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|L'Espagnol Fernando Alonso, dans sa Toyota TS050-Hybrid LMP1, lors des essais libres, au Mans, le 12 juin 2019 AFP/JEAN-FRANCOIS MONIER|
Mike Conway got a flying start in car No 7 from pole position, while defending champion and fellow Toyota driver Sebastien Buemi, in car No 8, was running second after the first hour in the 61-car race due to finish at 1300 GMT on Sunday.
Buemi, who won last year alongside teammates Kazuki Nakajima and the Formula 1 legend Fernando Alonso, was left under no illusions about the tussle ahead as Conway broke the lap record on his fourth lap of the Circuit de Sarthe with a time of 3min 17.297sec.
A win for the Toyota hybrids is almost certain, barring an accident, as they have been the only manufacturer on the grid since Porsche and Audi pulled out of the elite LMP1 class, which this year features just six other cars.