The new-for-2020 Hyperpole shootout gave the fastest six cars in each class in Thursday’s first qualifying session a chance to fight for pole in a condensed 30-minute session on Friday morning.
In the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid Kamui Kobayashi clocked a first flying lap of 3m15.920s, comfortably quicker than teammate Kazuki Nakajima’s 3m17.424s.
Rebellion returned fire by virtue of a stellar 3m15.822s from Gustavo Menezes in the #1 Rebellion R-13, the fastest ever lap around the Circuit de la Sarthe for a privateer and a non-hybrid car.
That prompted Kobayashi to respond with an even quicker lap aboard the #7, posting a 3m15.267s on his next attempt. Nakajima too went quicker on his second attempt, but stayed third with a 3m16.649s, ahead of the second Rebellion of Louis Deletraz.
The Japanese driver look set to take another six tenths out of his time the following lap, but he aborted the lap because of a track limits transgression – denying him the chance to beat his own lap record from three years ago.
Tom Dillmann’s #4 ByKolles machine brought up the rear of the five-car LMP1 field, the ENSO CLM P1/01 barely ahead of the LMP2 runners.
In LMP2 Paul di Resta put the #22 United Autosports Oreca on top early on with a 3m24.528s, a new all-time record for the class, followed by Jean-Eric Vergne in…