Qualifying 2: Capello on provisional pole

Audi ace Rinaldo Capello stole Dome's thunder to take provisional pole position in tonight's (Wednesday) second qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours

Qualifying 2: Capello on provisional pole

The Italian set a new mark of 3m30.347s after eight minutes of the two-hour session to knock Jan Lammers off the top spot. The Dutchman had surprised the Audi squad by outpacing them in the first session.

The Racing for Holland team lost another place just seconds after Capello had eclipsed its time when Tom Kristensen's R8 jumped up to second, giving Audi a one-two. Lammers responded by improving his time to 1m31.057s, but he remained third.

As most teams will concentrate on race set-up in tomorrow night's two sessions, that skirmish could well have settled the top grid positions for the race, which starts on Saturday afternoon.

Behind these three, the honour of being fourth quickest was hotly contested. Olivier Beretta was the first to make his move in the ORECA Dallara, but a couple of moments later Mark Blundell pushed him back to fifth in the MG.

But the former Grand Prix driver's session would end in drama. Blundell clipped a Porsche GT car through the new Tetre Rouge esses at an estimated speed of over 135mph. The car hit the barriers and suffered a broken steering arm. With the second MG out of the session thanks to an engine change, it proved a tough day for the British marque.

Just to add to Blundell's woes, he didn't even end up fourth quickest. Michael Krumm's Audi R8 beat his time to knock the leading LMP 675 car off the second row.

Max Angelleli gave Cadillac something to cheer about, managing a time around five seconds faster than the marque achieved in the Le Mans test day last month. His time was good enough for eighth.

The lone Bentley was a rather disappointing 10th behind the Courage-Peugeot. To make matters worse, Andy Wallace was taken off by a slower car as he approached Indianapolis at full speed. The car was not seriously damaged.

In the GTS class, Corvette driver Oliver Gavin duelled with Alain Menu's Prodrive Ferrari for the quickest time. Given that it was Menu's first laps of Le Mans, his pace was impressive, particularly as he drove in the dark. And it was the Swiss driver who came out on top. "I don't think I've ever been to a track quite like this one!" he said.

The Racer's Group Porsche continued to set the pace in the GT class.


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