Peugeots on front row at Valencia

Peugeot Sport demonstrated its might in the qualifying for the 1000 km of Valencia, the final Le Mans Series race before the iconic Le Mans 24H next month. Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene will start from the pole position in their Peugeot 908 HDi,...

Peugeot Sport demonstrated its might in the qualifying for the 1000 km of Valencia, the final Le Mans Series race before the iconic Le Mans 24H next month. Nicolas Minassian and Marc Gene will start from the pole position in their Peugeot 908 HDi, followed by the team's second car, piloted by Pedro Lamy and Stephane Sarrazin, the two sister cars separated by 0.441 seconds at the Circuit de la Comunitat Valenciana.

"I put in a very good first lap, using all the grip I could from my tyres," said Gene, who set the top time. "I had to overtake a car which made me lose 2 or 3 tenths in the last sector. I knew I had to give it everything on the first lap and that is exactly what I did. The other laps weren't as good and traffic prevented me from improving my time."

Gene, for whom Valncia is effectively a home track, and Lamy both set their times early in the session, looking to ensure a traffic-free lap, even if the track would have had more rubber laid down on it by the end of the qualifying.

"I didn't push hard enough on the first lap and that is when I needed to put in a quick time," Lamy rued his result. "After that, traffic and the fact that my tyres were going off stopped me from doing any better. The race is going to be very long tomorrow and I am really worried about traffic with 45 cars on a 4km circuit!"

So it is another front-row lock-out for the Peugeot Sport team, but this time there was a serious challenger for their hegemony, as the Zytek teams pulled close t othe Peugeot times late in the session. In the first race at Monza, Barazi Epsilon, the only Zytek team, had been five seconds off the Peugeot pace in qualifying, but around the twisty Valencia circuit, the agility of the Zytek chassis made up for some of the raw pace of the Peugeots.

Stefan Johansson and Hayanari Shimoda will take the start for Arena Motorsport from third position, 1.1 seconds behind the leading Peugeot. More remarkably, the Barazi Zytek 07S entry will line up fourth, only another second adrift, and the fastest LM P2 entry. RML took sixth overall in their MG Lola EX-264 AER, being separated from the P2-leading Zytek by the top Pescarolo entry, piloted by Romain Dumas and Jean-Christophe Boullion.

In the hotly-contested LM GT1 class, Team Oreca's Soheil Ayari and Stephane Ortelli repeated their Monza class pole position, settling in at 23rd overall in their Saleen S7-R. The second Saleen, the Racing Box entry piloted Pier Giuseppe Perazzini, Marco Cioci and Salvatore Tavano, slotted in immediately behind them, and three tenths of a second in front of the Luc Alphand Adventures Corvette C6.R.

And, unlike the Ferrari domination in the American Le Mans Series' LM GT2 class, the Porsches were once again on top on the European circuits. Raymond Narac and Richard Lietz took the GT2 pole for the German manufacturer in the IMSA Performance 911 GT3 RSR. With Farnbacher Racing and Felbermayr-Proton close behind, the Ferraris were shut out of the top three on grid.

The race will be for 1000 km or six hours, starting at 1:30 CET tomorrow.

Be part of something big

Write a comment
Show comments
About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Stefan Johansson , Nicolas Minassian , Marc Gene , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Stéphane Ortelli , Jean-Christophe Boullion , Hayanari Shimoda , Luc Alphand , Romain Dumas , Soheil Ayari , Marco Cioci , Salvatore Tavano , Giuseppe Perazzini , Raymond Narac , Richard Lietz