Series Paul Ricard qualifying report

Paul Ricard HTTT

Neel Jani bags pole for Rebellion Racing at Le Castellet

#12 Rebellion Racing Lola B10/60 Coupé - Toyota: Nicolas Prost, Neel Jani
#12 Rebellion Racing Lola B10/60 Coupé - Toyota: Nicolas Prost, Neel Jani

Photo by: DPPI

Neel Jani topped the time sheets in qualifying for the Le Castellet 6 Hours. By bagging pole for the first round of the 2011 Le Mans Series, the Swiss driver helped Rebellion Racing to confirm its title ambitions.

Jani edges out Collard and Boullion for pole

Jani had to fight hard for pole. Jean-Christophe Boullion in the no. 13 Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota was the first to lay down a marker with a time of 1m 49.387s, which he then improved to 1m 48.491s. Jani in the no. 12 Lola-Toyota beat his team-mate, and then it was Emmanuel Collard‘s turn to top the time sheets in his no. 16 Pescarolo-Judd in 1m 47.374s.

As the session neared its end the Frenchman got round in 1m 47.025s. Jani then gave his all and snatched pole with a lap in 1m 46.783s. This feat helped Rebellion Racing to lay down a marker even though its rivals are not far off the pace, and the Aston Martin AMR-One still has to show its full potential (the Pescarolo-Judd was disqualified in post-qualifying scrutineering).

LM P2: Beche takes pole for TDS Racing

Mathias Beche, who was already quick in the free practice sessions, continued to impress with TDS Racing, a newcomer to endurance racing. The Swiss driver in the no. 46 Oreca 03-Nissan was fastest in LM P2 with a lap in 1m 48.928s beating Dominik Kraihamer in the no. 45 Oreca 03-Nissan entered by Boutsen Energy Racing, who got round in 1m 49.692s. The two teams, which battled in the Eurocup Mégane Trophy, have renewed their scrap in LM P2.

Bruni tames his rivals in LM GTE Pro

There was little suspense in the LM GTE category. In the opening minutes of qualifying, the very experienced Gianmaria Bruni bagged pole in the no. 51 AF Corse-entered Ferrari F458 Italia in 1m 58.522s. Into second came Tomas Enge in his Aston Martin Vantage.

LM GTE Am : Armindo takes pole Nicolas Armindo in the no. 67 IMSA Performance Porsche 911 GT3 RSR made a big impression, and topped the time sheets in LM GTE Am in 1m 59.370s beating several of the Pro teams in the process.

It's all new to me! I'm delighted with this pole.

Nicolas Marroc

Formula Le Mans: Marroc scores a maiden pole

Nicolas Marroc, who raced in the F3 Euro Series last year, saw his former rivals doing battle at Le Castellet before taking part in his first qualifying session in endurance. In the Hope Racing FLM-Oreca 09, the Frenchman surprised everybody by scoring his maiden pole in 1m 53.659s. He set the time at the very end of the session beating Genoa Racing's Elton Julian.

Reactions :

Neel Jani: “It's a good start. After all the reliability problems we had last year and following the numerous changes we've made, this pole's a big boost. But the other LM P1s aren't too far behind. It makes for a very exciting race!”

Nicolas Marroc: “I'm new to the team, to endurance in a new category with a new car. It's all new to me! I'm delighted with this pole on my debut and I'd like to thank Hope Racing. But even if I was quick over a lap, we've still got to make it to the end of six hours racing tomorrow.”

Gianmaria Bruni: “It's my first pole in the F458 Italia. The car felt good today. Up till now we didn't really know where we stood in relation to the others. Giancarlo (Fisichella) has done a huge amount of work on the car's setup and that been a big help!”

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About this article
Series European Le Mans
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , Tomas Enge , Emmanuel Collard , Jean-Christophe Boullion , Neel Jani , Elton Julian , Nicolas Prost , Dominik Kraihamer , Nicolas Marroc , Nicolas Armindo , Mathias Beche
Teams Rebellion Racing , AF Corse , TDS Racing
Tags le mans series, paul ricard, season opener