Kobayashi secures historic Le Mans Hypercar pole for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing, partnered by Acronis, will start the 89th Le Mans 24 Hours from pole position after Kamui Kobayashi lapped quickest at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

In clocking a quickest lap of 3mins 23.900secs in the Hypercar session in the #7 GR010 HYBRID, the Japanese driver netted his fourth pole position for the team at Le Mans and fifth overall, Brendon Hartley just 0.295secs away in the sister #8 GR010 HYBRID. It means that TOYOTA GAZOO Racing lock out the front row for the fifth consecutive year at Le Mans.

“To get the first Hypercar pole position is great,” commented Kobayashi afterward. “We came here with our new GR010 HYBRID for the first time and we have been constantly making adjustments to improve it. The team did a fantastic job to prepare a car which can achieve that lap time. I could have gone even quicker but I had a track limits penalty which was a pity.

“To be fastest on one lap isn’t enough; we have focused on preparing our car to be successful in the race. We’ve had a few pole positions here on our car over the last years and not won the race so we know this is no guarantee. The 24 hours are long and we always need a bit of luck.”

Despite yet another front row lock out, things were far from easy in the build-up to the Hyperpole session, Kazuki Nakajima hitting the tyre wall at Indianapolis left hander and damaging the rear bodywork thus forcing the #8 car to miss the remainder of the session.

“First of all it felt amazing to drive the GR010 HYBRID with low-fuel, new tyres and the sun going down into the night,” commented Brendon Hartley. “The car felt great, and a big compliment to the team for preparing it so well after Kazuki’s small moment in practice. Congratulations to Kamui who did a fantastic lap. I’m kind of kicking myself because on my fastest lap I made a mistake.

“I shifted two gears at once up to seventh and lost a bit of time. We definitely had a chance to get pole because the cars were very equal. On my second lap I had traffic when I was going quickly so we had the ingredients to do it. There is a little bit of disappointment but still I am pleased to be on the front row and happy for car #7.”

The 89th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour begins at 4pm CEST on Saturday.


Acronis are proud to be the official Cyber Protection Partner of the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team. To find out more, please visit https://www.acronis.com/en-us/lp/msp-sports/

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