Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx final qualifying report

Veloqx Audi Squad Achieves Top Grid Positions Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx start the 72nd Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend (12-13 June) from first and second places on the 48-car grid. Having monopolized the provisional front row courtesy of Allan ...

Veloqx Audi Squad Achieves Top Grid Positions

Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx start the 72nd Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend (12-13 June) from first and second places on the 48-car grid. Having monopolized the provisional front row courtesy of Allan McNish (3:34.683) and Johnny Herbert (3:34.907) after Wednesday's opening time trials, the British duo again traded fastest times for the honour of starting from pole-position in the dying moments of Thursday's opening qualifying session.

Herbert and McNish both improved on their Wednesday times to edge closer to the Zytek which had gone fastest 83-minutes in to the session before Allan went back on pole - with four minutes remaining - only for Herbert, to stop the clock 0.209secs faster with a mere two minutes to run to the interval. But within nine minutes of the final two-hour session starting, Herbert further improved to a 3:32.838 on his first "flying lap".

Meanwhile the #8 Veloqx Audi remained in the pit-garage until the final 20mins of the final 120-minute time trial, a fuel injection pump problem prompting a precautionary engine change. The "British" Audi team is looking to repeat its Sebring 12 Hours (ALMS) and Monza 1,000km (LMES) victories - having started both of these races from pole.

Audi R8 - #8 (Qualified -- 2nd, 3:33.233 -- McNish)

Frank Biela (D). Age: 39. Born: Neuss, Germany. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:

"Whether we start the race from pole-position or second place is not an issue. I have the chance of scoring a fourth Le Mans win with Audi despite only making my debut here in 1999. A win on Sunday would definitely be as good as my first in 2000 and my last in '02. It's one of motorsport's great events and I love the challenge it offers."

Pierre Kaffer (D). Age 27. Born: Bad-Neuenahr-Ahrweiler, Germany. Lives: Burgbrohl, D:

"Three months ago, we started the #8 Audi from the front row [pole-position] for my first prototype race at Sebring and we won. Like Sebring, I have never raced here before so I hope recent history repeats itself. I've gained confidence with every lap over the past two days. I am just loving every moment of Le Mans - it is an unbelievable experience."

Allan McNish (GB). Age: 34. Born: Dumfries, Scotland. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:

"I felt a slight misfire and the team felt that it was best to take no chances whatsoever for the race so we immediately initiated an engine change during the interval. In some respects, it was a shame because I was looking forward to another crack at the pole but the priority is obviously the 24 hour race itself so you have to balance your focus."

Audi R8 - #88 (Qualified -- 1st, 3:32.838 -- Herbert)

Jamie Davies (GB). Age 30. Born / Lives: Charlton Adam nr Yeovil, England:

"I started from GTS pole here last year and won my class in the race - in car #88 so the omens are quite good. The last couple of days have been a good team effort, all of the drivers have gelled, we work very well together. We came here with a job to do and so far we've accomplished that but the hard work is still do be done."

Johnny Herbert (GB). Age 39. Born: Brentwood, England. Lives: Monte Carlo, Monaco:

"I'm obviously highly delighted at achieving my first-ever Le Mans pole-position - that had been missing from my CV. My lap before the break had been messy so I knew that barring a massive amount of traffic, I could go quicker on the re-start which I managed. I'm highly delighted with the way the qualifying has gone - I won from pole in Monza!"

Guy Smith (GB). Age 28. Born / Lives: Beverley, England:

"I've concentrated on our car's race set-up and we're happy with what has been achieved. We've done everything we needed to do, have gathered important data in very hot [yesterday] and cooler but dry conditions on Thursday. Obviously last year's Le Mans victory here was something very special and I'd love to repeat it."

Sam Li, Team Principal:

"All six drivers and our entire team have all worked brilliantly. Our qualifying performance over both days has been flawless - but now the hard work begins."

-audi uk-

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Johnny Herbert , Allan McNish , Guy Smith , Frank Biela , Jamie Davies , Pierre Kaffer