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DATE News (chronologically)
06/13/07
lmes
Peugeot draws first blood  Le Mans week action kicked off this evening with the first official practice session which saw Team Peugeot Total claim the fastest and third fastest times in the dying seconds. The evening’s run was interrupted by two red flag incidents, and was also upset by a brief but heavy thunderstorm that dumped rain over much over the French circuit.

Stéphane Sarrazin (N°8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) and Nicolas Minassian (N°7) profited from drying conditions late in the session, however, to post their quickest times in a particularly thrilling finale. Despite the day’s successful conclusion, however, the drivers and team management are fully aware that Le Mans is a 24-hour race, and not just a question of posting one fast lap, and everything will be thrown wide open again when practice resumes tomorrow evening.

The two four-hour test sessions organised on the Wednesday and Thursday evenings prior to the weekend's celebrated 24-hour classic are, along with the preliminary test day organised earlier in the month, the only chance teams get to put the finishing touches to their race preparations round the full 13.629km track. The job list traditionally involves fine-tuning the set-ups of the cars in race-trim, completing final systems and fuel consumption checks, and ensuring all drivers cover the mandatory minimum number of night-time laps (three). Plus, if conditions and time allow, attempting to secure the best possible position on the grid for the start of Saturday's race (3pm). 

And that is exactly what Team Peugeot Total succeeded in doing this evening in an exciting final flurry of top times that saw Stéphane Sarrazin (N°8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) post the quickest lap of the day in the dying seconds of the session. In an all out attempt on his final lap, during which he admitted to being very close to the limit, the Frenchman succeeded in toppling his rivals from top spot with an emphatic 3m 26.344s, while team-mate Nicolas Minassian narrowly failed in his bid to join his team-mate on the front row of the provisional grid.

Minassian and Sarrazin monopolised the driving of their respective cars during the first half of the session before the storm broke. After a short initial run, the two Frenchmen pitted (to fine-tune the set-up in the case of the N°7 car and to make a precautionary rear wheel-bearing change in the case of car N°8) before going back out on fresh rubber. However, despite laps of 3m 29.836s (N°7) and 3m 29.635s (N°8) . which put them 4th and 2nd respectively on the timesheets . both drivers suggested they could have done better had they not been caught in traffic, while Minassian's second flying lap was thwarted when the red flag was shown for the first time.

With lingering damp conditions forcing the team to switch to wet weather tyres, much of the second half of the session was essentially given over to ensuring that Jacques Villeneuve, Marc Gene, Pedro Lamy and Sébastien Bourdais all completed their three obligatory night-time laps. Then, as the track began to dry, Sarrazin and Minassian threw all their strength into their bid to secure the best possible place on the grid.

Michel BARGE (Director, Peugeot Sport): "Everyone was expecting an interesting battle tonight and it's true that it took its time coming. When it did come, though, it turned out to be an extremely sporting fight with the drivers giving absolutely everything they had. But we mustn't allow ourselves to be carried away by this evening's result. There is still tomorrow's practice session to come and we mustn't forget that Le Mans is not decided by the outcome of a single lap but by 24 hours of racing." Bruno FAMIN (Technical Director, Peugeot Sport): "The evening didn't get off to the best of starts. We had to change a rear wheel-bearing on the N°8 car early on, then the session was red flagged, and then it rained. We profited from the break between the two half-sessions to fine-tune the set-ups of the two cars, then patiently waited for the track to dry and I have to say that the end result brought a smile back to our faces. It's obviously nice to be sitting on top of the timesheets this evening, but the weather and the interruptions meant that we weren't able to complete the planned programme, notably the tyres tests we had scheduled." Stéphane Sarrazin (N°8 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP): "I took a lot of risks at the very end, even when overtaking the slower cars.

So much so, in fact, that I forgot to turn for one corner and I found myself driving across a gravel trap! But it was great fun and the team did a fantastic job. The biggest difficulty was finding a clear lap, and I'm glad to say I succeeded in finding a traffic-free slot at the very end." Nicolas Minassian (N°7 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP): "I'm delighted for Peugeot. Tonight was all about finding a clear lap at the very end but I seemed to come across traffic every time. OK, there's still tomorrow's session to come and we will try to improve our position if we see an opportunity, but there is still a busy programme of work to get through to finish our preparations for the race."

