Le Mans 24-hour: YART heads first qualifying, BMW fastest after dark

| | World News
Picture: EWC

Yamaha’s YART claimed provisional pole for Le Mans 24 after Thursday’s first Endurance World Championship qualifying action.

Niccolò Canepa’s rapid 1’35.500 red lap helped the Official Yamaha team secure provisional command for the 24 Heues Motos grid as round one of the 2022 FIM Endurance World Championship got underway in France.

New rules for 2022 sees qualifying results based on the average time of the fastest two riders - previously three. Canepa’s teammate, Karel Hanika, claimed the quickest of the blue riders with a time of 1’35.873 giving YART an average of 1’35.686 overall to head the standings.

F.C.C. TSR Honda France’s Gino Rea topped the yellow session to boost his team, along with the help of Josh Hook, to second quickest thanks to an average time of 1’35.731 while Yoshimura SERT Motul, ERC Endurance-Ducati and BMW Motorrad completed the top five.

Of the Dunlop Superstock Trophy riders, Sébastien Suchet was quickest for National Motos in the blue rider session, Baptiste Guittet set the yellow pace for Team 18 Sapeurs Pompiers CMS Motostore, while Wójcik Racing’s Danny Webb was the Dunlop Superstock Trophy competitor to beat in red.

The morning’s free practice sessions saw Ducati’s ERC team in control as Xavi Forès set the pace with a 1’35.460 - Philipp Oettl getting the late call up to complete the team as Chaz Davies was sidelined due to illness - while BMW Motorrad completed the night practice at the top, just one-second off the earlier time.

Bradley Smith’s privateer Moto Ain team sat sixth across the free practice, night and his red qualifying session as the three-rider squad consisting of Claudio Courti and Corentin Perolari runs stock machinery in the superbike class.

Friday’s second qualifying is scheduled between 10:20 and 12:10 local time.

Picture: EWC
Picture: EWC