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Bentley & Audi lead test times at LeMans

May 5, 2003

LE MANS, France – Bentleys and Audis led the way overall Sunday as racing teams had eight hours of testing at the Circuit de La Sarthe to help them prepare for next month’s running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Regular American Le Mans Series teams were well-represented, setting the fastest times in two classes and running close to the front in others.

The fastest overall time of the day was set by defending American Le Mans Series champion Tom Kristensen, driving a Bentley Speed 8 Prototype to a lap of 3:34.820 around the 8.625-mile French racing circuit. Kristensen has been on the winning team four times at Le Mans, including the past three years in a row when he drove for the factory Audi team. The Dane will share one of the two Bentleys with Rinaldo Capello and Guy Smith.

The Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari 550 Maranello, which regularly competes in American Le Mans Series events, set the fastest time of the day in the GTS class for production-based cars with Tomas Enge of the Czech Republic at the wheel. Enge, whose co-drivers are Peter Kox and Jamie Davies, turned a lap of 3:57.180.

The Racers Group Porsche 911 GT3 RS, winner of the GT class last year in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, was the fastest of the day in the GT class with a lap of 4:08.636. Kevin Buckler of Sonoma, Calif., will share the car with Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister of Germany, all regular competitors in ALMS events.

The 50 cars that have been invited to compete in the June 14-15 event, plus six reserve cars, were required to take part in the testing session. Among the 50 invited teams are 21 that regularly race in the American Le Mans Series, and 32 that competed in the Mobil 1 Twelve Hours of Sebring that opened the 2003 ALMS season in March. Three of the reserve cars are ALMS regulars.

Because of the relationship that exists between the ALMS and the Automobile Club de l’Ouest (ACO), organizers of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, race teams that regularly compete in ALMS events receive special consideration in the selection process for the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

The Bentley led the GTP class, while the LMP 900 class for open-cockpit Prototypes was led by the Team Goh Audi R8, which Jan Magnussen of Denmark drove to the second-fastest lap of the day overall at 3:38.385. Magnussen will share the car with Marco Werner and Seiji Ara. Magnussen’s time was the fastest of the day overall until Kristensen beat the time in the closing minutes of the day with a flying lap.

Third overall was the second Team Bentley entry of David Brabham, Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell at 3:38.769, followed by the Audi Sport UK entry of Frank Biela, Mika Salo and Perry McCarthy at 3:39.016. The ADT Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto, Emanuele Pirro and Stefan Johansson was fifth-fastest overall at 3:39.077.

Second-fastest in the GTS class was the second Veloqx Prodrive Ferrari driven by Anthony Davidson, Kelvin Burt and Darren Turner at 3:58.185, followed by a third Ferrari fielded by the Luc Alphand team and driven by Alphand, Frederic Dor and Jerome Policand at 3:58.785.

Second-fastest in the GT class was the Porsche 911 GT3 RS of Alex Job Racing, driven by Lucas Luhr, Sascha Maassen and Emmanuel Collard to a lap of 4:11.316. The Job team is fielding the car at Le Mans in a cooperative effort with White Lightning-Petersen Motorsports as the two ALMS regular teams combined forces for a first Le Mans appearance. Orbit Racing, another regular ALMS team, was third in the GT class with a lap of 4:13.141, its Porsche driven by Marc Lieb, Leo Hindery and Peter Baron.

The LMP 675 class for smaller Prototypes was led by RN Motorsports in a DBA Zytek at 3:47.708. The car driven by John Nielsen, Hayanari Shimoda and Johnny Dumfries was more than 10 seconds ahead of the second-place car in the class, the Reynard 2KQ LM of Jean-Luc Maury-Larbiere, Pascal Fabre and Christophe Pillon at 3:57.760. Intersport Racing, with defending ALMS LMP 675 champion Jon Field of Dublin, Ohio, at the wheel, overcame some early-session difficulties to set the third-fastest speed with limited track time. The Lola-MG, which Field will share with Duncan Dayton and Rick Sutherland, ran a lap of 3:58.044.

The complete summary of the day, showing drivers, type car and class and fastest time of the day.

