Rahel Frey puts Iron Dames in contention for HyperPole
With a strong run in mixed-weather conditions qualifying, Rahel Frey had a great run to put the Iron Dames 488 GTE-Am Ferrari in contention for HyperPole – as the all-female trio continue to run in the top-five after night practice.
Qualifying at the 90th edition of the legendary 24 Hours of Le Mans surely was a hectic one – with a red flag and changing weather conditions to mix up the order.
While there were a few surprises across the classes, Iron Dames were not caught off guard and, with an early lap by experienced racer Rahel Frey, the Swiss secured a spot on Thurdsay’s HyperPole session for the all-female trio.
In FP1, they set the sixth fastest time in GTE-Am, while they went on to run in the top three for most of the night session later on, ultimately ending P4 in class – a further proof of the team’s strong form which carries momentum after a second place in last weekend’s GT World Challenge 1000km of Paul Ricard.
Rahel Frey’s 3:54.081 lap in qualifying was enough for fourth place, as the top six will battle out this evening for pole position.
At their fourth Le Mans participation – and third top-10 finish in GTE-Am, Iron Dames seem to have a realistic shot at a podium in 2022.
The one hour session was interrupted by a red flag after Michael Fassbender’s Proton Porsche crashed heavily on the Mulsanne straight, as the Irish actor/driver is contesting his first 24 Hours of Le Mans.
With several drivers getting laps deleted due to track limits, the red flag put a few crews in trouble – and light rain arriving when the session resumed added to the drama.
Jack Aitken (#47 Algarve Pro Racing LMP2 Oreca) was on driving duties for Sophia Floersch’s crew, and the Briton was among the drivers still having to set a lap when the rain intensified.
The former F1 driver ultimately managed to put a lap in, but he couldn’t do better than P21 in class, sixth among the ProAm entries.
The Portuguese squad had an even more troubled day with their #45 crew, as a big accident in Practice 1 at the Ford Chicane meant that the chassis was damaged and will have to be replaced and rebuilt. Thomas/Allen/Binder were thus not part of qualifying and will start from P61 overall.
Nevertheless, Floersch/Aitken/Falb showed great pace in the practice sessions, finishing third in LMP2 ProAm in Practice 1 and topping the class in Practice 2. Floersch was consistently in the top-10 in the overall LMP2 times and close to the outright top-10.
Despite being massively out of position, the #47 crew is expected to quickly move up the order in the race.
Also in LMP2, Lilou Wadoux is entering her first 24 Hours of Le Mans, after taking an impressive victory last year in the Porsche Carrera Cup France support series at La Sarthe. The young Frenchwoman is sharing the #1 Richard Mille Racing LMP2 Oreca with rally legend Sebastien Ogier and Charles Milesi.
After setting the eighth and seventh times in the two practice sessions, Milesi got behind the wheel of the Richard Mille Racing prototype for qualifying and just missed out on a spot for the HypePole session, finishing P7 in class.
Overall, Kamui Kobayashi topped the times in the Hypercar class in the #7 Toyota – but the gaps to the Glickenhaus cars are minimal. The #708 of Pla/Dumas/Derani was in fact leading in night practice and the battle for pole position is expected to be as heated as ever.
Action resumes at 15:00 local for the third practice, while HyperPole will get underway at 20:00.