Former Formula One driver Kamui Kobayashi put Toyota on provisional pole for the Le Mans 24 Hours sportscar race after a shortened first qualifying session at the French circuit on Wednesday night.

Two more sessions are scheduled for Thursday.

The Japanese driver, who shares the number seven TS050 hybrid car with France's Stephane Sarrazin and Britain's Mike Conway, lapped with a best time of three minutes 18.793 seconds.

The number eight Toyota of Britain's Anthony Davidson, Japan's Kazuki Nakajima and Switzerland's Sebastien Buemi was second and 0.638 slower.

Toyota have never won Le Mans, with Mazda the only Japanese manufacturer to have triumphed back in 1991.

The Porsche team, which won the past two years, was third fastest with the number two car of Germany's Timo Bernhard and New Zealanders Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber.

The session was shortened by 20 minutes to allow for barrier repairs at the Porsche Curves after a crash in an earlier practice.

IOL Motoring

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