WEC: BMW fastest in Le Mans qualifying practice

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Dries Vanthoor went fastest in Qualifying Practice that determined the top eight runners who advanced to Thursday’s all-important Hyperpole sessions, which will decide the pole position winners for the 92nd running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, round four of the 2024 FIA World Endurance Championship season

Second-best was the #3 Cadillac Racing V-Series.R driven by hometown veteran hero Sebastien Bourdais who was just 0.177s off the Belgian’s pace-setting time.

Last year’s polesitter Antonio Fuoco was third with a 3:24.731s in the #50 Ferrari AF Corse 499P Hypercar.

Kamui Kobayashi was on a flying lap in the final minutes of the session when he went off on the exit of the Porsche Curves and spun into the gravel bringing out the red flags. The #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid was fourth in the session, but the Japanese had all his lap times cancelled for causing a red flag. As a result, fourth-fastest was the better of the two Alpines, the #35 A424 Hypercar driven by Paul Loup Chatin.

2023 Le Mans-winning #51 Ferrari 499P driven by Alessandro Pier Guid placed sixth, with the championship-leading #6 Porsche Penske 963 and the Spa-Francorchamps-winning #12 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche the last cars to make it through to the Hyperple session as the top eight runners were covered by just 0.5s.

Ben Barker in #77 Proton Competition Ford Mustang LMGT3 caused a major surprise by claiming the best time in LMGT3 as the British racer peaked on a 3:55.263s in the first appearance for the car at Circuit de La Sarthe.

Barker’s best was 0.143s clear of the Inception Racing McLaren driven by Frederik Schandorff. Third was the #82 TF Sport run Corvette as Daniel Juncadella completed the best lap of 3:56.105s.

The #37 Cool Racing Oreca-Gibson driven by young gun Malthe Jakobsen set the best lap time of 3:32.827s after a tight battle with AO by TF Sport entry. Louis Deletraz initially took the top spot in the crowd-pleasing ‘Spike’ Oreca, but Jakobsen’s best effort turned out to be 0.307s better as the red flag cut the session short. Ben Hanley rounded out the top three in the #23 United Autosports car.