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Lotterer puts #1 Audi e-tron on top by 1.3 seconds in Le Mans opening practice

Andre Lotterer Audi R18Andre Lotterer put the #1 Audi e-tron on top by 1.3 seconds just as the chequered flag fell on the opening free practice session for the Le Mans 24 Hours on Wednesday.

Lotterer and fellow e-tron driver Tom Kristensen had engaged in a late battle for first place, with the German pipping the Dane by just over a tenth of a second 25 minutes from the end.

There was still more speed to come from the #1, though, as Lotterer demonstrated with a commanding 3m25.163s on his penultimate flying lap. Only traffic prevented an even quicker time on the next lap, as Lotterer set the best middle sector of the day before being delayed.

Although the e-trons were monopolising the leading positions by the end, both varieties of Audi and the Toyotas had also taken a number of turns on top as the four-hour session developed.

The #3 was the leading ultra in third place, 2.3s off the pace and 0.4s ahead of the sister #4 car.

Toyota's lead #7 car was fifth, 3.2s down on Audi's benchmark.

The #8 Toyota only managed five laps before developing a problem that stranded it on the Mulsanne straight, and required an engine change once it was brought back to the garage. The work should be completed in time for qualifying, but leaves the Anthony Davidson/Sebastien Buemi/Stephane Sarrazin crew very short on mileage and without a spare engine for the rest of the event.

Strakka's HPD was comfortably 'best of the rest' behind Audi and Toyota, with Danny Watts putting the car seventh overall, two seconds ahead of Pescarolo's Dome and the #12 Rebellion Lola-Toyota.

The leading few cars in the ultra-competitive LMP2 were covered by just a few tenths of a second until Ryan Dalziel moved the Starworks HPD 1.1s clear of its class rivals in the closing stages. The Jota Zytek-Nissan closed to within half a second in Sam Hancock's hands with two minutes to go, moments before Warren Hughes moved Murphy's ORECA-Nissan into third with another late improvement.

Just 0.082s covered the #24 OAK Morgan-Judd, #26 Signatech ORECA-Nissan and #45 Boutsen Ginion ORECA-Nissan in fourth, fifth and sixth places.

Aston Martin took early GTE Pro honours thanks to a 3m57.036s lap from Darren Turner. That put the car four tenths of a second ahead of the leading Luxury Ferrari, with the #74 car the top Corvette in third.

AF Corse's #51 Ferrari was fourth quickest, but will require substantial repairs before qualifying after Giancarlo Fisichella crashed at the Porsche Curves.

Fastest GTE Am car was the #79 Flying Lizards Porsche, in which Patrick Pilet lapped within 1.2s of the top GTE Pro time.

Although it lost some running with early electrical problems, the Nissan DeltaWing rejoined to set the 28th fastest time overall, ahead of six LMP2 cars. The DeltaWing lapped two seconds faster than its test day pace as it delivered a 3m43.576s, four seconds down on the LMP2 leaders.

