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Fassler takes Audi provisional pole

Marcel Fassler, AudiMarcel Fassler took provisional pole for Audi in the penultimate qualifying session for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours, denying Peugeot glory in dramatic fashion.

Stephane Sarrazin looked for all the world as if he had secured the top spot for the home side only to have his 3m36.156s bested by Fassler's extraordinary lap just seconds later, with the #2 Audi's time a 3m25.961s.

Sarrazin, who had crossed the line moments before the chequered flag, went for it again, setting the fastest opening split time of 32.4s, only to run into traffic later in the lap - yet it was still good enough to be a 3m26.199s. You had to feel a bit for the Frenchman, for it wasn't the first time during the session that he'd been stymied in such a manner.

The three-time pole position sitter looked well on target to take the top spot 15 minutes earlier with a lap of 2m36.336s, only to then be usurped by his team-mate Marc Gene by 0.064s. Sarrazin then had another attempt about five minutes later but spun at the Dunlop chicane. He spun again on the following lap too.

So for now at least Sarrazin remains second, just over a tenth faster than the sister #7 car, thanks to Gene's earlier lap.

Allan McNish put the #3 Audi fourth fastest, having shot to the top of the times with a 3m27.602s. That effort remained the car's best lap of the session despite Tom Kristensen climbing aboard later on.

Romain Dumas also went fastest at one point, but drifted back to fifth with the #1 Audi in the last gasp kerfuffle. The #9 Peugeot, which for the first hour of qualifying had been fastest in the hands of Franck Montagny, was sixth fastest.

The Oreca 908 HDi FAP was seventh as Loic Duval lapped in an impressive 3m30.838s. Julien Jousse was the quickest petrol-runner for Pescarolo in eighth ahead of the two Rebellion Lolas which completed the top ten.

Soheil Ayari set the fastest LMP2 lap time of the week so far - a 3m41.458s - to lead the class for Signatech Nissan. Alex Premat was second quickest in the Oreca with Pierre Kaffer third in the Lola-Judd.

Gianmaria Bruni gave AF Corse Ferrari provisional pole in the GTE Pro class with a 3m58.040s lap the fastest achieved in the GTs so far - to force the #55 BMW of Jorg Muller into second position.

The sister BMW M3 was less fortunate, having ended its session a couple of feet shorter when Andy Priaulx crashed it at the Ford chicane, apparently having run over some debris or gravel and lost purchase. The furious multiple world touring car champion then remonstrated at the marshals for not warning him sooner that the hazard was there.

There were no other major incidents, though it must be said that both Aston Martin AMR Ones endured another torrid session with various problems. The #007 car ending it 21st, one place ahead of the #009 sister machine.


