Warm-up: Pescatori's turn at the top

Newboy Christian Pescatori set the tone at Le Mans by leading an Audi one-two at the top of the time sheets in the warm-up for today's 24 hour race, with a late lap to nip ahead of Emanuele Pirro in the number one R8

Warm-up: Pescatori's turn at the top

This is the second consecutive session where the number two Audi, which will start from pole this afternoon, has beaten the defending champion's car of Pirro, Frank Biela and Tom Kristensen.

But the Joest-run team was run pretty close by the Bentley of Stephane Ortelli, Martin Brundle and Guy Smith with Ortelli showing the potential of the EXP Speed 8 by finishing third fastest.

After overnight rain, drivers were faced with a slightly damp La Sarthe circuit and with the warm-up session all about track time, nobody was pushing for a time. Teams concentrated on systems checks and getting all three drivers into the cars.

Both lead Audis ran nose to tail at the beginning of the 45-minute session and set the early pace, with Frank Biela leading the times in the car he shares with Pirro and Tom Kristensen. But as conditions improved, the times began to fall.

The time sheets made for interesting reading with the staple Audi steamroller at the top limited to only the top two places. The Pescarolo Sport Courage-Peugeot of Jean-Cristophe Boullion/Stephane Bourdais/Laurent Redon set the fourth fastest time, closely followed by the DAMS Cadillac of Emmanuel Collard/Marc Goosens/Eric Bernard.

The Panoz team seems to be improving with every session. Even though Klaus Graf ended up in the gravel at Indianapolis after a tyre problem on the number 11 LMP07, the sister car of Jan Magnussen/David Brabham/Frank Lagorce set the sixth fastest time, giving the Dave Price Racing-run squad encouragement before the race.

The Team Playstation Chrysler-Mopar of Olivier Beretta/Karl Wendlinger/Pedro Lamy finished seventh fastest ahead of the official Chrysler entries. The sister number 14 car of S Ara/M Kondo/n Amorim spun at the Dunlop bridge on the way to a lowly 31st fastest.

The potential of the Pescarolo Sport team was further reinforced by the second car's eighth fastest time, ahead of the privateer Audis. Johnny Herbert was ninth quickest for the Champion team ahead of the Gulf-backed car of Stefan Johannson, Tom Coronel and Patrick Lemarie in 10th.

For MG it was a case of conservation with both Lola-built cars completing only one installation lap a piece. With reliability the team's likely Achilles' heel, the mileage on both EX257s was kept to a minimum.


2 (900) R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 3m40.497s
1 (900) T Kristensen, E Pirro, F Biela, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 3m41.567s
7 (GTP) M Brundle/S Ortelli/G Smith, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, 3m42.786s
17 (900) J C Boullion/S Bourdais/L Redon, Courage-Peugeot C60, Pescarolo Sport, 3m43.912s
5 (900) E Bernard/E Collard/M Goosens, Cadillac Northstar LMP, DAMS, 3m44.316s
12 (900) D Brabham/J Magnussen/G Formato, Panoz LMP 07, Panoz Motorsports, 3m46.256s
16 (900) O Beretta/K Wendlinger/P Lamy, Chrysler-Mopar LMP, Team Playstation (ORECA), 3m47.112s
18 (900) E Clerico/D Cottaz/B Derichebourg, Courage-Peugeot C60, Pescarolo Sport, 3m48.336s
3 (900) J Herbert/R Kelleners/D Theys, Audi R8, Champion Racing, 3m48.422s
4 (900) T Coronel/S Johansson/P Lemarie, Audi R8, Johanssen Racing (Arena), 3m48.514s



2 (900) R Capello/L Aiello/C Pescatori, Audi R8, Joest Audi Sport, 3m40.497s

7 M Brundle/S Ortelli/G Smith, Bentley EXP Speed 8, Team Bentley, 3m42.786s

38 J Gene/J D Deletraz/P Fabre, Reynard-Lehmann, ROC Competition, 3m51.491s

62 J Mowlem/B Lambert/I Mckellar, Saleen-Ford, Ray Mallock Ltd, 4m00.989s

70 B Mazzuoccola/V Rice/C Wagner, Callaway C12-R, Michael Colucci Racing, 4m32.409s

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