Kamui Kobayashi says he was “quite disappointed” not to break his own track record during qualifying for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Thursday night despite securing pole position for Toyota.

Kobayashi clinched his second Le Mans pole with a time of 3m15.497s in Q2 at the Circuit de la Sarthe, beating the sister #8 Toyota by four-tenths of a second.

The lap was seven-tenths of a second shy of Kobayashi’s lap record set en route to pole in 2017, which he was disappointed not to have beaten.

“I was quite disappointed because after two years, I think due to all the car development and stuff, we should improve,” Kobayashi said.

“But when I did my best lap, I said we were still nearly missing one second, which is a bit hard. To do what I did in 2017 was pretty good, and all the conditions were right, but unfortunately today I tried, but it wasn’t possible today.”

Kobayashi explained how mix of factors including warmer tyres, an emptier track and assistance from wind directions had helped him set the record time for Toyota in 2017.

“We know we can make it. I think the car is definitely quicker,” Kobayashi said.

“I think all the track conditions and wind directions, it’s not for that lap time unfortunately today. I think like 2017, all the traffic management as well, I think just after the red flag we got quickly on the track, so we got pretty good for warm up and tyres and everything.

“But this time we were waiting six, seven minutes in the pit lane, which cost a lot in grip. This is qualifying, everyone has the same conditions. But still good to have this lap time.”

The pole for the #7 crew came following a chassis change overnight after Mike Conway crashed with an LMP2 car during the opening stage of qualifying.

“I think it was still a great job from the team, because yesterday, the accident with Mike, after that we needed to change the chassis overnight, so I think we just fixed the car and everything just five minutes before the start of Q2,” Kobayashi said.

“I think it was a hard job because they found out this morning actually. Quite luckily, we made it in time.”

 

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