Pos  Cl     Drivers                             Team/Car                     Time
 1.  P1     Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer           Audi e-tron                  3m25.163s
 2.  P1     Capello/Kristensen/McNish           Audi e-tron                  3m26.494s
 3.  P1     Dumas/Duval/Gene                    Audi Ultra                   3m27.494s
 4.  P1     Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller        Audi Ultra                   3m27.885s
 5.  P1     Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima              Toyota                       3m28.421s
 6.  P1     Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin             Toyota                       3m30.162s
 7.  P1     Leventis/Watts/Kane                 Strakka HPD                  3m31.651s
 8.  P1     Ara/Minassian/Bourdais              Pescarolo Dome-Judd          3m34.035s
 9.  P1     Prost/Jani/Heidfeld                 Rebellion Lola-Toyota        3m34.154s
10.  P1     Brabham/Chandhok/Dumbreck           JRM HPD                      3m34.641s
11.  P1     Belicchi/Primat/Bleekemolen         Rebellion Lola-Toyota        3m35.395s
12.  P1     Montagny/Baguette/Kraihamer         OAK Pescarolo-Judd           3m37.843s
13.  P1     Collard/Boullion/Hall               Pescarolo-Judd               3m39.656s
14.  P2     Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith    Starworks HPD-Honda          3m39.669s
15.  P2     Dolan/Hancock/Kurosawa              Jota Zytek-Nissan            3m40.167s
16.  P2     Firth/Hughes/Hartley                Murphy ORECA-Nissan          3m40.578s
17.  P2     Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla                  OAK Morgan-Judd              3m40.727s
18.  P2     Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov           Signatech ORECA-Nissan       3m40.734s
19.  P2     Briere/Petersen/Nakano              Boutsen ORECA-Nissan         3m40.809s
20.  P2     Perez-Companc/Ayari/Kaffer          Pecom ORECA-Nissan           3m41.008s
21.  P2     Ordonez/Brundle/Brundle             Greaves Zytek-Nissan         3m41.426s
22.  P2     Martin/Charouz/Graves               ADR ORECA-Nissan             3m41.660s
23.  P2     Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz                 Level 5 HPD-Honda            3m41.825s
24.  P2     Beche/Thiriet/Tinseau               TDS ORECA-Nissan             3m41.832s
25.  P2     Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian               Greaves Zytek-Nissan         3m42.371s
26.  P2     Heinemeier Hansson/Leinders/Martin  OAK Morgan-Nissan            3m42.439s
27.  P2     Sims/Buurman/Iannetta               Status Lola-Judd             3m43.554s
28.  CDNT   Franchitti/Krumm/Motoyama           Highcroft Delta Wing Nissan  3m43.576s
29.  P2     Mailleux/Lombard/Tresson            Signatech ORECA-Nissan       3m43.577s
30.  P2     Frey/Hirschi/Meichtry               Race Performance ORECA-Judd  3m43.751s
31.  P2     Giroix/Johansson/Badey              Gulf Lola-Nissan             3m45.829s
32.  P2     Holzer/Schultis/Moro                Kodewa Lola-Lotus            3m47.061s
33.  P2     Haezebrouck/Thirion/Papin           Extreme Limite Norma-Judd    3m48.380s
34.  P2     Deletraz/Ihara/Rostan               Gulf Lola-Nissan             3m50.666s
35.  GTE P  Fernandez/Mucke/Turner              Aston Martin                 3m57.036s
36.  GTE P  Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher          Luxury Ferrari               3m57.478s
37.  GTE P  Gavin/Milner/Westbrook              Corvette                     3m57.508s
38.  GTE P  Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander           AF Corse Ferrari             3m57.735s
39.  GTE A  Neiman/Pilet/Pumpelly               Flying Lizard Porsche        3m58.267s
40.  GTE P  Lieb/Lietz/Henzler                  Felbermayr-Proton Porsche    3m58.543s
41.  GTE A  Simonsen/Nygaard/Poulsen            Aston Martin                 3m58.753s
42.  GTE P  Bergmeister/Long/Holzer             Flying Lizard Porsche        3m58.930s
43.  GTE P  Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci             AF Corse Ferrari             3m59.135s
44.  GTE A  Belloc/Bourret/Gibon                Larbre Corvette              3m59.186s
45.  GTE P  Taylor/Garcia/Magnussen             Corvette                     3m59.480s
46.  GTE P  Walker/Cocker/Wills                 JMW Ferrari                  4m00.231s
47.  GTE A  Armindo/Narac/Pons                  IMSA Porsche                 4m00.800s
48.  GTE A  Ried/Roda/Ruberti                   Felbermayr-Proton Porsche    4m00.834s
49.  GTE P  Pilet/Curtis/Edwards/Estre          IMSA Porsche                 4m01.721s
50.  GTE A  Perazzini/Cadei/Griffin             AF Corse Ferrari             4m01.985s
51.  GTE A  Rodrigues/Ferte/Illiano             JMB Ferrari                  4m02.931s
52.  GTE A  Ehret/Montecalvo/Jeannette          Luxury Ferrari               4m03.215s
53.  GTE A  Kauffman/Aguas/Vickers              AF-Waltrip Ferrari           4m05.952s
54.  GTE A  Camathias/Daniels/Palttala          JWA Porsche                  4m05.977s
55.  GTE A  Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo                Krohn Ferrari                4m06.849s
56.  GTE A  Bourret/Gibon/Belloc                Larbre Corvette              4m07.566s

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