Le Mans 24 Hours: Duval puts Audi on top on test day

Audi driver Loic Duval bounced back from a heavy shunt in the morning to jump to the top of the times right at the end of the Le Mans test day

Le Mans 24 Hours: Duval puts Audi on top on test day

Duval crashed the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro he shares with Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen at Tertre Rouge in the morning session, but completed a lap within a second of last year's pole mark after the chequered flag had fallen.

The Frenchman's 3m22.583s was nearly three seconds faster than the next best time, set by fellow Audi driver Lucas di Grassi in the #3 entry.

Duval explained that his car had been earmarked to do a qualifying simulation at the end of the rain-interrupted eight-hour test.

"It is always good to be able to finish the day at the top of the timesheets," he said. "We were trying to do a qualifying lap to see what the car was capable of.

"We didn't put a lot of fuel in and I got a clear lap. I was flat out and did a really good lap."

Duval revealed that he had been distracted by something hitting the windscreen just before he crashed.

"Something hit the screen and I instinctively looked to the left," he said.

"I got two wheels on the damp, and that's why I lost the car. It was still my fault, but it was not like I was pushing too hard."

All the quick times were set in the final minutes of the test when the conditions were at their quickest.

Di Grassi ended up on 3m25.358s, which was just three tenths quicker than Andre Lotterer's quickest lap in the #1 Audi.

The two Toyotas TS030 HYBRIDS were fourth and sixth after the Japanese manufacturer declared ahead of the test that it would not be going for times.

Stephane Sarrazin set a 3m27.581s in the #8 car two seconds quicker than Alex Wurz's best in the #7 car, which was not on track when the conditions were at their quickest.

The Toyotas were split by the fourth Audi, which was testing 2014-spec Michelin tyres in the hands of Marco Bonanomi.

Top privateer was Neel Jani in the fastest of the Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota B12/60s, which ended the day on a 3m31.967s.

The LMP2 ranks were topped by Olivier Pla in the best of the OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan LMP2s. His fastest lap of 3m38.801, set right at the end of the test, eclipsed Nelson Panciatici's previous LMP2 best in the Signatech Alpine by eight tenths of a second.

Peter Dumbreck took GTE Pro honours for Aston Martin Racing. The Briton ended up three tenths quicker than team-mate Frederic Makowiecki.

Dumbreck, who shares the #97 car with Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke, said: "The team were quite generous with me today. They gave me a lot of laps to get up to speed and I really found my feet today."

Aston Martin was also quickest in GTE Am, Jamie Campbell-Walter eclipsing Allan Simonsen's best after the chequered flag had fallen.

The Le Mans 24 Hours, the third round of this year's World Endurance Championship, takes place on June 22/23.

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