Kobayashi sets lap record for LM24 pole
16 June 2017 – Kamui Kobayashi set a new qualifying lap record at the Circuit de la Sarthe as Toyota Gazoo Racing locked out the front row of the grid for this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans.
Ex-F1 driver Kobayashi produced a rapid time of 3:14.791 in Thursday evening's second qualifying session, smashing the old record of 3:16.887, set by Porsche's Neel Jani in 2015.
Kobayashi and his #7 team-mates, Mike Conway and Stéphane Sarrazin, will thus start from pole, with the #8 car of Kazuki Nakajima, Sébastien Buemi and Anthony Davidson in second (3:17.128).
"A big thanks to the team for this result," commented Kobayashi.
"I got in the car with 100 per cent confidence and when you are confident, you are quick.
"It was an amazing lap and the car was brilliant. It was the right moment, just after the red flag with no traffic."
He added: "I am really proud of this pole position, [but] it is a 24-hour race, so the important thing is the race result and that is what we are focusing on."
Behind, the #1 (André Lotterer, Neel Jani and Nick Tandy) and #2 (Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley) Porsche entries will form the second row.
Porsche's #2 car finished the day's running prematurely, after pulling off the track as a precaution due to increased engine temperatures.
Further back, G-Drive Racing's #26 car (Roman Rusinov, Pierre Thiriet and Alex Lynn) led the LMP2 class, just a couple of tenths away from the nearest LMP1 entry.
Aston Martin took GTE Pro pole with the #97 car of Darren Turner, Jonathan Adam and Daniel Serra, as Chevrolet's #50 (Romain Brandela, Christian Philippon and Fernando Rees) grabbed GTE Am pole.