Pescarolo Sweep Front Row

The number 16 Pescarolo claimed pole position for the 73rd running of the Le Mans 24 Hours, making up for its brush with officialdom in the first part of Thursday night's final qualifying that led to its best laps being cancelled

Pescarolo Sweep Front Row

Emmanuel Collard was the driver who set the pole lap of 3m34.715s, moving the car he's sharing with Erik Comas and Jean-Christophe Boullion ahead of the sister car driven by Soheil Ayari, Eric Helary and World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb that failed to improve its time from the 3m35.555s it set in the first half of the session.

It had long been clear that no other team would be able to get close to the pace of the Pescarolos, so some simply didn't bother as twilight turned to full dark, preferring instead to set up their cars as well as they could for the race or simply to park up to save their machinery.

The Frank Biela/Allan McNish/Emanuele Pirro Champion Racing Audi R8 ended up as best of the rest, with its fastest lap of 3m37.795s being more than a couple of seconds adrift.

Emphasising just how close it was in the wake of the Pescarolos, their sister car driven by Tom Kristensen, JJ Lehto and Marco Werner was less than 1.2s slower but this was good only for eighth on the final grid.

The Jim Gainer International team provided welcome chassis variety at the sharp end of the grid, lapping their Dome with its white and red-spotted liveried Dome fourth fastest in 3m38.094s in the hands of 2004 race winner Seiji Ara and team-mates Ryo Michigami and Katsutomo Kaneishi.

The third Audi, the ORECA-run R8, was fifth fastest in the hands of Jean-Marc Gounon, Eric Helary and Renault F1 test driver Franck Montagny, their best lap covered in 3m38.281s.

Courage and DBA chassis qualified sixth and seventh fastest for Jonathan Cochet, Bruce Jouanny and Shinji Nakano and Jamie Campbell-Walter, Nicolas Minassian and 1988 Le Mans winner Andy Wallace respectively.

A Dallara and the Zytek made it seven different chassis in the top 10, with the Rollcentre Racing Dallara-Judd LMP that Joao Barbosa and Vanina Ickx are sharing with team owner Martin Short heading the Sam Hignett/Haruki Kurosawa/John Stack Team Jota Zytek 04S which impressed in the hands of these Le Mans novices.

Didier Andre claimed the LMP2 honours for Paul Belmondo Racing's number 37 Courage-Ford he shares with Paul Belmondo and Rick Sutherland, lapping 12th fastest overall in 3m42.301s to be more than 2.451s faster than their closest rival: the Intersport Racing Lola of Sam Hancock, Gregor Fisken and Liz Halliday.

Chamberlain-Synergy Motorsport put up a valiant performance in the final two hours, enjoying untroubled running for the first time and getting under the 4 minute barrier with Gareth Evans slotting in a lap of 3m55.531s in the final moments to outpace LMP2 rivals PiR and their Pilbeam and lap at 109.69 per cent of pole time.

The Aston Martins have qualified one-two in GT1 with their British Racing Green DBR9s, putting them clear of the best of the Corvette C6.Rs.

It was thought that the American team was packing up early, as they didn't consider it was worth risking anything simply to gain a place or two on the grid.
 
However, this wasn't the end of it as they played a game of brinkmanship and the Corvettes went out with just quarter of an hour to go.

Just as they did so, Aston Martin Racing extended its advantage with David Brabham dipping under 3m50s in the DBR9 he's sharing with Stephane Sarrazin and Darren Turner, putting it 2.5s clear of the Olivier Beretta/Oliver Gavin/Jan Magnussen C6.R.

Then Tomas Enge did better still in the sister DBR9, taking it down to 3m48.576s with 10 minutes to go.

Alex Job Racing held on to their position at the head of the GT2 class with Mike Rockenfeller and Marc Lieb leading the way in their blue and yellow Porsche 911 GT3-RSR to outpace the similar car of arch-rivals Flying Lizard Motorsport piloted by Seth Nieman, Lonnie Pechnik and Johannes van Overbeek as well as the works Panoz Experante GTLMs.

