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Peugeot, Audi battle in the wet

Peugeot may have the measure of Audi on speed in the dry after second qualifying on Wednesday night, but the third session of qualifying saw the two manufacturers go head to head in the wet for the first time, and there was little to choose between them

The start of the qualifying session was delayed for 30 minutes as the historic support race laid a sheet of oil on the circuit which became ever more treacherous when a light shower of rain hit the circuit shortly before 7:00 pm.

The green flag waved at 7:30 pm, but just five minutes into the session the rain hit in earnest and many of the competitors stayed in their garages, though a few brave souls ventured out, including Jacques Villeneuve in the Peugeot 908.

As the rain eased off the times started to tumble, though they were still minutes slower than Wednesday's best.

It was Villeneuve who emerged as the fastest of the Peugeot drivers, setting a 4:07.586 during a long run, just three tenths of a second slower than Rinaldo Capello's Audi.

However, the track continued to dry and the times continued to improve at the end of the session.

Marco Werner posted fastest time in the final half hour with a lap of 4:05.008, and that was followed by Allan McNish with 4:05.479 on his final lap as darkness began to fall around the circuit.

McNish had battled with Sebastien Bourdais, whose best of 4:06.485 was good enough for third fastest on the night, while Villeneuve's best stood to the end of the session.

The best of the petrol cars was Emmanuel Collard with 4:14.213, set earlier in the session and not when the track was at its fastest, but the session highlighted the advantage of diesel power.

Not only can the Audi and Peugeot cars deliver the 650bhp and 1200Nm of torque on to the track, even in wet conditions, they can also benefit from fuel economy on partial throttle that the wet weather commands.

The two Barazi Epsilon Zyteks headed the LM P2 class, with Adrian Fernandez setting a best of 4:18.095, ahead of Juan Barazi.

In GT1, Antonio Garcia set a best of 4:28.580 in the Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9. However, none of the times so far today mean anything, with the times for most cars still standing from Wednesday.

With the rain easing off, though, there is a possibility of a dry track towards midnight.

Qualifying 2 (part 1) times:

