Motor racing-Estre puts Porsche Penske on pole for Le Mans 24 Hours

(Reuters) - French driver Kevin Estre put the number six Porsche Penske 963 hypercar on pole position for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on Thursday with Cadillac second and third.

The session was delayed by 35 minutes for repairs to the barriers at the Sarthe circuit before Estre, partnered by experienced German Andre Lotterer and Belgian Laurens Vanthoor, prevailed.

Local hero Sebastien Bourdais had led for most of the session and looked set for pole in the number three Cadillac with a best time of three minutes 25.294 seconds.

Alex Lynn then put the number two Cadillac ahead, in 3:24.782, but Estre clocked 3:24.634.

"I think the lap was almost perfect," said the Frenchman. "It feels really good to stand here. It is my only race in France at home, so to achieve the pole in the biggest race in the world is something special."

Le Mans, which starts on Saturday afternoon, is the fourth round and jewel in the crown of the world endurance championship.

This year's race is the 92nd edition and it will be flagged away by French soccer great Zinedine Zidane, the official starter this year, in front of hundreds of thousands of spectators.

Defending champions Ferrari had their cars qualify fourth and fifth.

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Ken Ferris)

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