at 6.30pm.

Final qualifying times
1. Kazuki Nakajima (Toyota)
2. Neel Jani (Porsche)
3. Sebastien Buemi (Toyota)
4. Brendan Hartley (Porsche)
5. Marco Bonanomi (Audi)
6. Andre Loterrer (Audi)
7. Luca do Grass I (Audi)
8. Mathias Beche (Rebellion)
9. Dominik Kraihamer (Rebellion)

TAGS// le mans

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