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LeMans: Lotterer puts No. 1 Audi on provisional pole
Andre Lotterer
The first day’s practice and qualifying sessions are now complete and there has been a feast of racing, tension and excitement for all to enjoy.  There has been close and competitive action across all four classes of racing, and 54 of the 56 cars have taken to the track.

Audi continue to hold the upper hand at the moment, but the inter-team competition has been intense.  2011 race winner Andre Lotterer, in the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro secured provisional pole position in the final minute of the two-hour qualifying session, displacing the marque’s most successful driver at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eight-time winner Tom Kristensen, in the No. 2 car. The Dane had been earlier closely challenged by both his team mates and the No.7 Toyota TS 030 Hybrid but it was Romain Dumas in the No.3 Audi R18 ultra which finally claimed third place.  There is a scant two tenths of a second separating the top three.

The quickest of the privately-entered, non-diesel LMP1 cars was the No. 21 Strakka Racing HPD ARX 03a of Danny Watts ahead of the two Rebellion Racing Lola Toyotas.  The No.16 Pescarolo 03 Judd was not able to make it out in qualifying following damage sustained in an accident towards the end of practice.  An update from the Pescarolo team is expected tomorrow.

In LMP2 Christophe Tinseau laid claim to the fastest time in class early in the two-hour session in the No.46 Thiriet by TDS Racing Oreca 03 Nissan.  His time of 3:39.252 places him just ahead of the No.48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca, also powered by Nissan – young New Zealander, Brendon Hartley setting the pace in that car.  The first of the LMP2 HPD Hondas was third in class, the No. 44 Starworks Motorsport entry showing its intention to challenge for a second FIA World Endurance Championship class victory this year.

It took Oliver Gavin just ten minutes in the No.74 Corvette Racing C6.R to signal his intent for the race.  The British four-time GT1 winner qualified at the head of the GTE-Pro class with a time of 3:55.910 to head the No. 59 Luxury Racing Ferrari of Jaime Melo and Corvette Racing team mate Jan Magnussen in the No.73 car.  AF Corse’s No.51 entry of Fisichella-Bruni-Vilander was unable to challenge for pole after the car was badly damaged in a practice accident.  There is much repair work to be done on the Ferrari 458 Italia before it can return to the track.

In the final minutes Sean Edwards made an improvement in the No.75 ProSpeed Competition Porsche to take himself to second place in GTE- Am, and while it narrowed the gap to the No.79 Flying Lizard Porsche, it wasn’t enough to knock Patrick Pilet’s class pole into touch.  His fastest lap of 3:57.594 was half a second clear. In third place was the No.99 Aston Martin Vantage, thanks to some fine laps at the end by Dane Allan Simonsen.

The Highcroft Racing-run Nissan DeltaWing was running extremely competitively amongst the LMP2 class and up to 15th place overall at one stage.  However, as the innovative car ran heavily over some curbs it triggered both the fire extinguisher and the master electrical switch which caused the No.0 to grind to a halt out on track.

If the weather is not fair tomorrow, tonight's results could determine the starting grid for the 80th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.  However, if the much-needed and much-favored dry conditions remains, then another four hours of nail-biting qualifying will be available for all to enjoy.

TOYOTA Racing's Hybrid car drove into the night at Le Mans for the first time in the opening qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours, securing provisional top-six starting positions for Saturday’s race.

Wednesday’s 120-minute qualifying session, which is followed by two more on Thursday, saw the TS030 HYBRIDs participate in their first competitive action after an intense period of testing and development.

When the checkered flag fell at midnight, the #7 TS030 HYBRID of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima was fourth. Nicolas set its best time of the session; 3mins 27.191secs.

The #8 TS030 HYBRID of Stéphane Sarrazin, Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi ended the session in sixth, although traffic severely disrupted its fastest lap. Anthony set its fastest time of 3mins 28.295secs.

All of the team’s six drivers completed the minimum five laps of night driving required in order to be allowed to participate in the race.

Earlier in the evening the #8 car lost most of the practice session after an engine failure left Anthony stranded on the track after only five laps and 34 minutes. The engine was changed in time for qualifying.

The #7 car completed a trouble-free session of aerodynamic and mechanical set-up evaluations.

The final starting grid for the 80th edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours will be decided at the end of two remaining qualifying sessions on Thursday (19.00-21.00 and 22.00-00.00).



