Sam Hancock final qualifying report

Best ever grid slot for Hancock at Le Mans Sam Hancock will line up 9th for Saturday's 78th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours after mixed conditions blighted the four hours of qualifying at La Sarthe last night. The Aston Martin Racing factory...

Best ever grid slot for Hancock at Le Mans

Sam Hancock will line up 9th for Saturday's 78th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours after mixed conditions blighted the four hours of qualifying at La Sarthe last night.

The Aston Martin Racing factory driver was provisionally set to line up inside the top ten following Wednesday's first session held in fine and dry conditions. By way of contrast, yesterday brought with it a mix of heavy rain and gloomy skies over Le Mans and although conditions did improve throughout the day, the track remained greasy for much of the first two-hour session.

As such, neither Hancock nor team mates Darren Turner and Juan Barazi were able to improve their best time of 3m26.747s, leaving the #009 crew a tantalising 0.067sec adrift of their team mates in the sister Aston Martin LMP1 coupe.

And it was the same story in the second session, by which time darkness had descended over Le Mans. With the track all-but dry, it was a case of finding a clear lap for all 13.65km of the circuit, no mean feat when faced with slower prototype and GT cars to be potentially found around each corner.

Encouragingly, seven of the cars ahead are all running the diesel engines that have won Le Mans for the past four years, putting Hancock on the front row of the unofficial petrol class grid and indeed ahead of two further diesel entries.

Hancock: "I'm much happier than last night when I didn't feel that comfortable in the car at night, which usually isn't a problem. We altered the headlights so they were pointing at the apexes ahead of tonight and I felt a lot more confident. Our engineer is a bit of a legend as well and he's changed the car from being a bit nervous at the start of yesterday to fantastic, confidence inspiring, stable and good under braking.

"Tonight I had a good run at the start in the damp but drying conditions on slicks. The circuit wasn't ideal and it can be difficult to find the true pace but I knew we were somewhere near it as I could keep up with Tom Kristensen in the Audi R15. It was a great personal moment!"

Friday sees Sam and his Aston Martin Racing team mates greet the crowds in Le Mans' city centre at the traditional Drivers' Parade ahead of Saturday's race.

-source: sam hancock

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Darren Turner , Sam Hancock , Juan Barazi
Teams Aston Martin Racing