Qualifications for the Petit Le Mans took place this afternoon with all the focus on the Audi/Peugeot battle. The two teams did not fail in delivering a great session which acted as a sneak peek into this weekend’s epic battle.
The focus was all on the P1 class and Peugeot took the first round of the fight to Audi and secured the front row out right. The Peugeot piloted by Nicolas Minassian took pole position in the 07. Franck Montagny’s #08 qualified just 0.223s behind the 07 and is ahead of both factory Audis that occupy the second row. Dindo Capello was off by just over a second in third and Lucas Luhr was directly behind him in fourth. We have seen this episode before however, and Audi think they have made up ground on the dominant Peugeots. So it will be interesting to see how pit strategy plays into Audi’s race.
The LMP2 class was boring to say the least and the Lola-Mazda took pole position. Hernandez Acura was only able to secure third in class. This weekend may finally see the Acura grip on P2 end. The Mazda has slowly been improving over the course of the year and as I said on this past week’s show, have my vote to win the race this weekend.
GT2 class was able to offer a qualification shock much like Acura did in Sebring at the beginning of the year. The two smallest teams in the series were able to take the fight to the big dogs and throw together one hell of a session. The one and only Doran Ford secured pole position in one of the biggest upsets in motor racing this year. This is the same GT2 class that we hail as being one of the most intense and interesting to watch in all of US and some European series. The private Ford GT secured pole position with a time of 1m20.819s. The shocking part of the whole thing is the pace that the Ford did not have all year and then to just turn it on when it matters was very impressive. Second place was a Corvette. It was not however a factory Corvette. Another private and relatively low funded team provided this entry. This was the Riley Corvette piloted by Tom Sutherland that further shocked the Petit crowd. You have to go to third place to find the first factory effort. That is the Corvette of Beretta who is then followed by the BMW M3 machines.
Given the caliber of competition and shocking results from this qualification, we can be sure that this weekend’s race will be all that it has been built up to be. Below are the results for the field.
Pos Drivers Cl Car Time
1. Minassian/Lamy P1 Peugeot 1m06.937s
2. Sarrazin/Montagny P1 Peugeot 1m07.160s
3. Capello/McNish P1 Audi 1m08.200s
4. Luhr/Werner P1 Audi 1m08.228s
5. De Ferran/Pagenaud/Dixon P1 Acura 1m08.348s
6. Panis/Lapierre/Dumas P1 ORECA 1m09.566s
7. Field/Field P1 Lola 1m09.685s
8. Leitzinger/Franchitti/Devlin P2 Lola-Mazda 1m10.152s
9. Drayson/Cocker/Bell P1 Lola 1m10.552s
10. Pickett/Graf/Maassen P2 Porsche 1m11.405s
11. Fernandez/Diaz P2 Acura 1m11.758s
12. Burgess/McMurry/Willman P1 Lola 1m12.676s
13. Murry/Robertson/Robertson GT2 Doran Ford 1m20.819s
14. Sutherland/Drissi/Bell GT2 Riley Corvette 1m20.877s
15. Beretta/Gavin/Fassler GT2 Corvette 1m20.912s
16. Muller/Milner/Muller GT2 BMW 1m20.981s
17. Hand/Auberlen/Priaulx GT2 BMW 1m21.219s
18. Bergmeister/Long/Lieb GT2 Porsche 1m21.299s
19. Magnussen/O’Connell/Garcia GT2 Corvette 1m21.491s
20. Farnbacher/James GT2 Panoz 1m21.648s
21. Henzler/Werner GT2 Porsche 1m21.760s
22. Melo/Kaffer/Salo GT2 Ferrari 1m22.718s
23. Sellers/Cicero GT2 Porsche 1m23.081s
24. Feinberg/Hall GT2 Dodge 1m23.121s
25. Law/van Overbeek/Neiman GT2 Porsche 1m25.601s