Pos Class Drivers Team Car Time Gap
1. LMP1 Lamy
Sarrazin
Bourdais
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 Hdi FAP 3:26.344
2. LMP1 Capello
Kristensen
McNish
Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI 3:26.916 0.572
3. LMP1 Gene
Minassian
Villeneuve
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 Hdi FAP 3:27.724 1.380
4. LMP1 Biela
Pirro
Werner
Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI 3:28.301 1.957
5. LMP1 Luhr
Rockenfeller
Premat
Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 TDI 3:29.736 3.392
6. LMP1 Collard
Boullion
Dumas
Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 3:33.590 7.246
7. LMP1 Gounon
Moreau
Johansson
Courage Competition Courage LC70 AER 3:35.171 8.827
8. LMP1 Barbosa
Hall
Short
Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo Judd 3:35.559 9.215
9. LMP1 Lammers
Hart
Bleekemolen
Racing For Holland Dome S101.5 Judd 3:35.660 9.316
10. LMP1 Campbell-Walter
Ortiz
Nakano
Creation Autosportif Ltd Creation Judd CA07 3:36.279 9.935
11. LMP1 Yoong
Mucke
Charouz
Charouz Racing Lola B07/17 Judd 3:37.737 11.393
12. LMP1 Frei
Cochet
Besson
Courage Competition Courage LC70 AER 3:38.371 12.027
13. LMP1 Primat
Tinseau
Treluyer
Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 3:38.753 12.409
14. LMP1 Deletraz
Fassler
Alexander
Swiss Spirit Lola Audi B07/10 3:42.626 16.282
15. LMP2 Fernandez
Kurosawa
Kerr
Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 3:44.158 17.814
16. LMP1 Evans
Berridge
Owen
Chamberlain Synergy Lola B06/10 AER 3:44.721 18.377
17. LMP2 Amaral
De Castro
Hughes
Quifel ASM Team MG Lola EX264 AER 3:45.838 19.494
18. LMP2 Binnie
Timpany
Buncombe
Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40 Zytek 3:48.173 21.829
19. LMP2 Greaves
Moseley
Liddell
Bruichladdich Radical Radical SR9 AER 3:48.332 21.988
20. LMP2 Barazi
Vergers
Ojjeh
Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 3:48.935 22.591
21. LMP2 Erdos
Newton
Wallace
RML Lola B05/40 AER 3:49.217 22.873
22. LMP2 Jouanny
Nicolet
Filhol
Saulnier Racing Courage LC75 AER 3:49.621 23.277
23. LMGT1 Bouchut
Gollin
Elgaard
AMR Larbre Comp. Aston Martin DBR9 3:50.761 24.417
24. LMGT1 Ortelli
Ayari
Lapierre
Team Oreca Saleen S7-R 3:51.240 24.896
25. LMP2 Rostan
Pickering
Macallister
Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 Judd 3:51.342 24.998
26. LMGT1 Brabham
Rydell
Turner
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 3:52.471 26.127
27. LMP2 Burgess
De Pourtales
Siedler
Kruse Motorsport Pescarolo Judd 3:52.552 26.208
28. LMGT1 O'connell
Magnussen
Fellows
Corvette Racing Corvette C6R 3:52.657 26.313
29. LMGT1 Beretta
Gavin
Papis
Corvette Racing Corvette C6R 3:53.537 27.193
30. LMGT1 Garcia
Menten
Fittipaldi
Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 3:53.727 27.383
31. LMGT1 Groppi
Prost
Belloc
Team Oreca Saleen S7R 3:54.718 28.374
32. LMGT1 Babini
Davies
Malucelli
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 3:55.141 28.797
33. LMGT1 Enge
Herbert
Kox
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 3:55.714 29.370
34. LMGT1 Policand
Goueslard
Alphand
Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 3:56.734 30.390
35. LMGT1 Smet
Gosselin
Peter
PSI Experience Corvette C6R 3:56.922 30.578
36. LMP2 Petrov
Halliday
Ianetta
Noel Del Bello Courage LC75 AER 3:57.566 31.222
37. LMGT1 Blanchemain
Vosse
Andre
Alphand Aventures Corvette C5-R 3:59.068 32.724
38. LMGT1 Bornhauser
Berville
Fisken
AMR Larbre Comp. Aston Martin DBR9 4:01.674 35.330
39. LMGT2 Niarchos
Kirkaldy
Mullen
Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 GT 4:04.185 37.841
40. LMGT2 Narac
Lietz
Long
Imsa Performance Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 4:04.622 38.278
41. LMGT2 Salo
Melo
Mowlem
Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT 4:05.358 39.014
42. LMGT2 Van Overbeek
Bergmeister
Neiman
Flying Lizard Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 4:05.588 39.244
43. LMGT1 Apicella
Yogo
Yamanishi
JLOC Isao Noritake Lamborghini Murcielago 4:06.223 39.879
44. LMGT2 Nielsen
Simonsen
Ehret
Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 4:08.211 41.867
45. LMGT2 Krohn
Jonsson
Braun
Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT 4:09.065 42.721
46. LMGT1 Vasiliev
Kostka
Persl
Convers Menx Team Ferrari 550 Maranello 4:09.088 42.744
47. LMGT2 Belicchi
Caffi
Chiesa
Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4:10.719 44.375
48. LMGT2 Kimber-Smith
Watts
Milner
Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM 4:11.025 44.681
49. LMGT2 Janis
Hezemans
Kane
Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4:11.598 45.254
50. LMGT2 Tomlinson
Dean
Bell
Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM 4:13.049 46.705
51. LMGT2 Marsh
Villarroel
Rosenblad
GPC Sport Ferrari F430 GT 4:15.669 49.325
52. LMGT2 Collin
Felbermayr Sr
Felbermayr Jr
Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 4:17.750 51.406
53. LMGT2 Macari
Aucott
Newey
AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT 4:21.714 55.370
54. LMP2 Longechal
Yamagishi
Terada
T2M Motorsport Dome Mader S101-5 4:53.983 1:27.639
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