Le Mans 24 Hours: Loic Duval puts Audi on provisional pole

Loic Duval snatched provisional pole position for the Le Mans 24 Hours in an opening qualifying session that was brought to a premature end by barrier damage at the second Mulsanne chicane

Le Mans 24 Hours: Loic Duval puts Audi on provisional pole

Frenchman Duval, who had gone quickest in practice earlier on, put the #2 R18 e-tron quattro on top initially before improving to a 3m22.349s time that would go unbeaten for the rest of the session.

That fact was helped by the final 55 minutes of running being cancelled due to barrier damage incurred when expected LMP2 front-runner Pierre Thiriet lost control of the #46 TDS ORECA-Nissan at the second Mulsanne chicane.

AUTOSPORT'S 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours special

Thiriet was unhurt, but after a 40-minute red-flag period, race officials deemed the barriers were not able to be repaired to a satisfactory standard and declared the session 15 minutes before time.

With no late improvements possible, Audi ended the day with successive one-two-three results.

Toyota had temporarily broken the German marque's dominance, with the #7 TS030 HYBRID of Alex Wurz/Nicolas Lapierre/Kazuki Nakajima running second early on.

It dropped down the order as first Marc Gene and then Andre Lotterer improved in the #3 and #1 Audis to end the session second and third. The Toyota was fourth - 4s down on Duval - when the red flags flew.

There was worse news for the sister #8 Toyota, which managed just 10 laps - enough to put it sixth overall - before Sebastien Buemi was forced to pull to a halt at Arnage due to a driveline problem.

The car was later recovered to parc ferme, but not before the session was effectively ended by Thiriet's crash.

In LMP2, John Martin earned his G-Drive/Delta-ADR squad the top spot with an early 3m39.535s.

That proved more than a second faster than anyone else could manage. Franck Mailleux, Martin's nearest challenger in the #43 Morand Morgan-Judd, was second fastest but more than 1.2s adrift.

It was a much tighter affair in GTE Pro, with less than a second to choose between the top seven cars.

The Prodrive-run factory Aston Martin team eventually ended top of the pile courtesy of Frederic Makowiecki in the #99 Vantage, narrowly ahead of the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 of Gianmaria Bruni/Matteo Malucelli/Giancarlo Fisichella.

The #97 and #98 Vantages, raced by Peter Dumbreck/Stefan Mucke/Darren Turner and Bill Auberlen/Paul Dalla Lana/Pedro Lamy, were third and fourth fastest respectively.

Aston Martin also ended on top in GTE Am, with Christoffer Nygaard/Kristian Poulsen/Allan Simonsen narrowly edging out the lead #88 Proton Porsche 911. Simonsen was at the wheel when the car's best time was set.

Four cars failed to set a time. The #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan plus the #66 JMW and #57 Krohns Ferrari all suffered heavy damage in practice crashes while, fresh from winning a court case agains its aggrieved car designer, the Lotus squad did not get its #32 LMP2-spec T128 out either.

