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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Series WEC
Drivers Loic Duval
Author Sam Tremayne
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