Porsche on provisional pole at Le Mans

The Porsche Team takes provisional pole position during qualifying for the 2014 24 Hours of Le Mans. Mission 2014 arguably couldn’t have got off to a better start….

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16 years after Porsche’s last victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the most successful manufacturer in the event’s history got the ball rolling for a fairytale return to La Sarthe by taking provisional pole position.

With former Red Bull junior Brendon Hartley at the wheel, the #20 Porsche Team 919 Hybrid covered the 13.5km circuit a full two seconds quicker than the nearest non-Porsche to leap to the top of the timesheets. The result marks a good showing for teammates Timo Bernhard (one-time GT class victor and 2010 event winner) and former-Formula 1 pilot Mark Webber. His previous visit to Le Mans, you may remember, didn’t go quite so well…

If provisional pole position wasn’t enough to celebrate, Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb in the sister #14 919 Hybrid entry provisionally locked out the front row with a 3m 23.928s laptime to the timesheet topping 3m 23.157s. Porsche LMP1 vice-president Fritz Enzinger’s reaction to potentially locking out the front row for the most famous endurance race on the planet?: “That was not bad for the first day”. Certainly wasn’t Franz…

So far all Le Mans headlines have surrounded Loïc Duval’s enormous shunt in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro during the opening qualifying session. Mercifully the former event winner and World Endurance Champion walked away relatively unharmed from the wreckage, but will now be replaced in the (soon to be rebuilt) #1 R18 this weekend by Marc Gene.

– Shots courtesy of Eric Fabre

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