Audi dominates first timed session

Audi completely dominated the first official qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours, run on Wednesday evening in scorching conditions. The German marque set the top three fastest times with its trio Audi A8 open-topped prototypes, with the next fastest car - the Panoz Spyder LMP of David Brabham, Jan Magnussen and Mario Andretti - over three seconds off the pace

Audi dominates first timed session

Allan McNish was the star of the session. The Scot stayed in his car for the whole of the two hours and set a fastest time of 3m37.653s (139.76mph), but will hand over to team mates Laurent Aiello and Stephane Ortelli for the second two-hour session starting at 2200 (2100 BST). Second Audi, 0.134s behind McNish, was the Alboreto/Abt/Capello car, with the Biela/Kristensen/Pirro car third and just 0.233s off the provisional pole.

Panoz Spyders took the fourth and sixth slots, with the Konrad Motorsport Lola taking fifth. Cadillac began its 2000 Le Mans campaign by setting steady times at the basement of the top 10, the DAM'S Northstar of Goossens/Tinseau/Kolby ending up 10th and just edging the official Team Cadillac machine of Lagorce/Leitzinger/Wallace.

After daytime temperatures of 30 degrees celsius, the evening session was run in temperatures still in the mid '20s, but as the sun sets, the second session should prove quicker still. However, with the hot weather set to continue into the race weekend itself, the problem of tyre wear and engine cooling will be on every team's mind.

Full report and leading times follow after second qualifying session (2200 - 0000; 2100 - 2300 BST).

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