June 9, 2011

Le Mans 24 hours Day Qualifying

There was never an uninteresting moment for today's afternoon qualifying session. The cat and mouse games continued between Audi and Peugeot, but that isn't all the drama that happened.

In P1, there were a number of different holder for the top time. However, it wasn't really exciting till the last fifteen minutes when Sarrazin was let loose in the #8 Peugeot. Sarrazin soon set the top time, but this was quickly followed by his teammate from the #7 Peugeot, Marc Gene setting a time of 3:26.2. The obviously didn't sit well with Sarrazin, who immediately got a fresh set of tires and went out to reclaim the pole but spun two times on two consecutive laps. After restarting he set the lap time of 3:26.1 which could have been much quicker but he came up to traffic in the Ford Chicanes. Though this time was quickly overshadowed by Marcel Fassler from Audi in the #2 with a time of 3:25.961. Sarrazin tried to beat the time, but was unable to do so. Audi #2 currently holds the pole. It is possible that if the weather stays dry times could drop even more. Audi said earlier that they put their race engines in the cars and were fine tuning the setups..... Right, either they tipped their hand that the R18 has more potential than they let on at the Test Days or the car is still running the qualifying engine. The fastest non-diesel car was the Pescarolo Judd with a time of 3:33.0.

Strakka returned in P2 after staying up all night to repair, or rather rebuild, the car that was crashed heavily in the last thirty seconds in last night's session. Though the car did not return to its former pace, but the time held. Signatech Nissan had the fastest time in the session of 3:41.4.

In GTE-Pro, the top time and new pole time of 3:58.04 is held by Bruni from AF Corse in the Ferrari 458. Times over all were not much different from last night's session. The big news for the class is that the #56 BMW had a crash after hitting some gravel in the Ford Chicane into the tire barrier. The gravel was left by the Doran Ford GT. It is not clear how extensive the damage was. Video is from MT89Motorsport2, via youtube.

In GTE-Am, the F430 from AF Corse is now on pole with a time of 4:02.5. The Proton 997 moved into the second spot in this session as well, being four tenths quicker than the Labre 997.

Other Notes

The 009 Aston Martin had a small brake fire which was quickly extinguished. Both of the Aston's took ten seconds of their times. The Toyota powered Lola's were the fastest gas/petrol powered P1's. The #65 Lotus Evora engine failed in the open 15 minutes of qualifying. All cars that were damaged in last night's session or had mechanical problems were on track for this afternoon's session.

Final qualifying session, and final session before the race starts 16:00 Eastern. Stay tuned for more information after the second night qualifying. Anything can change between now and Sunday afternoon when the checker flag drops.

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