Audi fastest in practice at Le Mans

Audi struck the first blow at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours by posting the fastest times in the free practice session on Wednesday

Audi fastest in practice at Le Mans

The session was hit by rain just over 60 minutes into the six-hours, so there were no improvements to the front running times for the vast majority of practice. The fastest times were set after each car had completed just a handful of installation laps, before they were forced into wet weather testing for the rest of the evening.

Last year's winning crew of Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Rinaldo Capello posted the quickest time of the session, but just half a tenth quicker than their team-mates Lucas Luhr, Mike Rockenfeller and Marco Werner in the #2 R15.

The #9 car of Marc Gene, David Brabham and Alexander Wurz was the quickest of the Peugeots but also suffered the brunt of the team's problems, requiring a new clutch mid-way through the session before returning to the pits in a cloud of smoke in the final 10 minutes.

Peugeot showed good wet weather pace though, with Sebastien Bourdais lapping up to five seconds a lap faster than anyone else on the circuit during his wet stint in the #8 908.

The Pescarolo-run customer Peugeot 908 of Jean-Christophe Boullion, Simon Pagenaud and Benoit Treluyer was the fourth fastest car in the session, outpacing two of the factory cars.

The best of the Lola Aston Martins - the #008 car of Darren Turner, Anthony Davidson and Jos Verstappen - finished the session eighth overall, five seconds off the pace of the lead Audis.

The second Aston Martin Racing car was less than a second behind, while the #009 car was a couple of seconds behind and had to be pushed back to the garage when it ground to a halt while leaving the pits near the end of the session.

The Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder was quickest of the LMP2 cars, 1.5 seconds ahead of its nearest rival, the similar car of Team Goh.

The factory Corvettes led the GT1 class with the #63 car of Jan Magnussen, Johnny O'Connell and Antonio Garcia a couple of seconds faster than the #64 example of Oliver Gavin, Olivier Beretta and Marcel Fassler.

GT2 was headed by the Team Felbermayr Porsche of Richard Lietz, Marc Lieb and Wolf Henzler.

Three cars failed to complete a significant amount of meaningful running in the six-hour session. The LMP2 Barazi Epsilon Zytek stopped with an oil system failure after completing only 12 laps. The #68 JLOC Lamborghini Murcielago stopped on its outlap with a broken driveshaft. The #41 GAC Zytek completed just 16 laps before a broken input shaft curtailed its evening's running.

There were several spins and trips across the gravel during the evening but the only accident befell Jean de Pourtales, who crashed the #39 Kruse Shiller Lola-Mazda into the wall at the Ford chicane.

