Rain and race incidents meant that the drivers who began the traditional pole position chase this evening did not do so in the best conditions in the last two qualifying sessions for the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours. As a result the no. 2 Audi driven by Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish that was quickest on Wednesday evening will start from pole on Saturday 22nd June.
The weather didn’t help things in the second qualifying sessions on Thursday 20th June. At 18 h 45, just under 15 minutes before the green light unleashed the cars, a heavy shower soaked around two-thirds of the circuit. The drivers went out one by one on a very tricky track but they didn’t set any meangingful times. As the road began to dry out the no. 40 Oreca-Nissan went off on the Mulsanne straight at the second chicane leading to the session being red-flagged with around 32 minutes left.
At 23 h 17 with 43 minutes still to go the drivers started to chase the pole position again after more interruptions.
Finally, the fastest time on Wednesday in LM P1 was not beaten so on pole went to the no. 2 Audi (Duval, Kristensen, McNish) thanks to the Frenchman’s 3m22.439s on 19th June. The R18 e-tron-quattro will start in front of its two sister cars no. 1 (3m23.696s), which snatched second at the last moment thanks to André Lotterer who improved his Wednesday’s time, from no.3 (3m24.341s). The first TS030 Toyota Hybrid of Wurz, Lapierre and Nakajima (3m26.654s) will start the race in fourth place 4.3s off the quickest time.
In LM P2, Olivier Pla in the no. 24 Morgan-Nissan n°24 he shares with Alex Brundle and David Heinemeier Hansson clinched pole in the dying seconds in 3m38.621s from the no.26 l’Oreca 03-Nissan n°26 (3m39.535s) and the no. 38 Zytek-Nissan (3m40.459s).
As on Wednesday the LM GTE Pro category was dominated by Aston Martin, and no. 99 (Makowiecki, Senna, Bell), already quickest yesterday improve its time to 3m54.635s followed by another Aston no. 97 (3m55.455s) and the first Porsche n°92 in 3m55.491s. It was the same story in LM GTE Am thanks to Nygaard, Poulsen and Simonsen’s V8 Vantage (no. 95, 3m55.776s) from the no. 88 Porsche (3m58.889s) and the no. 96 Aston Martin Vantage V8 (3m59.805s).
The cars entered in the Le Mans 24 Hours will have a final 45-minute warm-up session on Saturday 22nd June at 9 h 00 before the start of the 90th anniversary race at 15 h 00.
An action-packed Friday!
There will be something happening on the track on Friday 21st June even if it’s not directly concerned with racing activities! The spectators have free rein and can walk on the hallowed Le Mans track in the middle of the cars that have written the legend of the race!
Homage to the cars of the legend
Since Wednesday 19th June the 11 cars, brought from all over the world, that have written the Le Mans legend are on show in a special exhibition hall in the Le Mans 24-Hours village open to the public. On 21st June, during the pit walk (the pit lane open to the public) from 10 00 to 18 h 00, they will be lined up on the track in the slope up to the Dunlop Bridge specially decorated for the occasion. After having a look at the pits the spectators can walk up this slope towards the Graal as at the top of the slope will sit the Le Mans 24 Hours Trophy in its Louis Vuitton case.
The traditional Drivers Parade will start from place de la République at 17 h 00 and end place des Comtes du Maine at 19 h 00. An exceptional festive rendezvous will be attended by around 150 000enthusiasts.