Michelin Thursday qualifying report

It's looking pretty good for Michelin. Once again the weather decided to take a hand in proceedings as the 55 teams prepared to do battle in the second qualifying session for the Le Mans 24-Hour race. A short, sharp shower soaked the...

It's looking pretty good for Michelin.

Once again the weather decided to take a hand in proceedings as the 55 teams prepared to do battle in the second qualifying session for the Le Mans 24-Hour race. A short, sharp shower soaked the circuit just before the pit lane opened at 7 pm, which meant the competitors had to go out on a drying track.

For most teams, however, this session wasn't about chasing quick times, it was more a matter of putting in some hard work ahead of the race itself. Nevertheless, the famous Sarthe circuit still had some surprises in store. The Oreca Courage cars, for instance, flirted with the barriers, while Zonta's no.9 Peugeot and Stuart Hall's Creation both went off. And Michelin claimed first place in every one of the four classes.

Time, then, for Michelin's 4-wheel competitions manager Matthieu Bonardel to take stock.

"That little shower before the session got under way cleared the air," he said, "and we began the session in temperatures similar to those we had encountered near the end of the previous day. That gave us some continuity in our work, and helped us learn more about tyre use in lower temperatures and how best to switch between the medium and soft compounds."

What was the main focus in this second session?

Matthieu Bonardel : "The teams put in a lot of laps. Some of the prototypes were trying for times, and that was certainly the case with the Lola. It was a very helpful session on the endurance front and for assessing the whole range of tyres. Both the prototypes and the GT runners were doing double stints to compare how the medium and soft compounds reacted, and what we found was that there was no performance drop-off by the end of the second stint. So we know the medium tyres will be able to run deep into the night."

Has qualifying given us a true picture of the running order?

Matthieu Bonardel : "It's a game that always leaves some happy and some not so happy, and it's probably fair to say that the classification doesn't entirely reflect reality. But one thing's for certain - these cars are all superbly prepared. The first two hours of the race will tell us a lot. We've had a very wet test day, a warm first qualifying session and unsettled conditions in the second, which has given us a range of data we hadn't been able to see till now. We've learned a tremendous amount about what tyres to choose and when to use them. And it's looking pretty good for Michelin."

Results by categories:
LMP1 Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP N8: 3'18''513
LMP2 Porsche Spyder RS N34: 3'32''301
GT1 Corvette Racing N63: 3'47''668
GT2 Porsche IMSA Performance N76: 3'58''152

-credit: michelin

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About this article
Series Le Mans
Drivers Stuart Hall
Teams Corvette Racing