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Estre secures Porsche Penske Motorsport pole position for 24 Hours of Le Mans

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24 Hours of Le Mans

Kévin Estre snatched pole position for the #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a thrilling Hyperpole session, taking the team’s first pole at the iconic race.

Kévin Estre snatched pole position for the #6 Porsche Penske Motorsport car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans in a thrilling Hyperpole session, taking the team’s first pole at the iconic race.

The Frenchman will line up his Porsche 963 at the front for his home race with team-mates André Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor, with a 3m24.634s topping the timesheet for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s blue-riband event.

It is the 19th pole position at the 24 Hours of Le Mans for Porsche - equal with its win total of 19. It marks the 23rd WEC pole position for the marque.

Read more: Explore the history of Porsche at Le Mans

Speaking after the session, Estre said: “An amazing feeling to stand on pole in Le Mans. The team gave me a mega car.

“It was very stressful, we didn’t have much fuel to do many laps. We thought we could do just one, then I start the second and the start was very good.

“It was an amazing feeling to drive this car low fuel, new tyres, almost no traffic and just get the lap done.

“I’m really proud to be a part of this team and what we’ve achieved and what we improved compared to last year.

“But yeah, that’s just the beginning. There is one big day on Saturday and Sunday."

It was an amazing feeling to drive this car low fuel, new tyres, almost no traffic and just get the lap done.

Kévin Estre, Porsche #6 driver

Having made it through to the Hyperpole session after finishing seventh in Wednesday’s qualifying session, Estre took control of the #6 Porsche 963 for the half-hour contest.

The session was delayed by 35 minutes due to an accident in an earlier support race causing extensive barrier damage, with air temperatures having dropped to 19 degrees by the time Hyperpole got underway at 8.35pm local time.

Estre’s first effort put him fifth-quickest, with a 3m30.827s leaving him 4.6s behind provisional pole.

He then improved to a 3m26.803s, 1.5s off quickest, before shaving another 0.4s off his time, though he was still fifth-quickest overall.

With eight minutes left on the clock, the session was red-flagged, with the #15 BMW having run into the gravel at Indianapolis.

Having completed seven laps before the stoppage, Estre went back out just under 10 minutes later, with the #3 Cadillac holding the top spot but remaining in the pits after having used up all its fuel.

Estre’s next effort was a 3m25.793s, less than a second off the quickest time, though still only enough for fifth place.

He crossed the line for his final lap just moments before the chequered flag was waved, and with a stellar last-ditch attempt he crossed the finish line to take pole position for the Saturday-Sunday race.

The #6 car leads the WEC standings at the halfway mark. Double points are awarded at Le Mans. Last time Porsche had three of the first four poles in a season was 2015, when the team went on to win both Le Mans and the championship title.

Read more: Recap the 2024 World Endurance Championship so far

Having missed out on Hyperpole, the #5 Porsche Penske Motorsport car, driven by Matt Campbell, Michael Christensen and Frédéric Makowiecki, will line up 10th for the race, with the #4 car of Mathieu Jaminet, Felipe Nasr and Nick Tandy in 19th.

The Hertz Team JOTA #12 car of Callum Ilott, Norman Nato and Will Stevens will start in eighth after a huge crash in Wednesday’s second practice session forced the team to replace the chassis, making them unable to take part in Hyperpole.

Proton Competition’s #99 entry, driven by Julien Andlauer, Neel Jani and Harry Tincknell, will start 14th, with the second Hertz Team JOTA car, the #38 piloted by Jenson Button, Phil Hanson and Oliver Rasmussen, starting in 17th.

In LMGT3, the #92 Manthey PureRxcing car, driven in Hyperpole by Alexander Malykhin, will line up second-in-class for Saturday’s race, with team-mates Klaus Bachler and Joel Sturm joining him.

Malykhin topped the timesheet initially, a 3m59.695s leaving him quickest by 0.7s. Though his next effort was only good enough for third overall, he was back to second-quickest with a 3m58.928s shortly before the red flag.

Heading back out after the pause in the action, that time proved quick enough to hold onto second place.

The sister #91 Manthey EMA car, driven by Yasser Shahin, Morris Schuring and Richard Lietz, missed out on Hyperpole and will start the race from 16th on the grid.

Porsche Penske Motorsport is now ready to take on the ultimate challenge: the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Gunning for the 20th overall win for Porsche at the Circuit de la Sarthe, the team will aim for glory this weekend.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans starts at 4pm CEST on Saturday.

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