Official test (AM): Johansson leads early running

Stefan Johansson was the early pace-setter during the first morning of Le Mans official testing today (Sunday), by setting a benchmark time close to last year's pole, in his 2000-spec Audi R8

Official test (AM): Johansson leads early running

The former Grand Prix driver put in a lap of 3m36.054s round the La Sarthe circuit, almost two seconds clear of his nearest rival, which was unsurprisingly another Audi. Tom Kristensen was the man in second place in his works Joest-run R8, which is sporting more up to date aerodynamic modifications than the 2000-spec cars.

Surprise of the morning came from the Bentley camp, with Stephane Ortelli putting his EXP Speed 8 into third spot, giving the team a boost as the historic marque prepares itself for a return to the French endurance classic this June.

There then followed another run of Audis, with Emanuele Pirro going fourth fastest in the second Joest Audi, followed by recent Formula 1 retiree Johnny Herbert in fifth. Herbert's Champion team left the R8 it usually uses in the American Le Mans series back in the US and received a brand new car direct from Audi's Ingolstadt base for this weekend's pre-qualifying sessions.

Yannick Dalmas was sixth in his ORECA-run Chrysler LMP while Andy Wallace set the seventh fastest time in the second Bentley. Rounding out the top 10 and setting an impressive top straight line speed of 211mph on the Mulsanne straight was Jan Lammers in his Dome-Judd.

It was a disappointing morning for the Panoz team after David Brabham's LMP07 completed just a handful of laps before a cracked exhaust led to the carbon fibre in the chassis catching fire. The car is beyond repair and will not be able to run again until after a visit to the team's base.

MG also had a very disappointing morning after launching its new Lola EX257 last week. The team's two cars, which are to run in the LMP675 class, completed just a handful of laps and are believed to be suffering from engine problems.

Full report at the end of the day.


Stefan Johansson, Johansson Racing Gulf, Audi R8, 3m36.054s
Tom Kristnesen, Joest Audi Sport, Audi R8, 3m37.801s
Stephane Ortelli, Team Bentley, Bentely EXP Speed 8, 3m38.294s
Emanuele Pirro, Joest Audi Sport, Audi R8, 3m38.468s
Johnny Herbert, Champion Racing, Audi R8, 3m39.386s
Yannick Dalmas, Oreca, Chrysler LMP, 3m40.224s
Andy Wallace, Team Bentley, Bentely EXP Speed 3m40.273s
Sebastien Bourdais, Pescarolo Sport, Courage-Peugeot C60, 3m40.437s
Philippe Gache, SMG Racing, Courage-Judd C60, 3m40.823s
Jan Lammers, Racing for Holland, Dome-Judd, 3m41.230s

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