Last-gasp Lotterer heads Audi 1-2-3 in first qualifying at Le Mans

Andre Lotterer set the pace again in the first night qualifying session at Le Mans with a spectacular 3m25.453s lap in the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, 1.083 seconds ahead of traffic-baulked team-mate Tom Kristensen

Last-gasp Lotterer heads Audi 1-2-3 in first qualifying at Le Mans

Lotterer nailed his lap after the clock ran down, with an eyeballs-on-stalks effort that could have been even quicker had he not encountered the double-whammy of two squabbling prototypes at the end of the Mulsanne Straight and a Porsche at Arnage.

The majority of Audi's drivers filed their fast laps early in the session before settling down to a programme of long runs. Kristensen found a relatively clear lap to go round in 3m26.536s for the early benchmark time in the #2 R18 e-tron quattro, in which Allan McNish then completed a full race stint.

The only apparent departure from the plan came when Marcel Fassler had a brief off in the #1 car, incurring minor bodywork damage. Lotterer resumed normal service however by putting the car top with his late flyer.

With 20 minutes to run Loic Duval went out on a mission in the #3 Audi, setting a purple first sector before ending the lap in 3m26.694s, which would stand as second quickest until the closing moments. Traffic on subsequent laps precluded him from improving.

Kristensen returned to the cockpit of #2 with 10 minutes to go but the circuit was busy with other cars attempting final glory runs and he could not find a clear lap.

Nicolas Lapierre was the early pacesetter for Toyota, posting a 3m27.191s in the #7 before handing over to Kazuki Nakajima for the Le Mans rookie to complete his night qualifying run. That time stood as the car's quickest until the end of the session, making it fourth overall ahead of the #4 Audi of Rockenfeller/Jarvis/Bonanomi.

Following its engine change the #8 TS030 Hybrid returned to the circuit with Stephane Sarrazin at the wheel 40 minutes into the session, setting a 3m30.183s before Sarrazin handed over to Anthony Davidson. With 25 minutes of the session to run Davidson went for a fast run and improved the car's fastest time to 3m28.295s, before Sebastien Buemi closed out the session.

Sixth fastest and best-of the-rest was the #21 Strakka HPD shared by Jonny Kane, Danny Watts and Nick Leventis, 7.297s off Lotterer's benchmark.

LMP2 was hotly contested again, with just two seconds covering the top six. Le Mans veteran Christophe Tinseau's 3m39.252s in the #46 TDS Racing ORECA-Nissan stood as the quickest for the majority of the session, with the #48 Murphy ORECA-Nissan next fastest on 3m39.877s.

Chevrolet spent most of the session on top in GTE Pro, with the #74 Gavin/Westbrook/Milner car holding court by less than two tenths of a second from the #59 Luxury Racing Melo/Makowiecki/Farnbacher Ferrari - both banking quick laps in the first hour. The other factory Corvette of Garcia/Magnussen/Taylor was a second further adrift and Stefan Mucke stepped up the pace in the final hour with a 3m57.466s to go fourth for Aston Martin with 30 minutes remaining.

Once again the #79 Flying Lizard Porsche set the pace in GTE Am with a fastest lap of 3m57.594s. American Le Mans Series veteran Spencer Pumpelly spent much of the session at the wheel, consistently lapping comfortably faster than the other class entries as the gentleman drivers essayed their mandatory night qualifying laps.

Michael Krumm achieved his ambition of breaking into the 3m42s with the DeltaWing Nissan, setting a time of 3m42.612s before riding a kerb too aggressively. This dislodged the car's fire extinguisher, which disrupted the DeltaWing's electrics and brought it to an immediate halt.

Neither the #16 Pescarolo LMP1 nor the #51 AF Corse Ferrari GTE Pro entry took part in the session. Both were undergoing repairs after incidents during practice.

