Sarrazin takes pole for Peugeot
|By Matt Beer||Friday, October 3rd 2008, 20:25 GMT|
Peugeot'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