As it happened: AUTOSPORT's Live coverage of the 2013 Le Mans 24 Hours

Pos Cl  Drivers                        Team/Car                Time       Gap
 1. P1  Kristensen/McNish/Duval        Audi                   3m22.349s
 2. P1  di Grassi/Gene/Jarvis          Audi                   3m24.341s  +1.992s
 3. P1  Lotterer/Treluyer/Fassler      Audi                   3m25.474s  +3.125s
 4. P1  Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima         Toyota                 3m26.676s  +4.327s
 5. P1  Prost/Jani/Heidfeld            Rebellion Lola-Toyota  3m30.423s  +8.074s
 6. P1  Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin        Toyota                 3m30.841s  +8.492s
 7. P1  Belicchi/Beche/Cheng           Rebellion Lola-Toyota  3m32.167s  +9.818s
 8. P1  Kane/Watts/Leventis            Strakka HPD            3m36.547s  +14.198s
 9. P2  Rusinov/M.Martin/Conway        Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan 3m39.535s  +17.186s
10. P2  Gachnang/Mailleux/Lombard      Morand Morgan-Judd     3m40.741s  +18.392s
11. P2  Pla/Heinemeier Hansson/Brundle OAK Morgan-Nissan      3m40.780s  +18.431s
12. P2  Graves/Nakano/Hamilton         Delta-ADR ORECA-Nissan 3m40.925s  +18.576s
13. P2  Baguette/Gonzalez/Plowman      OAK Morgan-Nissan      3m42.387s  +20.038s
14. P2  Perez Companc/Minassian/Kaffer Pecom ORECA-Nissan     3m43.420s  +21.071s
15. P2  Thiriet/Badey/M.Martin         TDS ORECA-Nissan       3m43.494s  +21.145s
16. P2  Panciatici/Ragues/Gommendy     Signatech ORECA-Nissan 3m43.835s  +21.486s
17. P2  Hartley/Patterson/Chandhok     Murphy ORECA-Nissan    3m44.538s  +22.189s
18. P2  Dolan/Turvey/Luhr              Jota Zytek-Nissan      3m44.835s  +22.486s
19. P2  Frey/Niederhauser/Bleekemolen  Race Perf' ORECA-Judd  3m45.244s  +22.895s
20. P2  Imperatori/Tung/Howson         KCMG Morgan-Nissan     3m45.500s  +23.151s
21. P2  Weeda/Rossiter/Bouchut         Lotus-Praga            3m47.920s  +25.571s
22. P2  Nicolet/Merlin/Mondolot        OAK Morgan-Nissan      3m48.196s  +25.847s
23. P2  Tucker/Franchitti/Briscoe      Level 5 HPD            3m48.597s  +26.248s
24. P2  Giroix/Haezebrouck/Ihara       Gulf Lola-Nissan       3m49.096s  +26.747s
25. P2  Mardenborough/Ordonez/Krumm    Greaves Zytek-Nissan   3m49.421s  +27.072s
26. P2  Mowlem/Burgess/Hirschi         HVM Status Lola-Judd   3m49.805s  +27.456s
27. GTP Bell/Makowiecki/Senna          Aston Martin           3m55.658s  +33.309s
28. GTP Bruni/Fisichella/Malucelli     AF Corse Ferrari       3m55.909s  +33.560s
29. GTP Dumbreck/Mucke/Turner          Aston Martin           3m56.004s  +33.655s
30. GTP Auberlen/Dalla Lana/Lamy       Aston Martin           3m56.336s  +33.987s
31. GTP Lieb/Lietz/Dumas               Manthey Porsche        3m56.457s  +34.108s
32. GTP Beretta/Kobayashi/Vilander     AF Corse Ferrari       3m56.471s  +34.122s
33. GTP Bergmeister/Pilet/Bernhard     Manthey Porsche        3m56.573s  +34.224s
34. P2  Porta/Raffin/Brandela          DKR Lola-Judd          3m56.905s  +34.556s
35. P2  Downs/Dagoneau/Younessi        Boutsen ORECA-Nissan   3m57.139s  +34.790s
36. GTA Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen       Aston Martin           3m58.661s  +36.312s
37. GTA Ried/Roda/Ruberti              Proton Porsche         3m59.246s  +36.897s
38. GTP Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor        Corvette               3m59.526s  +37.177s
39. GTP Westbrook/Gavin/Milner         Corvette               3m59.860s  +37.511s
40. GTA Milesi/Gibon/Henzler           Imsa Porsche           4m00.503s  +38.154s
41. GTA Hall/Goethe/Campbell-Walter    Aston Martin           4m01.035s  +38.686s
42. GTA Narac/Bourret/Vernay           Imsa Porsche           4m01.713s  +39.364s
43. GTA Gerber/Griffin/Cioci           AF Ferrari             4m02.815s  +40.466s
44. GTP Dalziel/Farnbacher/Goossens    SRT Viper              4m03.127s  +40.778s
45. GTA Dempsey/Foster/Long            Dempsey Porsche        4m03.378s  +41.029s
46. GTP Bomarito/Kendall/Wittmer       SRT Viper              4m03.461s  +41.112s
47. GTA Perazzini/Case/O'Young         AF Corse Ferrari       4m03.966s  +41.617s
48. GTA MacNeil//Rodrigues/Dumas       Larbre Corvette        4m04.512s  +42.163s
49. GTA Bornhauser/Canal/Taylor        Larbre Corvette        4m04.873s  +43.524s
50. GTA Potolicchio/Aguas/Bright       8star Ferrari          4m07.625s  +45.276s
51. GTA Mallegol/Bachelier/Blank       AF Ferrari             4m09.064s  +46.715s
52. GTP Collard/Perrodo/Crubile        Prospeed Porsche       4m11.719s  +49.370s
53. P2  Gibon/Milesi/Henzler           Lotus-Praga
54. P2  Kimber-Smith/Rossi/Lux         Greaves Zytek-Nissan
55. GTA Krohn/Jonsson/Mediani          Krohn Ferrari
56. GTP Bertolini/Al Faisal/Al Qubaisi JMW Ferrari
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