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Le Mans, 9 June, 2022

In the thirty-minute Hyperpole, the “restricted” challenge for pole position, introduced in 2020, the six Ferraris involved monopolised the front row in the LMGTE Am class, with Vincent Abril achieving the Maranello marque’s second ever Hyperpole after Luzich Racing’s win just two years ago.

James Calado and Antonio Fuoco took to the track behind the wheel of AF Corse’s number 51 and 52 488 GTEs, both covering five laps of the French circuit. Antonio Fuoco was the fastest of the two Prancing Horse drivers with a time of 3:51.779, while the reigning world champion finished thirty-seven thousandths behind his teammate. Pole went to the number 64 Corvette, the only car that lapped in under 3:50.

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However, two Ferraris will start from the front row in the Am class. The AF Corse 488 GTE, driven by Vincent Abril, which turned in a Hyperpole time of 3:52.594, and the Kessel Racing car, qualified by Mikkel Jensen, at his side, lagging by 157 thousandths. The third row will be occupied by the Ferraris of AF Corse, with Nick Cassidy in the hot seat, and Iron Dames, with Rahel Frey.

Feelings were mixed after the Hyperpole, a session that yielded a fantastic front row in the LMGTE Am class and a third row in the LMGTE Pro. Vincent Abril’s pole position for AF Corse softens the disappointment of Fuoco’s fifth place and Calado’s sixth.

Vincent Abril
To say that I am happy is an understatement. Firstly, I would like to thank the team who basically rebuilt the car this morning. We struggled a bit with our pace in free practice and qualified for the Hyperpole by a few hundredths. We knew we had more potential, and I think only great teams are ready when the time comes. The Hyperpole was magnificent. I’ve already participated in this type of qualifying a couple of times, and it’s always special. Pressure is high, and the driver is called upon to do their best, partly because you always want to be the fastest. It is a special track requiring precision because it’s not easy to put all the sectors together with new tyres. It was a perfect lap, and I told my engineer on the radio that we had made the right choices during free practice despite not having the pace we wanted. We made progress in setting up the car, and it was perfect in this session. I can’t wait for the race. The 24 Hours isn’t easy. We need to keep out of trouble and be fast, and that’s what my teammates are. Louis has been driving at an incredible level these days, and I have learnt a lot from him. Although I won the Hyperpole, the result is thanks to everyone”.

Antonio Fuoco
I think we did our utmost, pushing from the first moment of the session. We had a good lap, but we also know it will be a long race. We’ll need to stay focused and push until the final lap. Anything can happen, and we must continue doing our job just as we are. It’s a very long and intense weekend, and tomorrow will be the first day we can rest, meet the fans and enjoy the event a bit more before preparing for the race”.

James Calado
There’s some disappointment, of course. We now know for sure that the Corvettes are very quick. It’s a wide gap. It’s not a result that leaves much room for optimism, but we won’t give up and will try to stay positive. We’ll try to improve the race pace a little, and let’s not forget that anything can happen at Le Mans. However, there’s no denying that we need a bit of luck. We have a very experienced team and chemistry with Alessandro and Daniel. However, we need to improve our pace to stay in the leading positions during any possible Safety Car procedures, even though the Corvette is out of reach for now. Seeing the fans back on the track and in the paddock is lovely. We have missed them. This exciting atmosphere is also the magic of Le Mans and is one of the reasons I love being here.

Frédéric Makowiecki (Porsche 911 RSR #91)
“Everything went normally. Third place at the Le Mans 24 Hours is not a bad starting position. I tried everything, but on the last lap, the tyre pressure increased a bit too much. So I was no longer able to get the maximum performance out of the tyres. The race is long. A well-balanced car counts more than the starting position – and that’s exactly what we have.”

Laurens Vanthoor (Porsche 911 RSR #92)
“My fastest lap was good, very clean. I don’t think we could’ve achieved more than fourth place in this session. The Corvette was slightly better on a single hot lap. The race will be a whole different story. We hope that the power balance will then turn in our favour and that we gain the upper hand.”

Harry Tincknell (Porsche 911 RSR #77)
“Third place is a great result for us. We were fifth in qualifying the day prior and we’ve now moved up two positions. The Porsche 911 RSR handles excellently in all conceivable conditions. I’m convinced that we’ll have a perfectly prepared car for the long race on Saturday and Sunday.”

Results Hyperpole
GTE-Pro class
1. Tandy/Milner/Sims (GB/USA/GB), Corvette C8.R #64, 3:49.985 minutes
2. Garcia/Taylor/Catsburg (E/USA/NL), Corvette C8.R #63, 3:50.177 minutes
3. Bruni/Lietz/Makowiecki (I/A/F), Porsche 911 RSR #91, 3:50.377 minutes
4. Christensen/Estre/Vanthoor (DK/F/B), Porsche 911 RSR #92, 3:50.522 minutes
5. Fuoco/Molina/Rigon (I/E/I), Ferrari 488 GTE #52, 3:51.779 minutes
6. Calado/Pier Guidi/Serra (GB/I/BR), Ferrari 488 GTE #51, 3:51.816 minutes

GTE-Am class
1. Prette/Grunewald/Abril (I/USA/F), Ferrari 488 GTE #61, 3:52.594 minutes
2. Kimura/Schandorff/Jensen (J/DK/DK), Ferrari 488 GTE #57, 3:52.751 minutes
3. Ried/Priaulx/Tincknell (D/GB/GB), Porsche 911 RSR #77, 3:53.006 minutes
4. Dalla Lana/Pittard/Thiim (CDN/GB/DK), Aston Martin #98, 3:53.578 minutes
5. Cassidy/Flohr/Castellacci (NZ/CH/I), Ferrari 488 GTE #54, 3:53.757 minutes
6. Frey/Gatting/Bovy (CH/DK/B),Ferrari 488 GTE #85, 3:53.869 minutes

Friday is the traditional rest day given over to the drivers’ parade
, while on Saturday, after the 15-minute warm-up starting at 10.30 a.m., the French flag will be lowered over the participants to signal the start of the race at 4 p.m.


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