Toyota edges Ferrari in final night practice

Sportem
Sportem
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Hartley clocked a best time of 3m29.451s in his #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar after 20 minutes of the hour-long session, and remained at the head of the leaderboard as rain began to fall at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

The three-time Le Mans winner, sharing the car that will start 11th with Ryo Hirakawa and Sebastien Buemi, was challenged hardest by Molina in the factory #50 Ferrari 499P LMH but the Spaniard fell fractionally short with his best effort at the session’s mid-way point.

It means the #8 Toyota topped three of the four practice sessions prior to Saturday morning’s warm-up, with Buemi also clocking the fastest time in Wednesday’s night practice after Hartley paced FP1.

Molina did however depose the #20 WRT-run BMW M Hybrid V8 of Sheldon van der Linde, who clocked in 0.109s behind Hartley.

Mikkel Jensen led the charge for Peugeot, setting the fourth-fastest time in his 9X8 LMH, while Dries Vanthoor rebounded from his Hyperpole crash to make it two BMWs inside the top five in his #15 WRT example.

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: Alexander Trienitz

Charles Milesi was sixth-quickest in the best of the Alpine A424 LMDhs, 0.294s off the pace, slotting in ahead of Pipo Derani’s Action Express Racing Cadillac V-Series.R LMDh and fellow IMSA SportsCar Championship protagonist Mathieu Jaminet in the guesting #4 Porsche Penske Motorsport 963 LMDh.

Nicolas Lapierre in the second Alpine and Hypercar returnee Jose Maria Lopez in the #7 Toyota completed the top 10, the Japanese car subsequently making two visits to the run-off area in the hands of Nyck de Vries.

The #6 PPM 963 that snatched a dramatic last-gasp pole position in Kevin Estre’s hands during the Hyperpole session didn’t set a representative time in its five tours of the circuit to end up at the foot of the Hypercar leaderboard in 21st.

The LMP2 times were headed by the #23 United Autosports ORECA-Gibson 07 of Ben Hanley, who clocked a best lap of 3m37.121s in the opening minutes of the session. 

The Briton’s machine, entered in the pro-am sub-category, edged out the identical Nielsen Racing entry of 2023 Le Mans class winner Fabio Scherer by 0.295s, as IndyCar stand-in Nolan Siegel took third in the second United ORECA.

After Louis Deletraz stormed to the top spot in Hyperpole, the pro-am AO by TF entry devoted night running to its bronze driver PJ Hyett.

The Auto Sport Promotion-run Lexus RC F GT3 headed the times in LMGT3, as Esteban Masson’s early benchmark could not be usurped. 

The silver-rated Frenchman dislodged the Proton Competition Ford Mustang GT3 of Ben Barker, who paced qualifying and FP2, with a 3m58.775s lap that put him 0.344s clear of Marino Sato’s #95 United Autosports McLaren.

Barker took third ahead of Jordan Taylor’s Spirit of Race Ferrari 296 GT3, as the polesitting Inception Racing McLaren completed just three laps.

Le Mans 24 Hours – FP4 results:

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