Allan McNish Wednesday qualifying report

Britain's Allan McNish set the fourth quickest time at the wheel of his diesel-engined Audi in the opening qualifying sessions for this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours (14-15 June). The 38-year-old Scotsman stopped the clock at 3min 24.105secs around...

Britain's Allan McNish set the fourth quickest time at the wheel of his diesel-engined Audi in the opening qualifying sessions for this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours (14-15 June).

The 38-year-old Scotsman stopped the clock at 3min 24.105secs around the 8.47-mile track during this evening's (WED) four hour session staged in warm, dry conditions.

Allan: "Tonight was the same picture we've had in the Le Mans Series this season where Peugeot are faster over one lap -- but I have to congratulate them with that mighty impressive lap time.

"It was clear we could not fight them in qualifying so we focussed very much on race set-up during the sessions. In race trim we'll be much closer to our qualifying pace which is the norm for us in LMS this season."

McNish, who is bidding for his second Le Mans victory 10 years after his first, plus co-drivers Tom Kristensen (Denmark) -- a record seven-time Le Mans winner -- and Dindo Capello (Italy) aim to score Audi's eighth Le Mans victory since the German manufacturer's debut in 1999.

The Audi of 2006 & '07 Le Mans race winners Frank Biela (D)/Emanuele Pirro(I)/Marco Werner (D) set the sixth fastest time (3:27.580) with the third "factory" R10 TDI of Lucas Luhr (D)/Mike Rockenfeller (D)/Alexandre Premat (F) fifth quickest (3:24.287).

Allan added: "I was pleased with the balance of our Audi which improved as the circuit's grip level increased. We got a good feeling on full tanks too. The second row of the grid was the best we could have hoped for."

All three "factory" Audi sports-prototypes used much of the session to tune their cars for the race as opposed to setting outright qualifying lap times.

Provisional pole-position is held by the Peugeot of Stephane Sarrazin (3:18.513secs) -- compared to McNish's 2007 lap record time of 3:27.176. A final four-hour time trial for grid positions is staged tomorrow (THURS) although the Audi's will be fitted with their race engines and are not therefore expected to improve on their times.

Audi's diesel-powered R10 TDI has won the Le Mans race for the past two years. The 76th Le Mans 24 Hour endurance begins at 2pm (BST) on Saturday and will feature 55-cars battling for honours. It is expected to be a twice-around-the-clock duel from start-to-finish between Audi and Peugeot.

-credit: adui uk

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Series Le Mans
Drivers Tom Kristensen , Allan McNish , Frank Biela , Stéphane Sarrazin , Lucas Luhr , Marco Werner , Alexandre Prémat , Mike Rockenfeller , Dindo Capello