Highcroft moves to LMP2 provisional pole

In the second qualifying session for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Highcroft Racing team moved up to first in the LMP2 class. The Connecticut-based team is making its first appearance at the Sarthe circuit and yesterday's practice and first qualifying session were spent learning about its new low downforce bodywork on its HPD ARX-01c chassis.

#26 Highcroft Racing HPD ARX.01: David Brabham, Marino Franchitti, Marco Werner.
Photo by Eric Gilbert.

Early on Thursday evening, David Brabham turned a lap of 3:34.537, improving Highcroft's time by nearly three seconds and vaulting the team past Strakka Racing's ARX-01c, which held the provisional pole after Wednesday's two-hour qualifying sessions with a lap of 3:36.168.

The third and final two-hour session starts at 10 p.m. Thursday evening, leaving one final chance for teams to improve times prior to the grid being set for Saturday's start. Although rain was expected for Thursday, skies cleared before the 7 p.m. session started and conditions remained clear and cool until it ended at 9 p.m.

In the LMP1 category, there were no changes among the top 16 teams from Wednesday as teams concentrated on race set-ups. Rebellion Racing's No. 12 entry shared by Marco Andretti, Nicolas Prost and Neel Jani posted its first qualifying time after a broken suspension suffered in the first practice prevented the team from participating in Wednesday's session. That put the team 19th on the grid over-all and 17th in LMP1.

In GT1, the Marc VDS Racing team's Ford GT moved up to second on the provisional grid behind the Aston Martin DB9 entry of Young Driver AMR that retained the provisional pole. The VDS car is shared by Eric De Doncker, Bas Leinders and Marcus Palttala.

In GT2, the biggest improvement was made by the AF Corse SRL Ferrari team, which moved into second on the provisional grid behind the Risi Competizione Ferrari. The car shared by Jean Alesi, Giancarlo Fisichella and Toni Vilander gained nearly three seconds with a lap of 3:59.837 and moved up four positions.

Both BMW M3 Team Schnitzer entries improved considerably from Wednesday's first session. The No. 78 BMW shared by Jorg Muller, Uwe Alzen and Augusto Farfus dropped 2.893 seconds off its best time with a lap of 4:01.893. The No. 79 entry shared by Dirk Werner, Andy Priaulx and Dirk Muller improved by 2.636 seconds with a lap of 4:03.215.