Pos # Team Drivers Car Class Qual 1 Qual 2 Gap
.1 16 Pescarolo Sport Collard E
Boullion JC
Comas E
Pescarolo Judd LM1 4:13.526 3:34.715
.2 17 Pescarolo Sport Loeb S
Helary E
Ayari S
Pescarolo Judd LM1 4:01.197 3:35.555 + 0.840
.3 2 Champion Racing Biela F
Pirro E
McNish A
Audi R8 LM1 4:02.027 3:37.795 + 3.080
.4 5 Jim Gainer International Michigami R
Ara S
Kaneishi K
Dome Mugen LM1 4:08.745 3:38.094 + 3.379
.5 4 Audi Playstation Oreca Montagny F
Gounon JM
Ortelli S
Audi R8 LM1 4:05.770 3:38.281 + 3.566
.6 13 Courage Competition Cochet J
Nakano S
Jouanny B
Courage Judd LM1 4:26.247 3:38.735 + 4.020
.7 7 Creation Autosportif Minassian N
Campbellwalter
Wallace A
DBA Judd LM1 4:02.992 3:38.929 + 4.214
.8 3 Champion Racing Lehto JJ
Werner M
Kristensen T
Audi R8 LM1 4:07.643 3:38.988 + 4.273
.9 18 Rollcentre Racing Short M
Barbosa J
Ickx V
Dallara Judd LM1 4:28.852 3:39.643 + 4.928
.10 9 Team Jota - Zytek Hignett S
Stack J
Kurosawa H
Zytek 04S LM1 4:09.578 3:41.177 + 6.462
.11 10 Racing For Holland Lammers J
Julian E
Bosch J
Dome Judd LM1 4:15.816 3:41.930 + 7.215
.12 37 Paul Belmondo Racing Belmondo P
Andre D
Sutherland R
Courage C65 Fo LM2 4:14.406 3:42.301 + 7.586
.13 12 Courage Competition Schwager D
Frei A
Vann C
Courage Judd LM1 4:45.084 3:42.859 + 8.144
.14 8 Rollcentre Racing Verdoen Roe RG
Krumm M
Primat H
Dallara Nissan LM1 4:20.862 3:43.377 + 8.662
.15 32 Intersport Racing Fisken G
Halliday E
Hancock S
Lola AER LM2 4:11.719 3:44.752 + 10.037
.16 25 RML Erdos T
Newton M
Hughes W
Lola MG LM2 4:28.869 3:46.205 + 11.490
.17 58 Aston Martin Racing Enge T
Kox P
Lamy P
Aston Martin D GT1 4:31.022 3:48.576 + 13.861
.18 34 Miracle Motorsports Macaluso J
James I
Lally A
Courage AER LM2 4:12.754 3:48.819 + 14.104
.19 30 Kruse Motorsport Bennett P
Mitchell I
Mullen T
Courage Judd LM2 4:31.127 3:49.267 + 14.552
.20 59 Aston Martin Racing Brabham D
Sarrazin S
Turner D
Aston Martin D GT1 4:22.600 3:49.739 + 15.024
.21 33 Intersport Racing Zlobin S
Briere B
Barazi J
Courage AER LM2 4:29.217 3:51.844 + 17.129
.22 64 Corvette Racing Gavin O
Beretta O
Magnussen J
Corvette C6-R GT1 4:36.209 3:52.426 + 17.711
.23 31 Del Bello Noel Amorin N
Iannetta R
Pillon CH
Courage - CG LM2 4:21.562 3:53.051 + 18.336
.24 36 Paul Belmondo Racing Gosselin CY
Ojjeh K
Sharpe A
Courage C65 Fo LM2 4:27.268 3:53.376 + 18.661
.25 61 Cirtek Motorsport Fomenko N
Vasiliev A
Bouchut CH
Ferrari 550Mar GT1 4:23.885 3:55.309 + 20.594
