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Alonso on provisional pole at Le Mans

NEWS STORY
14/06/2018

Kazuki Nakajima claimed provisional pole for Toyota at Le Mans on Wednesday, out-pacing the team's sister car by just 0.107s - ironically the gap that covered the four leading drivers in FP3 in Canada at the weekend.

With the rules dictating that all drivers must complete 5 laps at night before being allowed to participate in this weekend's race, Fernando Alonso headed out at one the busiest periods.

With only one team contesting the top LMP1 class in the wake of Porsche's withdrawal, this weekend's race is Toyota's to lose as it seeks to become only the second ever Japanese manufacturer to win the French classic.

Alonso's best time was 3:20.991, while Kamui Kobayashi's 3:17.377 was good enough for second, ahead of Stephane Sarrazin's SMP Racing BR1 (3:19.483) and Bruno Senna's Rebellion R13 (3:19.662).

Jenson Button, who like Alonso is making his Le Mans debut, posted 3:21.408 in the second SMP Racing BR1 to claim provisional seventh.

There are two further sessions today (Thursday), but with rain forecast it could well be that Wednesday's times stand.

Along with Alonso, Buemi, Nakajima, Kobayashi and Button, other former F1 drivers participating this weekend include Juan Pablo Montoya, Jean-Eric Vergne, Felipe Nasr and Pastor Maldonado.

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1. Posted by NS Biker, 14/06/2018 19:44

"Not sure "Pole" really means all that much.
From what I recall, Stirling Moss used to practice the run across the track and hop into the car start procedure and always wanted to be the first on track to get the benefit of no traffic for the first few laps.
He never won the race.
Jacky Ickx would walk across the track and typically be one of the last away.
He won the race 5 times.
If I am mistaken, I am sure there is a correction out there. Regardless, Ickx was extremely successful at this race and Moss ....."

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2. Posted by Rock Doc, 14/06/2018 16:59

"Well it's not like Toyota are going to not win anyway. The rules are such that no one else is really allowed to win.

Toyota is the only team in the LMP1 hybrid class. The other non-hybrid LMP1 cars, have some serious handicaps as laid out in the rules.

- Non-hybrids not allowed to lap faster the Toyota's, if they do they are called in to the pits for a drive-through penalty.
- Hybrids can do 11 laps between fuel stops and non-hybrids only 10 laps
- Hybrids have a minimum pit-stop time five seconds shorter than the non-hybrids.

I know this is a very challenging race and anything can happen, but based on these kind of rules it does kind of diminishes the worth of this years Le Mans. It would be like Ferrari, Mercedes and Red Bull all quitting F1 and then Renault claiming the title. Doesn't have much merit does it."

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3. Posted by nonickname, 14/06/2018 15:27

"Alonso's best time was 3:20.991, while Kamui Kobayashi's 3:17.377 was good enough for second
I am confused??"

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