Cl Drivers Team/Car Time
1. P1 Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer Audi e-tron 3m25.453s
2. P1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish Audi e-tron 3m26.536s
3. P1 Dumas/Duval/Gene Audi Ultra 3m26.694s
4. P1 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima Toyota 3m27.191s
5. P1 Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller Audi Ultra 3m27.554s
6. P1 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin Toyota 3m28.295s
7. P1 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka HPD 3m32.750s
8. P1 Belicchi/Primat/Bleekemolen Rebellion Lola-Toyota 3m33.140s
9. P1 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld Rebellion Lola-Toyota 3m33.211s
10. P1 Ara/Minassian/Bourdais Pescarolo Dome-Judd 3m34.716s
11. P1 Brabham/Chandhok/Dumbreck JRM HPD 3m37.088s
12. P1 Moreau/Baguette/Kraihamer OAK Pescarolo-Judd 3m38.414s
13. P2 Beche/Thiriet/Tinseau TDS ORECA-Nissan 3m39.252s
14. P2 Firth/Hughes/Hartley Murphy ORECA-Nissan 3m39.877s
15. P2 Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith Starworks HPD 3m40.639s
16. P2 Briere/Petersen/Nakano Boutsen ORECA-Nissan 3m40.727s
17. P2 Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla OAK Morgan-Judd 3m40.902s
18. P2 Dolan/Hancock/Kurosawa Jota Zytek-Nissan 3m41.287s
19. P2 Sims/Buurman/Iannetta Status Lola-Judd 3m41.451s
20. P2 Heinemeier Hansson/Leinders/Martin OAK Morgan-Nissan 3m41.721s
21. P2 Martin/Charouz/Graves ADR ORECA-Nissan 3m41.791s
22. P2 Perez-Companc/Ayari/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan 3m41.916s
23. P2 Ordonez/Brundle/Brundle Greaves Zytek-Nissan 3m42.125s
24. P2 Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov Signatech ORECA-Nissan 3m42.157s
25. P2 Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz Level 5 HPD 3m42.224s
26. CDNT Franchitti/Krumm/Motoyama Highcroft Delta Wing Nissan 3m42.612s
27. P2 Mailleux/Lombard/Tresson Signatech ORECA-Nissan 3m44.495s
28. P2 Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian Greaves Zytek-Nissan 3m47.408s
29. P2 Holzer/Schultis/Moro Kodewa Lola-Lotus 3m48.067s
30. P2 Frey/Hirschi/Meichtry Race Performance ORECA-Judd 3m48.124s
31. P2 Giroix/Johansson/Badey Gulf Lola-Nissan 3m50.526s
32. P2 Haezebrouck/Thirion/Papin Extreme Limite Norma-Judd 3m51.012s
33. GTE P Gavin/Milner/Westbrook Corvette 3m55.910s
34. GTE P Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher Luxury Ferrari 3m56.076s
35. GTE P Taylor/Garcia/Magnussen Corvette 3m57.181s
36. GTE P Fernandez/Mucke/Turner Aston Martin 3m57.466s
37. GTE P Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci AF Corse Ferrari 3m57.509s
38. GTE A Neiman/Pilet/Pumpelly Flying Lizard Porsche 3m57.594s
39. GTE P Lieb/Lietz/Henzler Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 3m57.648s
40. GTE P Alfaisal/Curtis/Edwards IMSA Porsche 3m58.035s
41. GTE P Bergmeister/Long/Holzer Flying Lizard Porsche 3m58.717s
42. GTE A Simonsen/Nygaard/Poulsen Aston Martin 3m58.725s
43. GTE A Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy Larbre Corvette 3m59.192s
44. GTE A Ried/Roda/Ruberti Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 3m59.529s
45. GTE A Armindo/Narac/Pons IMSA Porsche 4m00.332s
46. GTE A Ehret/Montecalvo/Jeannette Luxury Ferrari 4m00.849s
47. GTE P Walker/Cocker/Wills JMW Ferrari 4m00.883s
48. GTE A Bourret/Gibon/Belloc Larbre Corvette 4m03.021s
49. GTE A Rodrigues/Ferte/Illiano JMB Ferrari 4m04.416s
50. GTE A Perazzini/Cadei/Griffin AF Corse Ferrari 4m04.493s
51. GTE A Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo Krohn Ferrari 4m04.698s
52. GTE A Kauffman/Aguas/Vickers AF-Waltrip Ferrari 4m04.861s
53. GTE A Camathias/Daniels/Palttala JWA Porsche 4m08.170s
54. P2 Deletraz/Ihara/Quick Gulf Lola-Nissan 4m14.086s
55. P1 Collard/Boullion/Hall Pescarolo-Judd 3m39.656s
56. GTE P Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 3m57.735s

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