Toyota back on top in FP2 after qualifying disaster

Sebastien Buemi went quickest in the two-hour FP2 night session on Wednesday in the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar with a time half a second up on his nearest rival.

He emulated team-mate Brendon Hartley, who topped the times in FP1 in #8 before both cars ended up outside the top eight fastest cars in first qualifying for the double-points round of the World Endurance Championship.

Kamui Kobayashi had been fourth at the end of the one-hour timed session early in the evening, but lost all his times when he went off at Virage Corvette (formerly known as Virage Karting) and caused a session-stopping red flag.

Buemi posted a 3m27.474s on his fourth lap in FP2, which compared with the 3m27.998s set by Robert Kubica in the AF Corse-run customer Ferrari 499P LMH.

Laurens Vanthoor was less than a tenth in arrears in third place courtesy of a 3m28.065s in the #6 factory Porsche 963 LMDh.

Callum Ilott jumped to fourth in the best of Jota customer Porsches with just over half an hour of the session remaining.

The Briton, following up on a performance that won him the final place in Hyperpole for the fastest eight cars in each class, demoted Sebastien Bourdais in the #3 Cadillac V-Series.R LMDh with a 3m28.352s.

Ilott subsequently went off at exit in the Esses, hitting the barriers and precipitating a red flag with little more than a minute of the session left.

Alpine and Cadillac battled over the minor top six placings through the session.

Ferdinand Habsburg was initially fourth in the French manufacturer’s #35 A424 LMDh before Sebastien Bourdais improved on team-mate Scott Dixon’s time with a 3m28.485s to move ahead.

In the closing minutes of the session Nicolas Lapierre got down to a 3m28.458s in the sister car to move Alpine back ahead and seal fifth position. 

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-SeriesR: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Alex Palou

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-SeriesR: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Alex Palou

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Bourdais ended up as the meat in an Alpine sandwich between Lapierre and Habsburg.

Habsburg’s 3m28.644s stood as the seventh fastest time of the session just ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 factory Ferrari on 3m28.853s

The second Toyota took ninth in the hands of Nyck de Vries while the second full-season WEC entry from the Porsche Penske Motorsport team rounded out the top 10 in Matt Campbell’s hands.

The WRT-run BMW M Hybrid V8 in which Dries Vanthoor went fastest in first qualifying ended up 13th in Marco Wittmann’s hands, while the top Peugeot 9X8 2024 LMH ended up 18th with Paul di Resta at the wheel.

Lamborghini took 20th with the best of its Iron Lynx-run SC63s LMDh in which Mirko Bortolotti set the time.

Malthe Jakobsen again led the way in LMP2 after taking top spot in the opening qualifying session in his Cool Racing ORECA-Gibson 07.

The Dane’s 3m35.386s pushed United Autosports driver Oliver Jarvis, who led the times initially with a 3m36.551s, down to second by a margin of over a second.

Scott Huffaker was third for the TDS-run Panis Racing.

#88 Proton Competition Ford Mustang LMGT3: Giorgio Roda, Mikkel Pedersen, Dennis Olsen

#88 Proton Competition Ford Mustang LMGT3: Giorgio Roda, Mikkel Pedersen, Dennis Olsen

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

The Proton Competition Ford squad again topped the times in the new-for-2024 LMGT3 class after Ben Barker had led the way in the hour of qualifying.

Dennis Olsen ended up fastest in the German team’s #88 Ford Mustang GT3 with a time of 3m58.689s, which was just three hundredths up on Marco Sorensen’s 3m58.716s in the D’station Aston Martin Vantage GT3.

Maxime Martin was bumped down to third after going fastest at the start of the session in the best of WRT’s BMW M4 GT3s.

FP3 starts at 15:00 local time on Thursday with the half-hour Hyperpole session beginning at 20:00.

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