June 20, 2013, Le Mans, France: Indian racing driver Karun Chandhok and his team Murphy Prototypes finished the first day of practice and qualifying at the La Sarthe circuit in the build up to the Le Mans 24 hours. Chandhok's team Murphy Prototypes set a time of 3:44.538 to provisionally qualify in 17th place overall, and 9th in their category. The trio of Brendon Hartley, Mark Patterson and Karun Chandhok will drive the iconic Le Mans 24 hours race in the LMP2 Nissan V8-powered Oreca 03 with Murphy Prototypes. The opening qualifying session finished early due to barrier damage at the second Mulsanne chicane, cutting short the session by 55 minutes.

In the first practice session, which was held in the evening, the team were placed in 23rd position with Mark Patterson behind the wheel. The morning was full of of rain and hail storms which meant there was lack of grip in the first practice session. Patterson did the complete practice session before Chandhok took over for the first qualifying practice session. Chandhok focused on setting up the car for the race and did a fastest time of 3:44:538.

#48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03-Nissan: Mark Patterson, Karun Chandhok, Brendon Hartley
#48 Murphy Prototypes Oreca 03-Nissan: Mark Patterson, Karun Chandhok, Brendon Hartley

Photo by: Eric Gilbert

Chandhok, who is supported by JK Tyre and Tag Heuer, was happy with the session but was clear that there was a lot more work to do. He commented, "It was OK, there wasn’t really time for quali laps as we were still on reasonably used tyres. We were still doing race set-up because of the red flags, so we didn’t have time to do anything, neither Brendon nor I did any laps in the daylight. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t do any in the night either because of the red flag. It was pretty crazy how much time we lost, so we just focused on race set-up. We’re not bad, but we’ve got work to do and we’ll do what we have to do.”

Brendon Hartley did not get much running but was optimistic of a good weekend ahead. He said, “I was planning to do the last 45 minutes this evening and get some laps in, but another red flag and they cancelled the session. I think we’re in good shape though, Karun was in P9 and we weren’t really pushing for quali laps at that point, but I’m sure others have a similar story. We’re feeling reasonably confident, I’m not too worried that I haven’t done any laps yet in the dry, I’ve driven this car enough times and I know the circuit, so I hope to be on it straight away.”

Team Principla Greg Murphy felt the LMP2 category will be one of the most closely contested this weekend with nothing to choose from. He commented, “It’s going to be a scrap in LMP2, there are so many teams here that can win this race but we’re here to fight, we’re here to win. So we’ll see. We typically don’t go all out for Qualifying, especially in the toughest 24 hour race in the world, but we’ll to get ourselves into a reasonable position, it won’t be a banzai, but yeah we’d like to move up the grid a bit.”

Karun Chandhok