Pos Class Drivers Team Car Time Gap
1. LMP1 Capello
Kristensen
McNish
Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R15 TDI 3m30.708
2. LMP1 Rockenfeller
Werner
Luhr
Audi Sport North America Audi R15 TDI 3m30.762 0.054
3. LMP1 Brabham
Gene
Wurz
Peugeot Sport Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 3m31.102 0.394
4. LMP1 Boullion
Pagenaud
Treluyer
Pescarolo Sport Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 3m33.028 2.320
5. LMP1 Bourdais
Montagny
Sarrazin
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 3m33.426 2.718
6. LMP1 Bernhard
Premat
Dumas
Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R15 TDI 3m34.716 4.008
7. LMP1 Tinseau
Juoanny
Barbosa
Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo 01-Judd 3m35.868 5.160
8. LMP1 Davidson
Turner
Verstappen
Aston Martin Racing Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 3m35.996 5.288
9. LMP1 Minassian
Lamy
Klien
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 HDi FAP 3m37.980 7.272
10. LMP1 Charouz
Enge
Mucke
AMR Eastern Europe Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 3m36.732 6.024
11. LMP1 Hall
Primat
Kox
Aston Martin Racing Lola-Aston Martin B09/60 3m38.490 7.782
12. LMP1 Panis
Lapierre
Ayari
Team Oreca Matmut AIM Oreca 01-AIM 3m44.474 13.766
13. LMP1 Zwolsman Jr
Karthikeyan
Lotterer
Kolles Audi R10 TDI 3m44.508 13.800
14. LMP1 Belicchi
Prost
Jani
Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola B08/60-Aston Martin 3m44.560 13.852
15. LMP1 Ortelli
Senna
Monteiro
Team Oreca Matmut AIM Oreca 01-AIM 3m46.202 15.494
16. LMP2 Elgaard
Poulsen
Collard
Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder 3m46.426 15.718
17. LMP2 Ara
Kunimoto
Maassen
NAVI Team Goh Porsche RS Spyder 3m48.096 17.388
18. LMP1 Albers
Bakkerud
Mondini
Kolles Audi R10 TDI 3m49.960 19.252
19. LMP1 Ragues
Mailleux
Andre
Signature Plus Courage-Oreca LC70E-Judd 3m52.858 22.150
20. LMP1 Campbell-Walter
Ickx
Ianetta
Creation Autosportif Creation CA07-Judd 3m54.552 23.844
21. LMP2 Amaral
Pla
Smith
Quifel ASM Team Ginetta-Zytek 09S/2 3m56.200 25.492
22. LMP1 Hardman
Leventis
Watts
Strakka Racing Ginetta-Zytek 09S 3m56.698 25.990
23. GT1 O'Connell
Magnussen
Garcia
Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R 3m57.876 27.168
24. LMP2 Leuenberger
Pompidou
Kane
Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola B08/80-Judd 3m58.210 27.502
25. GT1 Gavin
Beretta
Fassler
Corvette Racing Corvette C6.R 3m59.586 28.878
26. LMP2 Laheye
Ajlani
Moreau
OAK Racing Pescarolo 01-Mazda 4m00.428 29.720
27. LMP2 Newton
Erdos
Dyson
Ray Mallock Ltd. Lola B08/86-Mazda 4m01.378 30.670
28. LMP2 Noda
Marsh
de Pourtales
Kruse-Schiller Motorsport Lola B07/46-Mazda 4m03.488 32.780
29. GT1 Lichtner-Hoyer
Gruber
Muller
Jetalliance Racing Aston Martin DBR9 4m06.606 35.898
30. GT2 Lieb
Henzler
Lietz
Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 4m08.304 37.596
31. GT2 Melo
Kaffer
Salo
Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT2 4m10.980 40.272
32. GT2 Coronel
Bleekemolen
Janis
Snoras Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Laviolette GT2-R 4m13.196 42.488
33. GT2 Pilet
Narac
Long
IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 4m14.340 43.632
34. GT2 Bell
Kirkaldy
Sugden
JMW Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT2 4m14.584 43.876
35. GT2 Babini
Malucelli
Ruberti
BMS Scuderia Italia Ferrari F430 GT2 4m14.858 44.150
36. GT2 Bergmeister
Law
Neiman
Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 4m15.254 44.546
37. GT2 Bruni
Perez Companc
Russo
AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT2 4m16.846 46.138
38. GT2 Farnbacher
Simonsen
Montanari
Hankook Farnbacher Racing Ferrari F430 GT2 4m17.098 46.390
39. LMP2 Piccini
Biagi
Bobbi
Racing Box Lola B08/80-Judd 4m18.870 48.162
40. GT2 Drayson
Cocker
Franchitti
Drayson Racing Aston Martin V8 Vantage GT2 4m23.262 52.554
41. LMP2 Ojjeh
Gosselin
Peter
GAC Racing Team Zytek 07S/2 4m23.788 53.080
42. GT2 O'Young
Hesnault
Kralev
Endurance Asia Team Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 4m24.420 53.712
43. LMP1 Tomlinson
Dean
Moore
Team LNT Ginetta-Zytek 09S 4m24.700 53.992
44. GT2 Rodrigues
Lebon
Bouchut
JMB Racing Ferrari F430 GT2 4m26.170 55.462
45. GT2 Mansell
Ehret
Rusinov
Team Modena Ferrari F430 GT2 4m26.298 55.590
46. GT2 Dempsey
Kitch Jr
Foster
Team Advanced Engineering Ferrari F430 GT2 4m26.514 55.806
47. GT2 McInerney
McInerney
Vergers
Virgo Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT2 4m26.784 56.076
48. LMP2 Bruneau
Rostan
Greaves
Bruichladdich Bruneau Team Radical SR9-AER 4m28.252 57.544
49. GT2 Felbermayr Sr
Felbermayr Jr
Lecourt
IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3-RSR 4m29.856 59.148
50. LMP2 Nicolet
Hein
Yvon
OAK Racing Pescarolo 01-Mazda 4m35.952 1m05.244
51. GT1 Alphand
Gregoire
Goueslard
Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 4m38.342 1m07.634
52. GT1 Maassen
Jousse
Clairay
Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 4m42.802 1m12.094
53. GT2 Krohn
van de Poele
Jonsson
Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT2 4m44.220 1m13.512
54. LMP2 Barazi
Moseley
Bennett
Team Barazi-Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 5m00.760 1m30.052
shares
comments
McNish: More to come from Audi
Previous article

