Audi closes the gap in morning warmup

In today's morning warmup session at the Le Mans 24 Hours, Peugeot was still heading the time sheets, but the Audis were just half a second behind the slowest of the Peugeots.

#9 Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908: Franck Montagny, Ricardo Zonta, Christian Klien.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

Audi had resigned themselves to the fact that the Team Peugeot Total's 908 HDi-FAPs had the edge in qualifying pace and had concentrated on getting the most out of the car in race trim. It would indeed appear that in race trim the two are much closer. Allan McNish, talking to Radio Le Mans said, "The car is as good as last year. We are in the fight."

The fastest of the Audis, the No. 2 car of McNish, Rinaldo Capello and Tom Kristensen put in a best time of 3:23.319. This compares well to the slowest of the Peugeots, the No. 7 car driven by Nicolas Minassian, Marc Gene and Jacques Villeneuve, which clocked a best time of 3:22.874. Even the fastest of the Peugeots, the No. 9 of Franck Montagny, Ricardo Zonta and Christian Klien, was now only three seconds away with a time of 3:20.332 in race trim.

The Peugeot went well in the practice and appeared not to have any mechanical problems at all. When the No. 9 car was rolled into the garage during the session, the only mechanic working on the car was polishing it.

The No. 14 Creation Autosportif was back on the track in the later part of the session. It was extensively damaged in the third qualifying session and subsequently rebuilt. It refused to start initially, but by the end of the session was putting in times in the 3:50s.

The No. 19 Chamberlain-Synergy Motorsport Lola B06/10 was also running well after extensive mechanical work following the qualifying session.