Allan McNish's Le Mans diary

Autosport's columnist takes pole position for Le Mans! Here is Thursday's diary from Allan McNish

Allan McNish's Le Mans diary

What a feeling... Allan McNish starts this year's Le Mans 24 Hour sportscar race from pole-position... absolutely magic... thank you Audi!

More meetings, more pasta - I'm really going to have a go at the German chef if he doesn't serve up Haggis for me now - more meetings and finally, second qualifying. The weather has been incredible since I arrived on Monday evening and today just seemed even hotter and more humid.

Tonight's final qualifying, again a four hour time trial with a one hour break in the middle, began with the air temperature very high and Laurent did almost an hour's driving before he handed over to me.

On my first flying lap I set a 3min 36.818secs which put me fastest but then Tom Kristensen, some 'hotshot former Le Mans winner' from Denmark went and bettered that. Well, I wasn't about to let this happen without a bit of a fight.

Just five minutes later, I incredibly equalled his time - to the nearest thousandth of a second - around a 8.45-mile road circuit - just think about that for a minute. I came in to the pits and made a couple of more changes and without really trying, I went over half a second quicker.

That was amazing especially as I must have lost over half a second when I came up behind a slower car at the Porsche Curves.

The changes we were made overnight made a big difference to my car. The car feels very competitive, very stable and with a lot of grip - I believe we've achieved an ideal set-up for the race.

Although I'm elated I'm even happier for the entire Audi Sport Team Joest outfit. They've worked incredibly hard - they began designing this year's Audi R8 two days after their debut in last year's Le Mans race! It's been a big team effort and for Audi to start the Le Mans race from first, second and third places on the grid - in only their second appearance here - is an amazing feat.

To those of you who have not made plans this weekend, why not come across and support me? The Autosport guys will keep you up to date with race progress on their excellent live radio coverage and I could do with your support - it's building up to be a memorable weekend.

Anyway, must go now... heading back to the hotel for a lemonade... But seriously, I've been in motor racing too long not to realise that tomorrow's another day...


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