Peugeot tops qualifying at Nurburgring

Peugeot Sport had qualified on pole position at every Le Mans Series race this season, plus at the 24-hour classic itself, and the team was not about to stop its streak at this weekend's race at the Nurburgring. And that was the end result, with...

Peugeot Sport had qualified on pole position at every Le Mans Series race this season, plus at the 24-hour classic itself, and the team was not about to stop its streak at this weekend's race at the Nurburgring.

And that was the end result, with Marc Gene and Nicolas Minassian ensuring an all-Peugeot front row once again with a fast time of 1:41.867 in their Peugeot 908 HDi around the 5.148-km Grand Prix circuit. Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin followed their teammates with a gap of just 0.281 seconds.

Behind them were clearly the have-nots -- or at least the have-not-as-much-speeds. Third overall was the Skoda Charouz Racing Lola-Judd, impressing with their qualifying performance in the Czech team's only third Le Mans Series race. However, the trio of Jan Charouz, Stefan Mucke, and Alex Yoong were still 2.414 seconds behind the second-placed Peugeot.

"A fantasy, we're the best of all gasoline cars," Mucke exclaimed. "And moreover, I set this time at my home circuit. I'm really happy. Not just because of my performance, but because of the great work of the whole team. We're a fabulous gang of Czechs, Germans, Brits and Malaysians!"

Tommy Erdos and Mike Newton took the LM P2 pole for RML in their MG Lola AER, eighth overall, with a thin 0.047-edge over the ninth-placed Barazi Epsilon team. The Barazi Zytek 07S, staffed by Juan Barazi, Michael Vergers and Karim Ojjeh, again showed strongly but could not quite match RML's qualifying time.

Stephane Ortelli and Soheil Ayari took the GT1 pole for Team Oreca, the Saleen S7-R showing strong pace over the Aston Martin DBR9s after the disappointment of the 24H earlier this month. Ortelli and Ayari, 24th overall, were over a second clear of the Aston Martin DBR9s of Team Modena (Antonio Garcia and Christian Fittipaldi) and AMR Larbre (Christophe Bouchut, Gabriel Gardel and Fabrizio Gollin).

In the GT1 class, Ferrari was back on top, though this time Virgo Motorsports' F430 GT, piloted by Allan Simonsen and Rob Bell, was the lone Italian car in the top four. Porsche 997 GT3 RSRs of Farnbacher Racing, Felbmayr-Proton and 24H winner Imsa Performance were all within a quarter of a second of Bell's and Simonsen's top time, promising a hard-fought battle for class victory tomorrow.

The race, set for 195 laps or 1000 km around the modern Nurburgring circuit, will get under way when the field rolls past the green flag at 11:55 CET tomorrow morning.

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Series European Le Mans
Drivers Antonio Garcia , Fabrizio Gollin , Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Christian Fittipaldi , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Stéphane Ortelli , Alex Yoong , Rob Bell , Christophe Bouchut , Mike Newton , Soheil Ayari , Allan Simonsen , Juan Barazi , Karim Ojjeh , Stefan Mücke , Jan Charouz