Michelin final qualifying report

An all Bentley-Michelin front row for Saturday's start. Bentley and Michelin have celebrated the first year of their new association in assertive style by monopolising the front row of the grid for the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours which kicks off on...

An all Bentley-Michelin front row for Saturday's start.

Bentley and Michelin have celebrated the first year of their new association in assertive style by monopolising the front row of the grid for the 2003 Le Mans 24 Hours which kicks off on the stroke of 4 p.m. Saturday...

The fastest time in qualifying was the work of Denmark's Tom Kristensen who set a 3m32s843 (average speed: 230kph) on Wednesday evening's opening qualifying session at the wheel of the N°7 Bentley he shares with Rinaldo Capello and Guy Smith. Alongside them for Saturday's rolling start, this trio will find the sister car of David Brabham, Johnny Herbert and Mark Blundell who succeeded in slightly closing the gap early in the second half of Thursday's session.

In the wake of the British machines, the N°15 Dome Judd-Michelin of Jan Lammers/John Bosch/Andy Wallace caused something of a surprise by claiming the 4th fastest time to split the three Audi-Michelins (3rd, 5th and 6th) on the grid.

As was the case in May's pre-qualifying session, Michelin runners filled the top eleven places on Wednesday and Thursday evening's combined timesheets, while the French tyre firm was also quickest in the LM GTS and LM GT categories with the N°88 Ferrari of Kox/Enge/Davies (20th time overall) and the N°93 Porsche of Luhr/Maassen/Collard (34th).

Development never stops. Michelin's technical staff was delighted with the performance of its new product developed for the two Bentleys based on data collected during last May's pre-qualifying session. "The two days of qualifying saw both cars run this new tyre which completes the range the drivers of cars N°s7 and 8 will be able to choose from during the weekend," declared Michelin Competition's circuit racing manager, Matthieu Bonardel, at the end of Thursday's session. "Our validation work yesterday and today confirmed a significant performance gain in the mid ambient temperature range."

-michelin-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Andy Wallace , Johnny Herbert , David Brabham , Tom Kristensen , Guy Smith , John Bosch