First qualifying: Audi quick; Dome surprises

The works Audi of Rinaldo Capello set the pace in the first qualifying session for the 69th running of the 24 Hours of Le Mans. The Italian clocked his fastest lap of 3m34.880s in an exciting closing period when times tumbled as the temperature on the track cooled

First qualifying: Audi quick; Dome surprises

Capello's time is already over a second quicker than the pole time his former team mate Allan McNish set last year, but the Italian has a few seconds to make up if he is to get near his fastest time he set at pre-qualifying.

The other works Audi piloted by Dane Tom Kristensen was second quickest, just three tenths behind Capello, with the Dome-Judd of Jan Lammers in third.

The privateer Gulf-backed Audi of Stefan Johansson/Tom Coronel/Patrick Lemarie continued the form it produced in pre-qualifying, setting the fourth quickest time of the session.

Another former Formula 1 racer Martin Brundle was running as high as second in his Bentley, setting his time with just eight minutes of the session to go, but in that final few minutes the British marque was dropped down to fifth.

Chrysler made it into the top six with the Olivier Beretta/Karl Wendlinger/Pedro Lamy driven machine setting a time four seconds off Capello's time.

In the LMP 675 class, the MG of Anthony Reid, Warren Hughes and Jonny Kane impressed, running as high as seventh for much of the session, before being dropped down to 12th, but still six seconds faster than its nearest rivals, the Reynard-Lehman of Jordi Gene/Pascal Fabre/ Jean-Denis Deletraz. Reid set the time of 3m42.065

The Corvette of Ron Fellows/Scott Pruett/Johnny O'Connell topped the GTS category, with a time of 3m55.552s.

Finally, in the GTs, the Larbre Competition Porche of Patrice Gouselard/Sebastien Dumez/ Jean-Luc Chereau was quickest, with a time of 4m13.834s.

It was a disaster for the second MG, driven by Kevin McGarrity, Mark Blundell and Julian Bailey. The car developed problems in its starter and alternator package and their only timed lap was over 13 minutes.

The fastest times of the day will probably be set in the first 15 minutes of the second session (starting 21:00 BST) as the temperatures cool, but while there is enough light for the drivers to attack the circuit.


2 (900) R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 3m34.880s
1 (900) T Kristensen, E Pirro, F Biela, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 3m35.222s
9 (900) J lammers/V Hillebrand/D Crevels, Dome-Judd S101, Racing For Holland, 3m36.352s
3 (900) J Herbert/R Kelleners/D Theys, Audi R8, Champion Racing, 3m36.486s
7 (GTP) M Brundle/S Ortelli/G Smith, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, 3m36.535s
16 (900) O Beretta/K Wendlinger/P Lamy, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, 3m39.264s
5 (900) E Bernard/E Collard/M Goosens, Cadillac Northstar LMP, DAMS, 3m40.070s
15 (900) Y Dalmas/F Montagny/S Sarrazin, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, ORECA Chrysler, 3m40.335s
8 (GTP) E van der Poele/A Wallace/B Leitzinger, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, 3m40.544s
4 (900) T Coronel/S Johansson/P Lemarie, Audi R8, Johanssen Racing (Arena), 3m40.939s



2 R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 3m34.880s

7 M Brundle/S Ortelli/G Smith, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, 3m36.535s

34 A Reid/W Hughes/J Kane, MG-Lola EX257, MG Sport (Chamberlain), 3m42.065s

63 R Fellows/J O'Connell/S Pruett, Corvette C5R, Corvette Racing (Pratt & Miller), 3m55.552s

70 B Mazzuoccola/V Rice/C Wagner, Callaway C12-R, Michael Colucci Racing, 4m16.410s

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