First blood to Peugeot and BMW at Imola Anthony Davidson in the no. 7 Peugeot 908 was quickest in qualifying. The Englishman and his team-mate, Sébastien Bourdais, will start the Imola 6 Hours from pole. In GTE Pro BMW scored a double putting its two BMW M3s in the first two places.
Since the start of the first practice session, the Peugeot 908s have been very much at home on the Imola circuit. Only this morning did Marcel Fässler break the French domination by topping the third session. It was a flash in the pan as Davidson set the quickest time in the qualifying session with a lap in 1m 31.736s in his no.7 Peugeot ahead of Fässler in the no. 1 Audi R18 in 1m 32.354s. Peugeot-Audi, Peugeot-Audi will be the line-up on the first two rows of the grid for the Imola 6 Hours, the fourth round of the 2011 ILMC.
“The battle between us continues,” laughed Davidson. “It’s always good to start from pole. This race is not only long, but with the all traffic on the track it’s also a question of survival. Our aim in this round is to increase our lead in the ILMC classification (Peugeot has 103 points compared to Audi’s 69. “Starting from the first row can only be a help in such conditions.”
First of the petrol-engined cars was Guillaume Moreau in his OAK Pescarolo-Judd in a time of 1m 34.745s. In LM P2, the fastest lap was set by Swiss driver Mathias Beche in his Oreca 03-Nissan in 1m 37.208s.
On Ferrari’s home turf the BMWs seemed to find some extra pace. In the no. 55 M3 GT Jorg Müller set the quickest time in 1m 44.468s in a hotly-contested qualifying session. Less than a second separates the first nine cars in LM GTE Pro! Dirk Müller was second fastest in his BMW under two-tenths of a second behind his fellow-countryman. They are followed by a horde of Ferrari F458 Italias led by Jaime Melo. Giancarlo Fisichella, who was very fast in free practice, had to make do with sixth spot.
“The car’s very quick,” said a delighted Müller. “It’s very easy to drive. We seem to have a slight advantage over the curbs. But the gap’s tiny!”
In GTE Am, Patrick Long put everybody in their place in his no. 63 Porsche 911 RSR 997 with a time of 1m 45.650s. The first ILMC driver was Marco Cioci in the no. 61 Ferrari F430 GT, second behind Long with a lap in 1m 45.906s.
The Imola 6 Hours will start tomorrow, Sunday 3rd July, at 12h00.
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