Pos  Cl     Drivers                             Team/Car                     Time
 1.  P1     Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer           Audi e-tron                  3m25.453s
 2.  P1     Capello/Kristensen/McNish           Audi e-tron                  3m26.536s
 3.  P1     Dumas/Duval/Gene                    Audi Ultra                   3m26.694s
 4.  P1     Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima              Toyota                       3m27.191s
 5.  P1     Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller        Audi Ultra                   3m27.554s
 6.  P1     Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin             Toyota                       3m28.295s
 7.  P1     Leventis/Watts/Kane                 Strakka HPD                  3m32.750s
 8.  P1     Belicchi/Primat/Bleekemolen         Rebellion Lola-Toyota        3m33.140s
 9.  P1     Prost/Jani/Heidfeld                 Rebellion Lola-Toyota        3m33.211s
10.  P1     Ara/Minassian/Bourdais              Pescarolo Dome-Judd          3m34.716s
11.  P1     Brabham/Chandhok/Dumbreck           JRM HPD                      3m37.088s
12.  P1     Montagny/Baguette/Kraihamer         OAK Pescarolo-Judd           3m38.414s
13.  P2     Beche/Thiriet/Tinseau               TDS ORECA-Nissan             3m39.252s
14.  P2     Firth/Hughes/Hartley                Murphy ORECA-Nissan          3m39.877s
15.  P2     Potolicchio/Dalziel/Kimber-Smith    Starworks HPD-Honda          3m40.639s
16.  P2     Briere/Petersen/Nakano              Boutsen ORECA-Nissan         3m40.727s
17.  P2     Nicolet/Lahaye/Pla                  OAK Morgan-Judd              3m40.902s
18.  P2     Dolan/Hancock/Kurosawa              Jota Zytek-Nissan            3m41.287s
19.  P2     Sims/Buurman/Iannetta               Status Lola-Judd             3m41.451s
20.  P2     Heinemeier Hansson/Leinders/Martin  OAK Morgan-Nissan            3m41.721s
21.  P2     Martin/Charouz/Graves               ADR ORECA-Nissan             3m41.791s
22.  P2     Perez-Companc/Ayari/Kaffer          Pecom ORECA-Nissan           3m41.916s
23.  P2     Ordonez/Brundle/Brundle             Greaves Zytek-Nissan         3m42.125s
24.  P2     Panciatici/Ragues/Rusinov           Signatech ORECA-Nissan       3m42.157s
25.  P2     Tucker/Bouchut/Diaz                 Level 5 HPD-Honda            3m42.224s
26.  CDNT   Franchitti/Krumm/Motoyama           Highcroft Delta Wing Nissan  3m42.612s
27.  P2     Mailleux/Lombard/Tresson            Signatech ORECA-Nissan       3m44.495s
28.  P2     Zugel/Gonzalez/Julian               Greaves Zytek-Nissan         3m47.408s
29.  P2     Holzer/Schultis/Moro                Kodewa Lola-Lotus            3m48.067s
30.  P2     Frey/Hirschi/Meichtry               Race Performance ORECA-Judd  3m48.124s
31.  P2     Giroix/Johansson/Badey              Gulf Lola-Nissan             3m50.526s
32.  P2     Haezebrouck/Thirion/Papin           Extreme Limite Norma-Judd    3m51.012s
33.  GTE P  Gavin/Milner/Westbrook              Corvette                     3m55.910s
34.  GTE P  Makowiecki/Melo/Farnbacher          Luxury Ferrari               3m56.076s
35.  GTE P  Taylor/Garcia/Magnussen             Corvette                     3m57.181s
36.  GTE P  Fernandez/Mucke/Turner              Aston Martin                 3m57.466s
37.  GTE P  Bertolini/Beretta/Cioci             AF Corse Ferrari             3m57.509s
38.  GTE A  Neiman/Pilet/Pumpelly               Flying Lizard Porsche        3m57.594s
39.  GTE P  Lieb/Lietz/Henzler                  Felbermayr-Proton Porsche    3m57.648s
40.  GTE P  Alfaisal/Curtis/Edwards             IMSA Porsche                 3m58.035s
41.  GTE P  Bergmeister/Long/Holzer             Flying Lizard Porsche        3m58.717s
42.  GTE A  Simonsen/Nygaard/Poulsen            Aston Martin                 3m58.725s
43.  GTE A  Bornhauser/Canal/Lamy               Larbre Corvette              3m59.192s
44.  GTE A  Ried/Roda/Ruberti                   Felbermayr-Proton Porsche    3m59.529s
45.  GTE A  Armindo/Narac/Pons                  IMSA Porsche                 4m00.332s
46.  GTE A  Ehret/Montecalvo/Jeannette          Luxury Ferrari               4m00.849s
47.  GTE P  Walker/Cocker/Wills                 JMW Ferrari                  4m00.883s
48.  GTE A  Bourret/Gibon/Belloc                Larbre Corvette              4m03.021s
49.  GTE A  Rodrigues/Ferte/Illiano             JMB Ferrari                  4m04.416s
50.  GTE A  Perazzini/Cadei/Griffin             AF Corse Ferrari             4m04.493s
51.  GTE A  Krohn/Jonsson/Rugolo                Krohn Ferrari                4m04.698s
52.  GTE A  Kauffman/Aguas/Vickers              AF-Waltrip Ferrari           4m04.861s
53.  GTE A  Camathias/Daniels/Palttala          JWA Porsche                  4m08.170s
54.  P2     Deletraz/Ihara/Rostan               Gulf Lola-Nissan             4m14.086s
55.  P1     Collard/Boullion/Hall               Pescarolo-Judd               
56.  GTE P  Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander           AF Corse Ferrari             

Andre Lotterer says Le Mans pole not priority for Audi's #1 e-tron crew
Previous article

Andre Lotterer says Le Mans pole not priority for Audi's #1 e-tron crew

Next article

ACO confirms 2014 LMP1 regulations

ACO confirms 2014 LMP1 regulations
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022
The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return Plus

The history lessons Peugeot should have learned on its return

The Peugeot 9X8 will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend. The French manufacturer has gone radical and will be hoping it doesn’t need to overhaul its contender, as it did with its first Le Mans challenger…

Jul 8, 2022
Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination Plus

Why Peugeot's sportscar return will capture the imagination

OPINION: Peugeot will make its World Endurance Championship debut at Monza this weekend with the 9X8 Le Mans Hypercar that has ignored design conventions by eschewing a rear wing. Its distinctive look will help sportscar racing appeal to fresh audiences as a new golden era is ushered in

Jul 7, 2022
How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes Plus

How Formula E's double-duty drivers influenced their Le Mans teams' fortunes

Eight Formula E drivers made the 7,000-mile sprint from the streets of Jakarta to the fabled Circuit de la Sarthe and every one had a story to share at this year's Le Mans 24 Hours. Despite a range of triumphs and disappointments, each driver doubling up on the day job played a key role in their teams' fortunes

Le Mans
Jun 14, 2022
How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future Plus

How an Italian junior formula giant is readying for its Le Mans future

Prema remains a colossus in single-seaters, but the serial Formula 2 and Formula 3 title-winning squad has joined forces with top GT squad Iron Lynx for an attack on sportscars in the World Endurance Championship and European Le Mans Series. Ahead of its debut at the Le Mans 24 Hours, its sights are firmly fixed on LMP2 glory – and a future in Hypercars next year...

Le Mans
Jun 8, 2022
The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans Plus

The British rookies targeting a good first impression at Le Mans

Three young Britons will make their first starts in the Le Mans 24 Hours this weekend in the highly-competitive 23-car GTE Am field. But how did they get here? Autosport hears their stories.

Le Mans
Jun 7, 2022