Audi dominatesUPDATE The Peugeot 908 that was damaged during Friday practice for the Spa 1000km is repairable and will run again this weekend, according to the team. Despite appearing to be extensively damaged in the shunt, Peugeot insists that the car that was being driven by Pedro Lamy at the time of his collision with Mike Newton’s RML HPD, will be repaired in time to take part in Saturday’s practice session.
“The engine, chassis and all the important bits are fine,” said a team spokesperson. “The mechanics will have to work late tonight, but it will be finished.”
05/05/11 Audi dominated both free practice sessions today on the Spa-Francorchamps circuit. The second one was stopped before the end following a collision between one of the Peugeots and a Honda. The second round of the 2011 ILMC will take place on Saturday starting at 14h05.
The Intercontinental Le Mans Cup has been lucky on its first appearance on the magnificent circuit in the Ardennes. The weather is very good and no rain is forecast until the end of the race on Saturday evening. This is a boon for the drivers who are delighted to be in Belgium, as Sébastien Bourdais emphasized in the press conference: “I won here last year and it’s a circuit I love racing on even if Le Mans is more specific.”
The start of the first session took place this morning, Thursday 5th May, in brilliant sunlight. It was interrupted by Benoït Treluyer’s minor accident in the Fagnes corner in the no. 2 Audi R18 when the Frenchman went straight on. This little hiccup did not prevent the German make from dominating practice setting the two fastest times with Dindo Capello getting round in the no. 3 R18 in 2m 03.844s, and no.1 driven by Bernhard-Dumas-Rockenfeller put in a lap in 2m 04.054s. The best of the Peugeots was the one in the hands of Lamy-Bourdais-Pagenaud 3/10s slower than the quickest Audi. “We’ve set the two best times in the session,” said Dumas in mid-afternoon,” but that doesn’t mean a lot as the gap to the Peugeots is very small.” In GTE, the morning gallop was dominated by the Ferrari F458 Italias with six cars in the first eight places, the fastest being the one driven by Gianmaria Bruni and Giancarlo Fisichella.
Battle was joined as soon as the second session began in the afternoon, and halfway through André Lotterer set the quickest time of the day in 2m 03.124s in the no. 2 Audi R18. Although he is German by nationality he is very attached to Belgium where he spent his childhood. It was a slight revenge for a driver who made his debut with Audi in the 2010 1000-km event and spun on the warm-up lap which spoilt his race.
Just after his performance, the session was stopped twice: the first time when Jean-Christophe Boullion went off in his Lola-Toyota in the Raidillon, and a few minutes afterwards the red flag was hung out again after the collision between Pedro Lamy’s Peugeot 908 and Mike Newton’s LM P2 Honda under braking for the Stavelot flick. This brought the session to an end.
There were no improvements in GTE in the afternoon, and Rob Bell in his Ferrari F458 Italia set the quickest time in 2m 21.446s.
The teams entered in the Spa-Francorchamps 1000 km will take to the track again tomorrow for the third and final free practice from 11h540-12h50 followed by qualifying from 15h50-16h40.
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