Audi dictated the opening two-part qualifying practice session for the Le Mans 24 Hours on Wednesday. The Sport UK Team Veloqx car of Frank Biela, Pierre Kaffer and Alan McNish set the pace.
Audi dictated the opening two-part qualifying practice session for the Le Mans 24 Hours on Wednesday. The Sport UK Team Veloqx car of Frank Biela, Pierre Kaffer and Alan McNish set the pace, narrowly ahead of the three other Audi entries after a frantic exchange of fastest laps at the start of the second half of the session.
"We made some adjustments during the interval which allowed me to claim provisional pole with a 3:34,683 in the opening minutes of the second session," said McNish. "It was a comfortable lap with no real heroics required as the Audi was working very well."
Tom Kristensen went fastest in the first session in the Audi Sport Japan Team Goh car. Ex-F1 driver McNish moved up to second, but Johnny Herbert, in the sister Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx car, responded by taking pole by over two seconds.
But at the start of the second half of the session, McNish and Kristensen improved their times. The Scot soon went fastest of all however with a 3:34,683-lap while Kristensen was unable to respond and Herbert was sidelined with a minor gearbox problem.
"I ended the first two hour time trial fastest, but was not entirely happy with the car's handling - it was hard work to achieve”, said Herbert. "I tried to improve my time immediately after the interval but a combination of traffic and a slight gear selection problem thwarted me but in general we're very happy with tonight's performance."
The best of the non-Audi cars was the Pescarolo Sport Judd which moved up to fourth at the start of the second half with a 3:38,801-lap at the hands of Sebastien Bourdais and eventually finished fifth. The car was sidelined for most of the first session by a technical problem, but was able to take part later despite Bourdais picked up some minor damage in an incident with another car.
Racing For Holland's #16 Dome Judd eventually finished in sixth place after setting the fourth fastest in the first half. The sister Racing For Holland car ground to a halt with a gearbox box problem with Tom Coronel at the wheel at the very start of the first half. The car returned to the pits during the break and was repaired in time to allow Justin Wilson and Ralph Firman to participate in the latter stages.
The LM2 category was dominated by the Courage Competition AER of Jean-Marc Gounon, Alexander Frei and Sam Hancock, which finished eleven seconds ahead of the Epsilon Sport Courage Willman.
Corvette Racing dominated the GTS category and Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Jan Magnussen constantly improved their times in the #64 car throughout the evening. They finished three seconds ahead of the #66 Prodrive Racing Ferrari 550 Maranello of Tomas Enge, Peter Cox and Alain Menu.
Dale White of White Lightning Racing finished fastest in the GT category with a stunning display towards the end of the first half. Jorg Bergmeister set a 4:09,679-lap to go three seconds clear of the JMB Racing Ferrari 360 Modena.
The Panoz Motor Sports LMP1 car remained in the garage for the whole of the first session after the car suffered a gearbox problem but was able to take part in the second session and ran 28th overall with a 4:06,515 lap from Patrick Bourdais.
Original article from Car