Lapierre gives ORECA Silverstone pole

ORECA driver Nicolas Lapierre claimed a clear pole position for the AUTOSPORT 1000km at Silverstone

Lapierre gives ORECA Silverstone pole

Lapierre improved on his free practice best by a second and a half on the way to a 1m32.798s benchmark, which put his AIM-engined ORECA 01 on pole by nearly a second. That compared with second-placed Stefan Mucke's 1m33.714s lap in the championship-leading #007 Lola-Aston Martin.

"We've had a big update to the rear aero, which was very last minute," said Lapierre as he celebrated his second Le Mans Series pole in a row, having also taken the top spot for the Algarve round before his team skipped the Nurburgring race. "We spent free practice balancing the car and it was getting better and better through the sessions."

Any disappointment that the Aston crew felt at missing out on pole will be tempered by the fact that their title rivals at Pescarolo will start at the back. Jean-Christophe Boullion went off at Becketts before he could set a competitive time.

Darren Turner ended up third fastest in the second AMR Lola-Aston LMP1 coupe with a time nine tenths slower than team-mate Mucke. Andrea Belicchi was less than half a tenth behind in fourth place aboard the Speedy/Sebah Lola-Aston.

Greg Mansell, who is sharing the Team LNT Ginetta-Zytek with father Nigel and Lawrence Tomlinson, ended up fifth in the times. He qualified just ahead of fellow Briton Andy Meyrick in the best of the Kolles Audis. The sister car will be at the tail of the field after Christijan Albers crashed. The Strakka Ginetta Zytek, which failed to start for the session, joins the Kolles car and the Pescarolo at the back.

Olivier Pla was more than a second faster than his nearest rival in LMP2. His ASM Team Ginetta-Zytek claimed the class pole with a 1m36.092s, which compared with second fastest Jonny Kane's 1m37.128s best in the Speedy/Sebah Lola-Judd.

Laurent Groppi bagged a second consecutive class pole after a battle involving all three cars on the GT1 entry. The Larbre Saleen edged out Peter Kox in the Gigawave Aston Martin by just 0.082s, while the Aston was only 0.052s ahead of Yann Clairay in the Alphand Corvette.

Pole position gave Richard Lietz one of the two points he and Felbermayr-Proton Porsche team-mate Marc Lieb need to secure the GT2 crown. The Austrian driver ended up two tenths ahead of Gianmaria Bruni in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari.

Pos Drivers Cl Car Time 1. Panis/Lapierre LMP1 ORECA 01-AIM 1m32.798s 2. Charouz/Enge/Mucke LMP1 Lola Aston Martin 1m33.714s 3. Primat/Turner LMP1 Lola Aston Martin 1m34.618s 4. Belicchi/Fassler/Prost LMP1 Lola Aston Martin 1m34.654s 5. Tomlinson/Mansell/Mansell LMP1 Ginetta-Zytek 1m35.296s 6. Karthikeyan/Meyrick/Zwolsman LMP1 Audi 1m35.522s 7. Buncombe/Hall/Ramos LMP1 Lola Aston Martin 1m36.014s 8. Amaral/Pla LMP2 Ginetta Zytek 1m36.092s 9. Ragues/Mailleux LMP1 ORECA Judd 1m36.292s 10. Kane/Leuenberger/Pompidou LMP2 Lola Judd 1m37.128s 11. Erdos/Newton LMP2 Lola Mazda 1m37.280s 12. Ojjeh/Gosselin/Peter LMP2 Zytek 1m38.210s 13. Manning/Firth/Hughes LMP2 WF01 Zytek 1m38.810s 14. Salini/Salini/Gommendy LMP2 WR Zytek 1m39.096s 15. Lahaye/Ajlani LMP2 Pescarolo Mazda 1m39.396s 16. Nicolet/Hein LMP2 Pescarolo Mazda 1m40.116s 17. Cavailhes/Da Rocha/Ibanez LMP2 Courage AER 1m41.922s 18. Bruneau/Greaves/Sini LMP2 Radical AER 1m42.340s 19. Jorda/Cortes/Nieto LMP2 Lucchini Judd 1m43.470s 20. Schell/Thirion/Metz LMP2 Courage AER 1m44.486s 21. Berville/Dumez/Groppi GT1 Saleen S7R 1m45.714s 22. Sharp/Kox GT1 Aston Martin 1m45.796s 23. Clairay/Jousse/Goueslard GT1 Corvette 1m45.848s 24. Lieb/Lietz/Felbermayr Sr GT2 Porsche 1m48.638s 25. Bell/Bruni GT2 Ferrari 1m48.830s 26. Pilet/Narac GT2 Porsche 1m48.984s 27. Garcia/Mansell/Melo GT2 Ferrari 1m49.358s 28. Kaffer/Montanari GT2 Ferrari 1m49.570s 29. Cocker/Drayson GT2 Aston Martin 1m49.594s 30. Rosa/Montermini/Cadei GT2 Ferrari 1m49.612s 31. Ehret/Farnbacher/Beltoise GT2 Ferrari 1m50.062s 32. Coronel/Janis GT2 Spyker 1m50.342s 33. Griffin/Bamford GT2 Ferrari 1m50.710s 34. Hartshorne/Kutemann/Daoudi GT2 Ferrari 1m51.126s 35. Ried/Felbermayr Jr/Martins GT2 Porsche 1m52.176s 36. Tenchini/Basso/Plati GT2 Ferrari 1m52.630s 37. Palttala/Daniels/Rich GT2 Porsche 1m52.920s 38. Boullion/Tinseau LMP1 Pescarolo-Judd 5m31.444s 39. Albers/Bakkerud LMP1 Audi 5m59.292s 
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