LE MANS, France—Ferrari have not done well at this famous classic race since 1973 and have not captured a victory in 58 years.
However, since the Italian team returned to the World Endurance Championship this season, the best this team has done was runner up spots to the favorite Toyota Gazoo team.
On Thursday evening, that all changed, as the Scuderia took the front row for the first time with Antonio Fuoco, who teamed with co-drivers Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen, clocked a 3:22:982 fastest lap to take the hyperpole event for Saturday’s 24 Hours of Lemans centenary race.
To make things worse, another Ferrari will be joining Fuoco and his group as Alessandro Pier Guidi, James Calado and Antonio Giovinazzi will line up on the front row with their teammates.
Toyota Gazoo will have both cars on the second row with Kamui Kobayashi, along with Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez start alongside their teammates Brendon Hartley, Sebastian Buemi and Rio Hirakawa.
A Penske Porsche follows in the third row, right next to two Cadillacs, one of them driven by Sebastian Bourdais, who just happens to have been born in Le Mans. The rest of the teams failed to participate in the hyperpole competition such as both Peugeots and Glickenhaus and will start the race further back.
In the final race at Lemans for the LMP 2 class, the non-championship IDEC sport, driven by Paul-Loup Chatin drove an amazing hyperpole lap, clocking a 3:32:823 fastest time, just ten seconds shy of the hyperpole Ferraris. The French team qualified ahead of one of the JOTA cars driven by Pietro Fittipaldi, followed by the WRT squad, led by Louis Deletraz.
As for another class that will be driving at this classic circuit for the last time, Corvette Racing’s entry, led by Ben Keating, took pole position in the GTE AM class, out qualifying the TF Sport car of Ahmad Al-Harthy with the AF Corse Ferraris lining up on the second row, driven by Thomas Flohr and Julien Piguet.
The race will begin on Saturday at its regular time of 1600 hours with NBA legend Lebron James waving the traditional starting flag for the event.
By Mark Gero