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Porsche on pole for the 24 Hours of Le Mans

FRED TANNEAU/AFP

Porsche will start on pole for this weekend’s 24 Hours of Le Mans after topping qualifying at the famous circuit in the Sarthe region of France on Thursday.

The German manufacturer, seeking their first Le Mans title since 2017, shadowed two Cadillacs to take car number six to the front of the grid.

French driver Kevin Estre was behind the wheel to secure pole position for a race to be started by French football icon Zinedine Zidane on Saturday at 2pm GMT.

Estre will share the driving with German Andre Lotterer and Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium.

Secondly, Thursday’s “hyperpole” qualifying session featured Cadillac’s number two car with Earl Bamber of New Zealand, Briton Alex Lynn and Alex Palou of Spain at the wheel.

But they were later given a five-place grid penalty for causing an accident at Spa-Francorchamps in May.

That moved Cadillac’s number three car of another French driver Sebastien Bourdais, Renger van der Zande of the Netherlands and Kiwi Scott Dixon into second place.

Ferrari, last year’s winner on their return to the event that attracts several hundred thousand diehard motorsport fans every year, will now start third and fourth.

Alpine, with Formula 1 driver Pierre Gasly watching from the pits, is fifth, ahead of BMW and the relegated Cadillac.

Porsche is among the favorites for the 92nd edition, with no fewer than a team of six cars in the elite hypercar category.

In addition to Porsche, Cadillac, Ferrari and Alpine, there are also teams from Toyota, which achieved five consecutive victories between 2018 and 2022, BMW, Lamborghini and Peugeot.

This is the first time in 30 years that the historic race has attracted nine constructors.

“There is now even less room for error,” pole sitter Estre told AFP.

“This race has always been difficult, but some years have been a little easier than others,” he added, with just three constructors lined up in 2022.

© Agence France-Presse

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