Circuit de la Sarthe
First blood to Sarrazin
Audi dominated the free practice session yesterday between 16h00 and 20h00, and continued in the same vein when qualifying (22h00-midnight) began until Stéphane Sarrazin put the no. 8 Peugeot 908 on top of the time sheets!
The first qualifying session on Wednesday was an incident-packed one with several offs and a few big accidents, luckily without injury.
LM P1. Audi continued its domination begun in free practice. However, the nighttime qualifying session was perturbed by several offs and an accident involving the no. 1 Audi and the no. 60 Aston Martin Gulf AMR, which forced Race Control to hang out the red flag. Romain Dumas, who was at the wheel of the German car at the time, had a big scare and the crash put an end to qualifying for his no. 1 Audi R18. The Ingolstadt make topped the time sheets for most of the session until the final thirty minutes when Peugeot wheeled out its pole specialist, Stéphane Sarrazin who put in a flyer. The German trio had to be content with second, third and fourth places while showing great potential. Thus provisional pole went to Peugeot whose other two cars, nos 7 and 9, finished in fifth and sixth spots driven by Marc Gené and Simon Pagenaud at the end of the session.
LM P2. The baby prototype qualifying session was stopped just before midnight when the n° 42 Strakka Racing entry was the victim of a huge shunt. The HPD ARX prototype was destroyed in the crash. It had set the quickest time in its category ahead of the two Oreca-Nissan prototypes. The battle in this category looks like being a very intense one.
LM GTE Pro. There was a great scrap between the works BMWS and the Fisichella-Bruni-Vilander Ferrari F458 GTC. Joey Hand in his BMW M3 had the final word and beat the Italian car and the other BMW driven by Augusto Farfus at the end of the session,who finished almost a second off his team-mate.
LM GTE Am. The French-entered Porsche 911 RSR (997) driven by French trio Belloc/Bourret/Gibon (Larbre Compétition) set the quickest time in the category taking advantage of the Aston Martin Gulf AMR’s accident at Mulsanne. The English car was credited with the second-quickest time set early on in the session.
This promises a no-holds-barred battle today, Thursday, in the second qualifying session (19h00-21h00 and 22h00-Midnight). All the more so as rain is expected!