Fernando Alonso to make Le Mans debut from pole position

Toyota secures provisional pole at Le Mans			Image by Bloxham  LAT

Toyota secures provisional pole at Le Mans Image by Bloxham LAT

"I was pushing hard to try to beat [Kobayashi's] record, so maybe I could have done better in places".

Toyota swept to a one-two in qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Thursday with Fernando Alonso's No. 8 auto on pole position for the Spaniard's debut.

The first of the two scheduled two-hour qualifying sessions had been red-flagged after drizzle over certain parts of the Circuit de la Sarthe led to a spate of minor incidents. It had been expected much earlier, but it held off until the final hour of the extended session.

Thomas Laurent nearly made it a second-row lock-out for Rebellion, but had his best time deleted after failing to stop for the scrutineering light.

It also made it the fastest BR1 by 1.6s over the DragonSpeed entry that qualified sixth.

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Jenson Button's SMP Racing team will start from seventh on the grid.

The two Manor Ginettas were ninth and 10th fastest on best times at the end of the session before the #5 auto had its time removed for the same scrutineering infringement as the #3 Rebellion.

That's still half a second slower than Kamui Kobayashi's record time previous year.

The Japanese driver took provisional pole on Wednesday during the opening qualifying session, a time that wasn't beaten in Q2.

Paul-Loup Chatin claimed pole position in LMP2 for IDEC Sport after fellow Oreca entrant TDS Racing lost its best time for failing to stop at the scrutineering light.

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The #31 DragonSpeed Oreca was second-fastest in LMP2. He improved on his overnight time by a tenth to set a new record for the fastest-ever lap in the category at Le Mans. That time was briefly beaten by the #28 TDS Racing of Loic Duval, but unfortunately for the 2013 victor, it was deleted by the stewards, dropping Duval and co to 13th overall and fourth in class, behind #31 DragonSpeed and #26 G-Drive. Then a massive crash for Giorgio Sernagiotto heading into the first chicane in the #47 Cetilar-Vilorba Corse forced another stoppage.

Duval's 3m25.240s from first qualifying on Wednesday was good enough for fourth, while the top five was completed by Will Stevens in the best of the Ligiers entered by Panis-Barthez Competition, another auto running on Michelins.

Meanwhile Porsche took pole in the GTE-Pro category thanks to Gianmaria Bruni's Wednesday lap of 3:47.504s in the #91.

Alessandro Pier Guidi promoted the #51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo to fourth in the final session with a time of 3m49.494s, demoting the #68 Ford to fifth and denying the Blue Oval a lockout of the second row.

Completing the top 10 were the best of the Corvette C7.Rs, the #63 vehicle of Antonio Garcia, and the second AF Corse Ferrari, whose best time was set by Sam Bird.

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Porsche locked out the top three places in GTE Am, with Matteo Cairoli's lap from first qualifying in the #88 Dempsey-Proton vehicle proving enough for class pole. "I'm happy for him to put the vehicle on pole".

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