Team Bentley on pole for Le Mans 2003 Le Mans, 12th June 2003 ... Team Bentley's two Speed 8 prototypes will start this weekend's Le Mans 24-hour race from the front row of the grid. The number 7 car's provisional pole time of 3min 32.8sec, set...
Team Bentley on pole for Le Mans 2003
Le Mans, 12th June 2003 ... Team Bentley's two Speed 8 prototypes will start this weekend's Le Mans 24-hour race from the front row of the grid. The number 7 car's provisional pole time of 3min 32.8sec, set by Tom Kristensen yesterday evening, never looked in danger while the number 8 Bentley improved its time to 3min 35.1sec with Johnny Herbert at the wheel.
Once again both cars ran without serious problems, the only minor incident being when Tom Kristensen was forced to spin his Speed 8 to avoid a slower competitor. No significant damage was sustained. Though both cars did attempt fast laps, the focus of the evening was to perfect the race set up of both cars, not improving on what were already the fastest times.
"It is the perfect start for us," commented Bentley motorsport director Brian Gush, "but it is only a start. It's great to have confirmation that the team's efforts have produced the quickest car in the field, but it's a long race and I am just as pleased that we seem to have found good race set ups for both cars."
Tom commented, "It's great to get pole position at Le Mans for Bentley. I've tried a few times in the past and been fastest on the first day only to be beaten on the second, in the last two years by Dindo. So this year I insisted he was in the same car as me! I could have gone faster today, but traffic forced me to abort my lap in the last sector. Even so, the car's performance and the speed of my teammates gives me confidence for the race. I must also thank Michelin for some excellent tyres. The qualifiers I used are good for two laps which gives you a second chance if you hit bad traffic."
"My problems started in the pit-late," said Johnny. "I wanted to be at the front of the queue for the second session, but a recovery truck got in the way so I was stuck behind the Audis. I tried to let them get as far ahead as possible on my out-lap without being overtaken but I still caught them by the Porsche curves."