MINASSIAN ON POLE POSITION Dominant during free practice on Saturday morning, Nicolas Minassian confirmed in qualifying the excellent time he set this morning, beating his team-mate Pedro Lamy in the sister Peugeot 908 HDi FAP by half a second,...
MINASSIAN ON POLE POSITION
Dominant during free practice on Saturday morning, Nicolas Minassian confirmed in qualifying the excellent time he set this morning, beating his team-mate Pedro Lamy in the sister Peugeot 908 HDi FAP by half a second, and ahead of the first Audi R10, driven by Rinaldo Capello by 1.723s. Just as in Barcelona, the two Peugeot 908 HDi FAPs will once again start from the front row for a 1000 km race that on the face of it would seem to be very promising.
This morning, Nicolas Minassian rounded off the free practice session with a time three seconds faster than the 2007 pole position set by Peugeot. He went out early in the qualifying session, but a fellow competitor's `off' at the second chicane brought fears of a red flag, so Serge Saulnier decided to bring him back into the pits. In the end, the track remained open and two 908 HDi FAPs came out almost simultaneously, Pedro Lamy just ahead of Nicolas Minassian. Following a lap time of 1m 32.731s set by Pedro, Nicolas responded immediately with a 1m 32.090s. On their second quick lap, both Peugeots improved, still with the advantage to Nicolas, a 1m 31.528s against Pedro's 1m 32.174s and finally on his third lap Nicolas took pole position in 1m 31.470s. After giving his tyres a chance to cool down over a slower lap, Pedro Lamy stayed out to have one final attempt, improving to 1m 31.957s, but he still had to settle for second fastest. Nicolas Minassian: "It's easy when you have a very good car! We worked well with Marc Gene and the team during the free practice sessions. Now that the car is reliable, we can explore the full potential of the 908, the car is really fast, the engine, chassis and brakes are fantastic."
Pedro Lamy: "We are a little faster than the Audis, but we still need to improve a bit. Nicolas had a better set-up, and despite a last attempt I wasn't able to threaten his time. " Serge Saulnier: "Overall the outcome today is very positive, because when we got to Monza we could have expected the gaps to the Audis to be smaller than at Barcelona. They remain quite substantial and I hope that this will give us a little room for manoeuvre during the pit stops or if there are safety car periods if there are any incidents in the race. Nicolas and Marc did a very good job in free practice, Nicolas was well-prepared for qualifying and he made the most of three clear laps, unlike Pedro who was slowed in traffic and had to have an extra attempt. All this work is encouraging for the race."
The 1000 km race starts on Sunday at 12.50pm local time and is televised live on Eurosport and Motors TV.