Find out more about our subscriptions

Sarrazin takes pole for Peugeot

Stephane SarrazinPeugeot's Stephane Sarrazin snatched pole from Audi driver Allan McNish after a spectacular battle in qualifying for the Petit Le Mans at Road Atlanta.

The duo staged an epic contest as Peugeot made their first American Le Mans Series appearance since Sebring in March, with the breathless qualifying session seeing new lap records in all four classes.

McNish held an early provisional pole, before Sarrazin edged ahead by 0.049 seconds. But the Scot responded with a 1:06.327 lap next time around, and although Sarrazin continually improved his own time and crept increasingly close to the Audi, it seemed as though Peugeot would fall short.

Then just as McNish returned to the pits believing his pole was safe, Sarrazin finally managed to beat the Audi, throwing in a 1:06.242 lap.

Marco Werner completed the overall top three in the second Audi R10 TDi.

Penske Porsche hold the advantage in the LMP2 battle after their expanded line-up took a one-two-three in class in qualifying.

Ryan Briscoe beat his title-chasing teammate Romain Dumas to class pole and fourth on the overall grid, with the pair having swapped provisional pole repeatedly before the IndyCar driver secured the top spot.

Sascha Maassen then responded to strong challenges from Andretti-Green Acura's Franck Montagny and de Ferran Acura's Simon Pagenaud to reclaim third in the class in the third Penske Porsche.

Adding to Penske's satisfaction, their LMP2 title rivals Highcroft Racing only managed seventh in class and 12th overall with David Brabham, and were the slowest of the four Acura teams.

It has been a bruising event so far for Acura, with the de Ferran, Highcroft and AGR cars all requiring substantial rebuilds after major crashes in either testing or practice.

The new LNT Ginetta Zytek had produced top four times in practice, but will start ninth overall in the hands of Danny Watts and Olivier Pla, just ahead of the lead Intersport Lola in the battle to be the fastest non-diesel LMP1 car.

In GT2, Risi Ferrari's Jaime Melo won a duel for class pole with Farnbacher Loles Porsche's Dirk Werner by a scant 0.057 seconds.

Dirk Muller claimed third in the Tafel Ferrari, just ahead of their title rivals Flying Lizard Porsche, as Jorg Bergmeister had to settle for fourth in class. Pierre Kaffer put the visiting JMB Ferrari fifth on the GT2 grid.

While the rest of the field grew in size for Petit Le Mans, the factory Corvettes had the GT1 class to themselves again. Johnny O'Connell beat teammate Oliver Beretta to class pole by 0.047 seconds.

Pos  Cl    Drivers                         Car                   Time
 1.  LMP1  Minassian/Sarrazin/Klien        Peugeot 908 HDi FAP   1:06.242
 2.  LMP1  Capello/McNish/Pirro            Audi R10 TDI          1:06.327
 3.  LMP1  Luhr/Werner                     Audi R10 TDI          1:06.818
 4.  LMP2  Castroneves/Briscoe             Porsche RS Spyder     1:07.061
 5.  LMP2  Bernhard/Dumas                  Porsche RS Spyder     1:07.149
 6.  LMP2  Maassen/Long/Collard            Porsche RS Spyder     1:07.401
 7.  LMP2  Montagny/Kanaan/Andretti        Acura ARX-01B         1:07.486
 8.  LMP2  De Ferran/Pagenaud/Dixon        Acura ARX-01B         1:07.656
 9.  LMP1  Watts/Pla                       Ginetta-Zytek 07S     1:07.660
10.  LMP1  Field/Field/Berry               Lola B06/10 AER       1:07.784
11.  LMP2  Fernandez/Diaz/Jourdain Jr      Acura ARX -01B        1:07.866
12.  LMP2  Brabham/Sharp/Franchitti        Acura ARX-01B         1:08.064
13.  LMP2  Dyson/Smith                     Porsche RS Spyder     1:08.175
14.  LMP2  Leitzinger/Franchitti/Lally     Porsche RS Spyder     1:08.446
15.  LMP2  Devlin/Bonilla                  Lola B07/46 Mazda     1:08.896
16.  LMP1  Campbell-Walter/Simpson/Primat  Creation CA07 Aim     1:09.402
17.  LMP1  Mowlem/Jeannette/Johansson      Zytek 07S Zytek       1:09.504
18.  LMP1  Lewis/Hines/Forgeois            Lola B07/17 Judd      1:09.785
19.  LMP1  Hall/Halliday/Stirling          Creation CA07 Aim     1:09.944
20.  GT1   O'Connell/Magnussen/Fellows     Chevrolet Corvette    1:16.542
21.  GT1   Beretta/Gavin/Papis             Chevrolet Corvette    1:16.589
22.  GT2   Melo/Salo                       Ferrari 430 GT        1:19.399
23.  GT2   Werner/Miller/Hardt             Porsche 911 GT3       1:19.456
24.  GT2   Farnbacher/Miller               Ferrari 430 GT        1:19.795
25.  GT2   Bergmeister/Henzler/Lieb        Porsche 911 GT3       1:19.885
26.  GT2   Aucott/Kaffer/Daoudi            Ferrari 430 GT        1:20.206
27.  GT2   Krohn/Jonsson/van de Poele      Ferrari 430 GT        1:20.667
28.  GT2   Gigliotti/Drissi/Goossens       Riley Corvette C6     1:20.743
29.  GT2   Drayson/Cocker/Turner           Aston Martin Vantage  1:20.940
30.  GT2   Milner/Hand/Wirth               Panoz Esperante Ford  1:21.419
31.  GT2   Robertson/Robertson/Murry       Doran Ford GT-R       1:21.438
32.  GT2   Pappas/Lazzaro/Pilgrim          Doran Ford GT-R       1:21.616
33.  GT2   Pastorelli/Basseng/Pastorelli   Porsche 911 GT3       1:21.876
34.  GT2   Feinberg/Hall                   Dodge Viper           1:22.302
35.  GT2   Figge/Tafel/Ehret               Ferrari 430 GT        1:23.096
36.  GT2   Law/Neiman/Pechnik              Porsche 911 GT3       1:23.589
37.  LMP1  McMurry/Burgess/Willman         Lola B06 10 AER       No time
38.  GT2   Van Overbeek/Pilet              Porsche 911 GT3       No time

  More news  
Read the AUTOSPORT Digital Edition
Visit the shop
See highlights from 60 years of AUTOSPORT
Audi take incredible Petit Le Mans win
Peugeot resist Audi at half-distance
Penske lead Petit Le Mans after hour 1
McNish crashes before Petit start
Corsa Zytek delay hybrid engine
Acura confident they can race Porsche
McNish: Peugeot should be nervous