.26 39 Chamberlain Synergy Motor Evans R
Berridge R
Owen P
Lola AER LM2 4:51.514 3:55.531 + 20.816
.27 63 Corvette Racing Fellows R
O'connel J
Papis M
Corvette C6-R GT1 4:36.309 3:55.914 + 21.199
.28 50 Larbre Competition Goueslard P
Dupard O
Vosse V
Ferrari 550Mar GT1 4:20.688 3:55.983 + 21.268
.29 20 Bruneau Pierre Rostan M
Haezebrouck P
Bruneau P
Pilbeam JPX LM2 4:39.059 3:57.612 + 22.897
.30 51 BMS Scuderia Italia Pescatori C
Gollin F
Ramos M
Ferrari 550Mar GT1 4:30.973 3:57.676 + 22.961
.31 24 Rachel Welter Terada Y
Roussel P
Binnie W
WR Peugeot LM2 4:42.403 3:59.103 + 24.388
.32 52 BMS Scuderia Italia Bartyan M
Malucelli M
Seiler T
Ferrari 550Mar GT1 4:24.686 3:59.475 + 24.760
.33 71 Alex Job Racing Hindery L
Rockenfeller M
Lieb M
Porsche 911 GT3 Rsr GT2 4:32.235 4:05.326 + 30.611
.34 23 Gerard Welter Bouvet JB
Boulay S
Julien R
WR LM2 4:51.163 4:05.855 + 31.140
.35 80 Flying Lizard Motorsports Van Overbeek J
Pechnik L
Neiman S
Porsche 911 GT GT2 4:44.434 4:06.658 + 31.943
.36 77 Panoz Motor Sports Auberlen B
Liddell R
Maxwell SC
Panoz Elan GT2 4:32.904 4:07.027 + 32.312
.37 76 Raymon Narrac Dumas R
Dumez S
Narac R
Porsche 911 GT GT2 4:25.598 4:07.349 + 32.634
.38 69 JMB Racing De Fournoux Jr
Daoudi S
Matthews J
Ferrari 575 GT GT1 4:33.600 4:07.654 + 32.939
.39 78 Panoz Motor Sports Sellers B
Franchitti M
Bourdais P
Panoz Elan GT2 5:07.955 4:09.262 + 34.547
.40 90 White Lightning Racing Bergmeister J
Long P
Bernhard T
Porsche 911 GT GT2 4:33.107 4:11.105 + 36.390
.41 91 T2M Motorsport Pompidou X
Blanchemain JL
Yamagishi Y
Porsche 911 GT GT2 4:47.922 4:12.144 + 37.429
.42 72 Luc Alphand Aventures Policand J
Campbell CH
Alphand L
Porsche 911 GT GT2 4:41.065 4:12.258 + 37.543
.43 93 Scuderia Ecosse Kinch N
Kirkaldy A
Reid A
Ferrari 360 Mo GT2 4:28.724 4:13.237 + 38.522
.44 89 Sebah Automotive Nielsen L E
Thyrring T
Ehret P
Porsche 911 GT GT2 4:43.150 4:16.930 + 42.215
.45 92 Cirtek Motorsport Macari J
Ericsson S
Wilson R
Ferrari 360 Mo GT2 4:53.019 4:20.873 + 46.158
.46 95 RaceSport Peninsula TVR Hartshorne J
Stanton R
Johnson P
TVR Tuscan T40 GT2 4:48.379 4:22.310 + 47.595
.47 83 Seikel Motorsport Collin P
Felbermayr H
Shep D
Porsche 911 GT GT2 4:49.404 4:24.068 + 49.353
.48 35 G-Force Racing Hillebrand V
Hahn F
Pickering G
Courage C65 Ju LM2 4:31.453 + 56.738
.49 85 Spyker Squadron Coronel T
Crevels D
Van Merksteijn
Spyker C8 Spyd GT2 4:36.539 4:32.043 + 57.328
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