Tom Kristensen, Rinaldo Capello and Guy Smith; Bentley Speed 8 (LMGTP), 3:34.820.
Jan Magnussen, Marco Werner and Seiji Ara; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 3:38.385.
Johnny Herbert, David Brabham and Mark Blundell; Bentley Speed 8 (LMGTP), 3:38.769.
Frank Biela, Perry McCarthy and Mika Salo; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 3:39.016.
JJ Lehto, Emanuele Pirro and Stefan Johanson; Audi R8 (LMP 900), 3:39.077.
Jan Lammers, Andy Wallace and John Bosch; Dome S101 Judd (LMP 900), 3:41.535.
Jim Matthews, Marc Goossens and Christophe Tinseau; Riley & Scott MkIIIC-Yates (LMP 900), 3:41.856.
Felipe Ortiz, Beppe Gabbiani and Tristan Gommendy; Dome S101-Judd (LMP 900), 3:42.185.
Eric Helary, Soheil Ayari and Nicolas Minassian; Courage C60-Peugeot (LMP 900); 3:42.485.
Jonathan Cochet, Stephan Gregoire and Boris Derichebourg; Courage C60-Judd (LMP 900), 3:42.535.
Olivier Beretta, Max Papis and Gunnar Jeannette; Panoz LMP01 (LMP 900), 3:44.694.
Ukyo Katayama, Masahiko Kondo and Ryo Fukuda ; Dome S101-Mugen (LMP 900), 3 :44.748.
Jean-Christophe Boullion, Franck Lagorce and Stephane Sarrazin; Courage C60-Peugeot (LMP 900), 3:46.987.
John Nielsen, Hayanari Shimoda and Johnny Dumfries; DBA4-03S-Zytek (LMP 675), 3:47.708.
Scott Maxwell, David Saelens and Benjamin Leuenberger; Panoz LMP01 (LMP 900), 3:48.546.
Jamie Campbell-Walter, Nathan Kinch and Jean-Denis Deletraz; Lister Storm LMP (LMP 900), 3:48.983.
Justin Keen, Phil Andrews and Christian Vann; Lola B2K40-Judd (LMP 900), 3:53.805. (First reserve car – Taurus Sports)
Sylvain Boulay, Michele Rugolo and Jean Bernard Bouvet; Durango-MG (LMP 900), 3:55.589.
Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Jamie Davies; Ferrari 550 Maranello (GTS), 3:57.180.
Robbie Stirling, Bryan Herta and Romain Dumas; Reynard 01Q-Cosworth (LMP 900), 3:57.472.
Jean-Luc Maury-Laribiere, Pascal Fabre and Christophe Pillon ; Reynard 2KQLM-Lehman (LMP 675), 3 :57.760.
Jon Field, Duncan Dayton and Rick Sutherland ; Lola EX257-MG (LMP 675), 3 :58.044.
Anthony Davidson, Kelvin Burt and Darren Turner; Ferrari 550 Maranello (GTS), 3:58.185.
Luc Alphand, Frederic Dor and Jerome Policand; Ferrari 550 Maranello (GTS), 3:58.785.
Oliver Gavin, Kelly Collins and Andy Pilgrim; Chevrolet Corvette C5-R (GTS), 3:58.895.
Franz Konrad and Toni Seiler; Saleen S7R (GTS), 3:59.071.
Olivier Porta and Yojiro Terada; WR LMP01-Peugeot (LMP 675), 3:59.370.
Phillippe Alliot and David Hallyday; Courage C65-JI (LMP 675), 4:00.022.
Christophe Bouchut, Patrice Goueslard and S Zaccha; Chrysler Viper GTS-R (GTS), 4:00.896.
Ron Fellows, Johnny O’Connell and Franck Freon; Chevrolet Corvette C5-R (GTS), 4:01.727.
Edouard Sezionale, Patrice Roussel and L Lassere; Norma M2000/2-Ford (LMP 900), 4:03.192.
Mike Newton, Tommy Erdos and Gavin Pickering; Saleen S7R (GTS), 4:03.432. (Fourth reserve car – Graham Nash Motorsport).
Pedro Chaves, Miguel Ramos and Ni Amorim; Saleen S7R (GTS), 4:06.089.
Kevin Buckler, Timo Bernhard and Jorg Bergmeister; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:08.636.
Walter Brun, Jesus Villaroel and Jean-Francois Yvon; Saleen S7R (GTS), 4:08.908. (Second reserve car – Konrad Motorsport).
Mike Hezemans, Anthony Kumpen and David Hart; Pagani Zonda (GTS), 4:11.273.
Lucas Luhr, Sascha Maassen and Emmanuel Collard; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:11.316.
Leo Hindery, Peter Baron and Marc Lieb; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:13.141.
Terry Borcheller, Ralf Kelleners and Anthony Lazzaro; Ferrari 360 Modena (GT), 4:13.583.
Robin Liddell, David Warnock and Piers Masarati; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:16.004.
Butch Leitzinger, Johnny Mowlem and Shane Lewis; Ferrari 360 Modena (GT), 4:16.777.
Ian Khan, Michael Neugarten and Nigel Smith; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:17.105.
David Terrien and Fabrizio de Simone; Ferrari 360 Modena (GT), 4:17.798.
David Shep, Tony Burgess and John Lloyd; Porsche 91 GT3 RS (GT), 4:17.821.
Norman Simon, Hans Hugenholtz and Tom Coronel; Spyker C8 Double 12R (GT), 4:18.232.
Chris McMurry, Bryan Willman and Jeff Bucknum; Pilbeam MP91-Willman (LMP 675), 4:20.097.
Atsushi Yogo; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:20.834.
Jean-Rene de Fournoux, Stephane Daoudi and Bastien Briere; WR LMP02-Peugeot (LMP 675), 4:20.858.
Vanina Ickx, Patrick Bourdais and Roland Berville; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:20.867.
Marino Franchitti, James Ruffier and Olivier Thevenin; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:20.889. (Sixth reserve car – Luc Alphand Aventures)
Luis Marques, Rene Metge and Christian Lavieille; Chrysler Viper GTS-R (GTS), 4:21.135.
Paul Daniels, Pierre Ehret and Werner Groebl; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:22.332. (Third reserve car – The Racers Group).
Gregor Fisken, Ian Donaldson and Bart Hayden; Porsche 911 GT3 RS (GT), 4:23.413. (Fifth reserve car – PK Sport)
A Barde, Michel Ferte and G Lesoudier; Ferrari 550 Maranello (GT), 4:28.749.
Richard Stanton, Richard Hay and Rob Barff; TVR Tuscan T400R (GT), 4:32.681.
Tim Sugden, Michael Caine and Mike Jordan; TVR Tuscan T400R (GT), 4:42.521.

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