In a stunning turn of events during the qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Dries Vanthoor delivered a blistering performance, securing the fastest lap in the #15 BMW Team WRT M Hybrid V8. Vanthoor’s lap time of 3:24.465 has positioned BMW as the team to watch in the highly anticipated Hyperpole session set to determine the top-eight starting positions.

The session began with Ferrari dominating the early timesheets. Antonio Fuoco in the #50 Ferrari 499P initially led with a 3:25.321, closely followed by teammates Alessandro Pier Guidi in the #51 and Yifei Ye in the #83. The Ferraris seemed poised to maintain their lead until Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid briefly took the top spot.

Sebastien Bourdais, driving the #3 Cadillac V-Series.R, then set a formidable 3:24.642, which held as the fastest lap for most of the session. As the clock ticked down, it appeared that Cadillac would retain the top position. However, with less than ten minutes remaining, Dries Vanthoor unleashed a near-perfect lap in the BMW M Hybrid V8, surpassing Bourdais by 0.177 seconds.

Toyota Misses Out On Hyperpole

The session’s drama peaked when Kamui Kobayashi, pushing hard to improve his time, spun off causing a red flag and ending the session prematurely. Kobayashi had set a time good enough for fourth in the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid before his spin, and had looked on course to go fastest of all with overall best times in the first and second sectors.

However, the #7 car was later stripped of all of its qualifying laps as a result of Kobayashi causing the stoppage, costing the Japanese manufacturer its place in Hyperpole as Brendon Hartley had only gone 12th-fastest in the sister #8 car. Kobayashi’s misfortune means he will start from the back of the Hypercar grid on Saturday. Besides Toyota, other manufacturers that missed out on Hyperpole included Lamborghini, Peugeot, and Isotta Fraschini.

The remarkable lap by Vanthoor not only secured the fastest time of the session but also sent a clear message to their competitors. BMW Team WRT’s result with the M Hybrid V8 have firmly established them as serious contenders for the pole position. Stay tuned for further updates as the teams prepare for what promises to be an exhilarating race at Le Mans.