McNish: More to come from Audi

Next article

ACO declares Audi bodywork legal

ACO declares Audi bodywork legal
Load comments
Why an F1-snubbed British world champion has no regrets in retirement Plus

Why an F1-snubbed British world champion has no regrets in retirement

He may not have won the Le Mans 24 Hours - falling agonisingly short in 2016 - and didn't get the opportunities in Formula 1 his talents merited. But after calling time on his professional career last month, Anthony Davidson says his pride in his performances with Peugeot and Toyota in LMP1 mean more than the results he achieved

WEC
Dec 17, 2021
Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021 Plus

Why Le Mans didn't decide Toyota's WEC title outcome in 2021

Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez scored a second successive World Endurance Championship title in the #7 Toyota, as its new Le Mans Hypercar went unbeaten. Autosport recaps how each of the four classes in the 2021 season were won and picks out the best LMH and GTE drivers

WEC
Nov 28, 2021
The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending Plus

The unanswered questions that define WEC 2021's controversial ending

OPINION: The deeply unsatisfying ending to a brilliant World Endurance Championship GTE Pro battle in Bahrain had Ferrari provisionally heading back from the desert as the victor. But Porsche plans to appeal the outcome, which rests on a number of confusing elements that have yet to be satisfactorily explained

WEC
Nov 9, 2021
How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint Plus

How the WEC's heavyweight duel reached its controversial flashpoint

The Ferrari versus Porsche fight for the World Endurance Championship's GTE Pro title had been a finely-poised affair, right up until Alessandro Pier Guidi's punt on Michael Christensen in the closing stages of the Bahrain 8 Hours handed Ferrari a provisional title, pending Porsche's appeal. Here's how the controversy played out

WEC
Nov 8, 2021
The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster Plus

The remarkable fixes Toyota used to avert another Le Mans disaster

The 1-2 finish achieved by Toyota at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours was a result that will have surprised few, given its status as pre-event favourite. But the result was anything but straightforward, as worsening fuel pressure concerns required the team's drivers and engineers to pursue "creative fixes" on the fly. Here is the full story of how it reached the end without a lengthy pit visit

Le Mans
Nov 3, 2021
How the #7 Toyota squad moved closer to clinching WEC's 2021 title Plus

How the #7 Toyota squad moved closer to clinching WEC's 2021 title

In the penultimate round of the 2021 World Endurance Championship, a better run of tyre wear for Mike Conway, Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi brought the Toyota trio its third win from five events, as the #7 squad put one hand on the title. Here's how the first of the WEC's two Bahrain enduros played out

WEC
Nov 1, 2021
The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert Plus

The 10 greatest drives of lost legend Jo Siffert

It's 50 years since Jo Siffert was killed in his prime at Brands Hatch. The Swiss scored just two world championship wins in a Formula 1 career spent largely with privateer teams, but showed on numerous occasions in single-seaters and in sportscars with Porsche that he could beat any of the best drivers of his era given the right equipment

Formula 1
Oct 24, 2021
Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood Plus

Inside the Le Mans finish too barmy for Hollywood

Team WRT has been at the forefront of GT racing for years and made a successful move to prototypes for 2021, capped by an LMP2 win on its Le Mans debut. It could've been even better had the race been one lap shorter, when its cars ran 1-2, but the stranger-than-fiction reality has spurred the team to reach greater heights

Le Mans
Oct 16, 2021