The LMGTE-Am class Hyperpole saw five Ferrari 488 GTEs involved in the session that defined the first eight starting grid positions. The air and asphalt temperatures - 28.9C and 34.4C respectively - higher than over the previous days, put a slight damper on car performances, which on this occasion were driven by Bronze category drivers, as established in the regulations.
The number 54 AF Corse 488 GTE, courtesy of Thomas Flohr, excelled right from the start, holding second spot for a long stretch before having to settle for third with a 3:54.582 marker. From mid-session onwards, the number 21 (AF Corse), driven by Julien Piguet, and the number 83 (Richard Mille AF Corse), with Luis Perez Companc aboard, also set excellent times, with fourth and fifth best laps of 3:54.744 and 3:55.033, respectively.
Sixth place went to the number 57 car of Kessel Racing, driven by Takeshi Kimura (3:55.637), in a crew alongside Daniel Serra; eighth went to the sister car of Yorikatsu Tsujiko with 3:59.648. The front row was clinched by the Chevrolet handled by Ben Keating ahead of the ORT by TF team-run Aston Martin with Ahmad Al-Harty at the wheel.
The Centenary 24 Hours of Le Mans will get underway on Saturday 10 at 4 p.m. and will feature four official Ferrari Competizioni GT drivers in three of the seven 488 GTEs taking the start. Aboard the number 54 car will be Davide Rigon; in the number 83 Alessio Rovera and Lilou Wadoux, while the number 57 will feature Daniel Serra.
In addition to the five Ferraris that took part in the Hyperpole, two further Prancing Horse cars will line up at the start of the endurance race, the number 66 JMW Motorsport entry with Louis Prette, Thomas Neubauer and Giacomo Petrobelli and the number 100 of Walkenhorst Motorsport crewed by Jeffrey Segal, Andrew Haryanto and Chandler Hull.
Davide Rigon, 488 GTE #54 AF Corse: “We are pleased with the result: I think this is Thomas Flohr’s best-ever qualifying. But we are even happier with the car, which we found well-balanced, and we are ready to tackle this race with confidence. The team worked really well to prepare us for this experience. The race will be demanding, and expectations are high. It will be important to avoid traffic problems, especially amid the prototypes. For this reason, I am delighted with the all-Ferrari front row in the Hypercar: congratulations to everyone.”
Alessio Rovera, Ferrari 488 GTE #83 Richard Mille AF Corse: “Our qualifying was affected by the red flag that was shown just when Luis Perez Companc was improving his time significantly. However, besides starting in fifth place, I am confident about the race, which is very long.
Lilou Wadoux, Ferrari 488 GTE #83 Richard Mille AF Corse: “Starting from fifth position is very good. Unfortunately, in the last part of the qualifying lap, Luis Perez Companc ran into some traffic. Otherwise, we could have been further forward. We did an excellent job with the team. The 24 Hours is very long, and I am confident.”
Daniel Serra, 488 GT3 #57 Kessel Racing: “It was a good session in which Takeshi Kimura was able to use new tyres and did an excellent job. On Saturday, we will start from sixth position with a chance to recover.”