Audi dominates first Le Mans session

The first session of the 2000 Le Mans 24 Hours prequalifying was dominated by the pre-race favourites Audi. The silver cars, seen for the first time since finishing 1-2 at the Sebring 12 Hours in March, followed up their Florida victory by clocking the top three times. However, with almost all teams complaining of a very dirty track the times from the two hour session were dubbed 'meaningless' by most.

Audi dominates first Le Mans session

Despite being without Dane Tom Kristensen (who is away on British Touring Car Championship duties) the fastest time around the 8.45-mile track was set by the Sebring- winning car of Frank Biela and Emanuele Pirro. "All three cars ran without problems this morning," said Audi Sport head Dr. Wolfgang Ulrich. "The only disappointment was that the track was slippery caused by dirt and then oil later. This morning we ran different programmes on all three cars and everything worked well."

The biggest shock was the Team Rafanelli Lola in fourth. The team reported no real problems and put in a significant amount of laps to dial in not just the car but the mechanics too.

The French DAMS team managed to eclipse the factory Cadillacs with fifth and seventh fastest time. Factory driver Andy Wallace had problems with the new Cadillac gearbox.

The Johansson-Matthews team set a competitive sixth fastest time after having the car almost totally refettled by Reynard over the last month. "We have a lot of work to do," said Stefan Johansson. "It's a pretty steep learning curve at the moment, but we do have reasonable straight-line speed."

Philippe Gache's debut in the Courage C60 will have pleased him after setting eighth fastest time. The car is set to make its race debut at Silverstone's European Le Mans Series race in two weeks time.

The five Panoz cars were experiencing a range of set-up problems, which delayed them, but the team was confident it would be on the pace come the end of the second two-hour session this afternoon. "You have to ballpark the car where we should be after last year," said Johnny O'Connell, who clocked the 12th fastest time. "But every year the variables such as the Michelin tyres are different. So the first two hours is just laying rubber down and setting up seeing how much work we have to do. Then this afternoon will be more representative and we'll get a better idea of where we'll be for the race."

British marque Ascari failed to appear after a gearbox problem and Harrier also missed the first session.

LEADING TIMES: LE MANS PRE QUALIFYING,
FIRST SESSION

Pos Car No Team Car Drivers Time
1 8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8 Biela/Pirro 3m37.35s
2 7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8 Alboreto/Abt/Capello 3m38.46s
3 9 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R8 McNish/Aiello/Ortelli 3m40.02s
4 21 Team Rafanelli Lola B2K/10 Schiattarella/de Radigues 3m43.19s
5 3 DAMS Cadillac Bernard/Collard/Montagny 3m44.34s
6 24 Johansson/Matthews Reynard-Judd Matthews/Johansson/Smith 3m44.41s
7 4 DAMS Cadillac Goosens/Tinseau/Kolby 3m44.84s
8 17 SMG Courage C60 Gache/Formato 3m45.73s
9 20 Konrad Motorsport LolaB2K/10 Coronel/Lammers 3m46.10s
10 23 TV Asashi Team Dragon Panoz LMP Kageyama/Kageyama 3m46.53s
11 2 Bill Riley Cadillac Angelelli/Taylor/van der Poele 3m46.74s
12 12 Panoz Motorsports Panoz LMP Katoh/O'Connell/Raphanel 3m47.18s
13 11 Panoz Motorsports Panoz LMP Brabham/Magnussen/Andretti 3m47.61s
14 10 Team Den Bla Avis Panoz LMP Nielsen/Thyrring 3m48.14s
15 1 Bill Riley Cadillac Lagorce/Leitzinger/Wallace 3m48.39s
16 16 Pescarolo Sport Courage C52 Clerico/Grouillard/Bordais 3m48.68s
17 15 Thomas Bsher Promotion BMW LM Bscher/Lees/Gounon 3m49.04s

shares
comments
Pre-qualifying 'as significant as ever'

Previous article

Pre-qualifying 'as significant as ever'

Next article

Le Mans prequalifying session 2

Le Mans prequalifying session 2
Load comments
The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever Plus

The unwanted GT car that changed sportscar racing forever

Had FIA GT boss Stephane Ratel had his way, the Maserati MC12 would never have been allowed to set foot in his series. It duly proved the class of the field that most had expected, but the Balance of Performance that its superiority spawned would keep GT1 battles tight and bring long-term benefits that sportscar racing enjoys today

GT
Sep 21, 2021
Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage Plus

Why Britain's greatest sportscar was eclipsed on the world stage

The E-Type may be the most famous of all road-going Jaguars, but that didn't always translate into success on the track. After winning on its competition debut in 1961, motorsport success seemed an inevitability, but things didn’t turn out to be quite that straightforward

GT
Aug 6, 2021
Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60 Plus

Why the Jaguar E-type remains special at 60

It’s 60 years since the Jaguar E-type arrived and caused a sensation. As our resident racer Ben Anderson discovered when he got behind the wheel of two special racing versions at Brands Hatch, the thrill of driving them hasn't diminished over time

GT
Jul 31, 2021
The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat Plus

The rise of a GT squad responsible for a unique 24-hour racing feat

It's a significant achievement to win one 24-hour race in a year, let alone two, and with different manufacturers, but that's exactly what ROWE Racing did in 2020 at the Nurburgring and Spa. This weekend's German classic offers the DTM newcomer a chance of another unique double to add to its growing collection of accolades

GT
Jun 3, 2021
The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story Plus

The new threat facing motorsport's greatest success story

The manufacturers were unconvinced – and even hostile – when Stephane Ratel launched GT3 in 2006. Now, 15 years on from its debut, they’ve sold more than 2000 cars and counting, but its continued expansion puts the increasingly globalised category at risk of losing its roots

GT
May 25, 2021
The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT Plus

The Lamborghini teams plotting to stop a RAM raid on British GT

With the Silver pairings that dominated 2020 now banned, Mercedes pair Yelmer Buurman and Ian Loggie could be in the box seat after winning last year's Pro-Am crown. But a swarm of Lamborghinis, with the defending outright champion among them, will ensure they face tough opposition

GT
May 21, 2021
How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations Plus

How McLaren’s GT3 ‘single-seater’ defies expectations

Time in a thoroughbred racer leaves you searching for time in yourself, especially when the rewards for total commitment are so high, as our man discovered at Snetterton

GT
Apr 28, 2021
How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy Plus

How Ferrari's F1 protege became a Mercedes GT prodigy

Raffaele Marciello once appeared to be Ferrari’s next Italian F1 star, but is now under the pay of its German arch-rival in GTs – and he’s very happy with his life

GT
Apr 8, 2021