Pos Cl Drivers Team Car Time Gap
1. LMP1 Biela
Pirro
Werner
Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI 4:05.008
2. LMP1 Capello
Kristensen
McNish
Audi Sport North America Audi R10 TDI 4:05.479 0.471
3. LMP1 Lamy
Sarrazin
Bourdais
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 Hdi FAP 4:06.485 1.477
4. LMP1 Gene
Minassian
Villeneuve
Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 Hdi FAP 4:07.586 2.578
5. LMP1 Luhr
Rockenfeller
Premat
Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 TDI 4:08.986 3.978
6. LMP1 Collard
Boullion
Dumas
Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 4:14.213 9.205
7. LMP1 Lammers
Hart
Bleekemolen
Racing For Holland Dome S101.5 Judd 4:16.675 11.667
8. LMP2 Fernandez
Kurosawa
Kerr
Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 4:18.095 13.087
9. LMP1 Yoong
Mucke
Charouz
Charouz Racing Lola B07/17 Judd 4:18.735 13.727
10. LMP2 Barazi
Vergers
Ojjeh
Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S/2 4:20.230 15.222
11. LMP1 Deletraz
Fassler
Alexander
Swiss Spirit Lola Audi B07/10 4:21.415 16.407
12. LMP1 Primat
Tinseau
Treluyer
Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 4:22.459 17.451
13. LMP1 Gounon
Moreau
Johansson
Courage Competition Courage LC70 AER 4:23.905 18.897
14. LMP1 Barbosa
Hall
Short
Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo Judd 4:26.442 21.434
15. LMP1 Campbell-Walter
Ortiz
Nakano
Creation Autosportif Ltd Creation Judd CA07 4:28.286 23.278
16. LMGT1 Garcia
Menten
Fittipaldi
Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 4:28.580 23.572
17. LMGT1 Brabham
Rydell
Turner
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 4:29.918 24.910
18. LMP2 Erdos
Newton
Wallace
RML Lola B05/40 AER 4:31.102 26.094
19. LMGT1 Enge
Herbert
Kox
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 4:31.269 26.261
20. LMGT1 Groppi
Prost
Belloc
Team Oreca Saleen S7R 4:31.768 26.760
21. LMGT1 Bouchut
Gollin
Elgaard
AMR Larbre Comp. Aston Martin DBR9 4:32.633 27.625
22. LMGT1 Ortelli
Ayari
Lapierre
Team Oreca Saleen S7-R 4:32.860 27.852
23. LMGT1 Babini
Davies
Malucelli
Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin DBR9 4:33.348 28.340
24. LMP2 Jouanny
Nicolet
Filhol
Saulnier Racing Courage LC75 AER 4:33.662 28.654
25. LMGT1 Beretta
Gavin
Papis
Corvette Racing Corvette C6R 4:35.281 30.273
26. LMGT1 O'connell
Magnussen
Fellows
Corvette Racing Corvette C6R 4:36.285 31.277
27. LMGT2 Narac
Lietz
Long
Imsa Performance Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 4:38.386 33.378
28. LMP1 Frei
Cochet
Besson
Courage Competition Courage LC70 AER 4:38.998 33.990
29. LMGT2 Salo
Melo
Mowlem
Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT 4:39.564 34.556
30. LMGT1 Policand
Goueslard
Alphand
Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 4:39.856 34.848
31. LMP2 Petrov
Halliday
Ianetta
Noel Del Bello Courage LC75 AER 4:40.015 35.007
32. LMP2 Rostan
Pickering
Macallister
Pierre Bruneau Pilbeam MP93 Judd 4:41.176 36.168
33. LMGT2 Kimber-Smith
Watts
Milner
Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM 4:41.437 36.429
34. LMGT2 Nielsen
Simonsen
Ehret
Autorlando Sport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 4:41.631 36.623
35. LMGT1 Smet
Gosselin
Peter
PSI Experience Corvette C6R 4:43.878 38.870
36. LMP2 Amaral
De Castro
Hughes
Quifel ASM Team Lola B05/40 AER 4:47.127 42.119
37. LMGT2 Niarchos
Kirkaldy
Mullen
Scuderia Ecosse Ferrari 430 GT 4:47.877 42.869
38. LMP2 Binnie
Timpany
Buncombe
Binnie Motorsports Lola B05/40 Zytek 4:48.025 43.017
39. LMGT2 Janis
Hezemans
Kane
Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4:48.067 43.059
40. LMGT1 Vasiliev
Kostka
Persl
Convers Menx Team Ferrari 550 Maranello 4:48.199 43.191
41. LMGT2 Tomlinson
Dean
Bell
Team LNT Panoz Esperante GTLM 4:50.879 45.871
42. LMGT2 Belicchi
Caffi
Chiesa
Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Spyder GT2R 4:52.766 47.758
43. LMGT1 Bornhauser
Berville
Fisken
AMR Larbre Comp. Aston Martin DBR9 4:53.664 48.656
44. LMP2 Longechal
Yamagishi
Terada
T2M Motorsport Dome Mader S101-5 4:58.703 53.695
45. LMGT2 Collin
Felbermayr Sr
Felbermayr Jr
Seikel Motorsport Porsche 911 GT3 RSR 5:03.369 58.361
46. LMGT2 Marsh
Villarroel
Rosenblad
GPC Sport Ferrari F430 GT 5:09.969 1:04.961
47. LMGT2 Macari
Aucott
Newey
AF Corse Ferrari F430 GT 5:10.060 1:05.052
48. LMGT2 Krohn
Jonsson
Braun
Risi Competizione Ferrari F430 GT 5:10.785 1:05.777
49. LMGT1 Blanchemain
Vosse
Andre
Alphand Aventures Corvette C5-R 9:44.398 5:39.390

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