Larbre third after Wednesday qualifying Larbre Competition's Saleen S7R set the third fastest GT1 time in Wednesday's first qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours. However, the team missed the chance to defeat the factory Corvettes...
Larbre third after Wednesday qualifying
Larbre Competition's Saleen S7R set the third fastest GT1 time in Wednesday's first qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
However, the team missed the chance to defeat the factory Corvettes and take provisional pole position after a gear selector problem lost them time in the pits during the fastest section of the session and then red flags spoiled Christophe Bouchut's later flying laps.
Bouchut, who took pole position for the team in the race last year, set a best time time of 3:50.920, just a few tenths off the pace of the second placed works Corvette and a whole 1.3 seconds faster than the leading works Aston Martin.
He was immediately quick during the session and topped the GT1 timesheets after the first two hours, before the #63 Corvette took provisional pole position in the second part of qualifying while Larbre's Saleen was in the pits. Patrick Bornhauser also showed good consistent pace during his short stint, but David Hallyday was unfortunate to only manage a single lap at the wheel before the session was ended by a red flag.
Team Principal Jack Leconte said: "We showed we were competitive during the Test Day and we proved it again at the end of the first part of the qualifying session by holding the quickest time. Unfortunately a problem with the gear selector lost us time and saw both Corvettes set quicker laps. After that we had non-stop disruptions due to red flags and oil on the track which prevented us going quicker.
"We still have two sets of qualifying tyres left and have a plan to beat the Corvettes on Thursday, but we'll wait and see what the track conditions are like first. What's certain is we've made a step forward from last year as our Saleen is ahead of all of the Aston Martins, which we ran in 2007."
Christophe Bouchut was philosophical about missing provisional pole: "It's one of those things that you really want to achieve, but at Le Mans, if it doesn't happen, it's better to just forget about it and prepare for the race. Third fastest isn't bad for a privateer team and although we'll try to improve tomorrow, it will be much harder as the forecast is for rain."
Patrick Bornhauser explained the team's strategy during Wednesday's session: "The idea was to dedicate most of Wednesday to Christophe so he could set a quick qualifying time while David and I planned to do four or five laps in each two hour session. I was happy with my times because they were all within the same second, and that consistency is crucial for the race."
David Hallyday was unfortunate to miss out on any significant track time due to an incident packed second session. "Well I managed a single warm up lap, and the car felt fine, but apart from that there isn't much for me to say! Thursday should see me have much more time in the car and so I'm looking forward to that."