Alexander Wurz in the ...
Alexander Wurz in the #9 Peugeot 908 HDi FAP led his teammates Pedro Lamy (#7) and Franck Montagny (#8) in this morning's 45-minute warmup session, a Peugeot 1-2-3 sweep with the fastest Audi R15 TDI only fourth.
If they can duplicate this result at 3:00 p.m. tomorrow afternoon then you might expect Serge Saulnier, team manager of Team Peugeot Total, to be satisfied.
For now, it is only important to see how the times stack up, at least for dry conditions. Rain is expected overnight and perhaps into tomorrow, but teams still wanted to take advantage of the extra practice opportunity as dry track time has been limited to just Thursday's qualifying session and about 90 minutes of the six-hour practice on Wednesday.
Wurz was quickest at a 3:26.793, setting the time only a few minutes before the checkers. He eclipsed Lamy's 3:27.193, which just beat out Montagny's 3:27.377. There were seven-tenths separating the three factory Peugeots with the customer #17 Pescarolo Peugeot 908 entry sixth on the charts in the capable hands of Jean-Christophe Boullion.
Although co-driver Simon Pagenaud has had an excellent 2009 season across the board, Boullion has been consistently the quickest of three drivers in that car this week.
The fastest Audi was Alexandre Premat in car #3, sharing of course with usual Porsche drivers Timo Bernhard and Romain Dumas. The sister #2 Audi completed the top five.
Class pole sitters Team Essex (LM P2) and Corvette Racing's #63 (LM GT1) paced their respective classes, with the #77 Felbermayr-Proton Porsche in the hands of Richard Lietz two seconds up on the #78 AF Corse Ferrari in GT2.
There were a number of offs, two in fact for the factory Audis. Tom Kristensen went straight off at Dunlop Curve and limped around to the pits, without much damage. The #2 though had a spin at Ford Chicane, Marco Werner losing the rear after getting a run on Patrick Dempsey. Dempsey earns a nomination for "best synchronized spinning performance" because he lost it as well in the sequence.
Pescarolo's own car, the #16 car with a Judd engine, had an off at Indianapolis with Christophe Tinseau driving and then proceeding to litter the track with gravel. The #11 Oreca 01 AIM of Olivier Panis and #14 Kolles Audi R10 TDI of Narain Karthikeyan also spun off.
Kolles may have found something to improve their race pace, as its quickest driver Christian Bakkerud was only 5.7 seconds off Wurz. In qualifying, the two Kolles Audis were 8.3 and 8.6 off the pace respectively, good enough only for 13th and 14th on the overall grid.
The roll-off of the 77th 24 Hours of Le Mans occurs at 3:00 p.m. local time this afternoon.