Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Le Mans: Audi on provisional pole position after qualifying 1

By Tarek Ramchani

Audi dominated the free practice session at Le Mans earlier today. It was the same story in the first qualifying session tonight. Audi Sport Team Joest are again on top of the field.

Right from the start the Audis started to battle each other for provisional pole position. The arch rivals from Toyota never challenged the R18s for the top spots in this first qualifying session. At the end of the two-hour session it was an Audi 1-2-3. The #2 R18 e-tron quattro set the fastest time of the session. The car shared by Allan McNish, Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval with an impressive 3:22.349. Their teammates Lucas di Grassi, Oliver Jarvis and Marc Gené, driving the #3 Audi, were second. In third was the #1 machine of drivers André Lotterer, Benoit Trelyuer and Marcel Fassler. The session was red flagged after a huge impact on a barrier, therefore the race officials decided to end the session early.

The factory Toyota Racing squad was right behind the Audis. The #7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid of Alexander Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima finished in fourth, ahead of the first Rebellion Racing Lola/Toyota (#12), which split the two Toyotas. The second Toyota, the #8 driven by Anthony Davidson, Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Buemi, suffered an off and did not make it back out and remained in sixth. The second Rebellion Lola/Toyota (#13) was in seventh ahead of Strakka Racing, who were again the last ranked LMP1 car with their HPD ARX 03C Honda.

Day 1 at Le Mans was an all-Audi affair. Even better, all three cars are very fast and competitive. Two further qualifying sessions are on the program for tomorrow evening at Le Mans. We wish the best of luck to the whole Audi squad and their nine drivers.

Photo credit: Audi Media