Pos  Cl     Drivers                       Team/Car                     Time
 1.  LMP1   Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer     Audi R18 TDI                 3m25.961s
 2.  LMP1   Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian   Peugeot 908                  3m26.156s
 3.  LMP1   Gene/Wurz/Davidson            Peugeot 908                  3m26.272s
 4.  LMP1   Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller   Audi R18 TDI                 3m27.602s
 5.  LMP1   Capello/Kristensen/McNish     Audi R18 TDI                 3m27.697s
 6.  LMP1   Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud        Peugeot 908                  3m28.739s
 7.  LMP1   Lapierre/Duval/Panis          ORECA Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP    3m30.084s
 8.  LMP1   Collard/Tinseau/Jousse        Pescarolo-Judd               3m33.066s
 9.  LMP1   Jani/Prost/Bleekemolen        Rebellion Lola-Toyota        3m33.982s
10.  LMP1   Belicchi/Boullion/Smith       Rebellion Lola-Toyota        3m34.892s
11.  LMP1   Monteiro/Moreau/Ragues        Oak Pescarolo-Judd           3m34.933s
12.  LMP1   Ickx/Martin/Leinders          Kronos Aston Martin          3m36.551s
13.  LMP1   Amaral/Pla/Hughes             Quifel-ASM Zytek             3m37.393s
14.  LMP2   Mailleux/Ordonez/Ayari        Signatech ORECA-Nissan       3m41.458s
15.  LMP1   Hein/Nicolet/Yvon             Oak Pescarolo-Judd           3m41.908s
16.  LMP2   Leventis/Watts/Kane           Strakka HPD ARX-01d          3m42.615s
17.  LMP2   Premat/Hallyday/Kraihamer     Oreca-Nissan                 3m43.098s
18.  LMP2   Perez Companc/Russo/Kaffer    Pecom Lola-Judd              3m43.223s
19.  LMP2   Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard    Greaves Zytek-Nissan         3m43.814s
20.  LMP2   Frey/Meichtry/Rostan          Race Performance ORECA-Judd  3m44.294s
21.  LMP2   Nakano/De Crem/Charouz        Oak Racing Pescarolo-BMW     3m45.297s
22.  LMP1   Mucke/Turner/Klien            Aston Martin AMR-One         3m46.450s
23.  LMP2   Erdos/Newton/Collins          RML HPD ARX-01d              3m47.308s
24.  LMP1   Zacchia/Lammers/Elgaard       Hope ORECA                   3m47.691s
25.  LMP1   Primat/Fernandez/Meyrick      Aston Martin AMR-One         3m48.355s
26.  LMP2   Rosier/Haezbrouck/Fournoux    Extreme Limite Norma-Judd    3m48.420s
27.  LMP2   Barlesi/Da Rocha/Lafargue     Oak Pescarolo-Judd           3m48.665s
28.  LMP2   Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa        Level 5 Lola-Honda           3m51.149s
29.  GTE P  Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander     AF Corse Ferrari             3m58.040s
30.  GTE P  Farfus/Muller/Werner          BMW M3                       3m58.426s
31.  GTE P  Priaulx/Muller/Hand           BMW M3                       3m59.321s
32.  GTE P  Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen      Farnbacher Ferrari           3m59.519s
33.  GTE P  Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook     Corvette C6 ZR1              3m59.519s
34.  GTE P  Beretta/Milner/Garcia         Corvette C6 ZR1              3m59.633s
35.  GTE P  Lieb/Lietz/Henzler            Felbermayr-Proton Porsche    3m59.662s
36.  GTE P  Ortelli/Makowiecki/Melo       Luxury Racing Ferrari        3m59.901s
37.  GTE P  Goossens/Holzer/Van Lagen     Prospeed Porsche             3m59.962s
38.  GTE P  Dolan/Hancock/Buncombe        Jota Aston Martin            4m00.747s
39.  GTE P  Bell/Sugden/Maasen            JMW Ferrari                  4m00.890s
40.  GTE P  Beltoise/Jakubowski/Thiret    Luxury Racing Ferrari        4m01.176s
41.  GTE P  Bergmeister/Long/Luhr         Flying Lizard Porsche        4m01.480s
42.  GTE P  Al Faisal/Tandy/Miller        Felbermayr-Proton Porsche    4m02.049s
43.  GTE P  Kauffman/Waltrip/Aguas        AF Corse Ferrari             4m02.216s
44.  GTE A  Perazzini/Cioci/Breslin       AF Corse Ferrari             4m02.539s
45.  GTE A  Felbermayr/Felbermayr/Ried    Felbermayr-Proton Porsche    4m03.532s
46.  GTE A  Bourret/Gibon/Belloc          Larbre Porsche               4m03.918s
47.  GTE A  Niemen/Law/Pumpelly           Flying Lizard Porsche        4m04.747s
48.  GTE A  Giroix/Goethe/Wainwright      Gulf Aston Martin            4m04.825s
49.  GTE A  Krohn/Jonsson/Rugulo          Krohn Ferrari                4m05.856s
50.  GTE A  Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel       Larbre Porsche               4m05.955s
51.  GTE P  Pilet/Narac/Armindo           IMSA Performance Porsche     4m06.438s
52.  GTE A  Rodrigues/Menahem/Marroc      JMB ORECA                    4m06.513s
53.  GTE A  Ehret/Lynn/Wills              CRS Ferrari                  4m07.236s
54.  GTE P  Rich/Slingerland/Hartshorne   Jetalliance Lotus Evora      4m07.465s
55.  GTE A  Robertson/Robertson/Murry     Robertson Racing Ford-Doran  4m08.208s
56.  GTE P  Hirschi/Rossiter/Mowlem       Jetalliance Lotus Evora      4m12.569s

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