LE MANS, France – Porsche has a 1-2-3 in the first two-hour qualifying session for this year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans, with the top two cars under the previous track record.
Neel Jani has the provisional pole in the No. 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid, following a lap of 3:16.887 around the 8.4-mile Circuit de la Sarthe.
Jani’s time edged Timo Bernhard’s best time of 3:17.767 in the No. 17 Porsche 919 Hybrid, with both times coming on their first flying laps and going ahead of Stephane Sarrazin’s previous track record time of 3:18.513 in a Peugeot 908 HDi FAP in 2008.
The No. 19 Porsche 919 Hybrid, with the best time set by Nick Tandy, completed the top three sweep.
The three Audi R18 e-tron quattros were next.
Other class polesitters after the first day include KCMG (LMP2, Richard Bradley) with its No. 47 Oreca 05 Nissan, and the pair of factory Aston Martin Vantage V8s in both GTE-Pro and GTE-Am. Richie Stanaway in the No. 99 car and Pedro Lamy in the No. 98 car lead their respective classes.
Two more qualifying sessions occur on Thursday, two hours apiece.
Webb and Tomac won the last four championships with two apiece in alternating years, but they were not one another’s primary rival for most of those seasons. On the average, however, the past four years show an incredible similarity with average points earned of 21.0 for Webb and 21.3 for Tomac. With five wins so far this season, Tomac (23 wins) leads Webb (19) in victories but Webb (43) edges Tomac (41) in podium finishes during this span.
Sexton still has a lot to say and after winning last week in Detroit, he is speaking up. The Supercross numbers are against him entering Seattle, however, because a points’ deficit this large after Round 10 has been erased only once. In 1983 David Bailey was 47 points behind Bob Hannah, and like Sexton he was also in third place. Bailey took the points’ lead with one race remaining.
The seven points Sexton was penalized last week for jumping in a red cross flag section in Detroit could prove extremely costly.
In fact, it has been a series of mistakes that has cost Sexton the most. In the last two weeks, he lost 10 points with a 10th-place finish to go with his penalty. Erase those, and all three riders hold their fate in their hands.
Plessinger’s heartbreak in Detroit is still fresh, but the upside of his run is that was his best of the season and could turn his fortunes around. Prior to that race, he led only seven laps in three mains. He was up front for 20 laps in Detroit with five of those being the fastest on the track.
Last week’s win by Hunter Lawrence tied him with his brother Jett Lawrence for 17th on the all-time wins’ list. With the focus shifting to 250 West for the next two rounds, Jett has a great opportunity to pull back ahead. The real test will be at the first East / West Showdown in East Rutherford, New Jersey on April 22.
Last Five Seattle Winners
450s 2022: Eli Tomac
2019: Marvin Musquin
2018: Eli Tomac
2017: Marvin Musquin
2014: Ryan Villopoto