Treluyer, Audi Take Michelin to Le Mans Pole

June 9, 2011

Treluyer, Audi Take Michelin to Le Mans Pole

June 9, 2011

The No. 2 Audi starts on pole for the 2011 24 Hours of Le Mans. Photo credit: Rick Dole for Michelin North America

Audi ended Peugeot’s streak of pole positions for the 24 Hours of Le Mans dating to 2007, as the R18 TDI took its first pole at Le Mans in its first attempt. Benoit Treluyer in the No. 2 Audi set the fastest time of 3:25.738; the Frenchman co-drives with Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler in the “young guns” Audi of the three competing.

Audi locked out the front row of the grid ahead of the No. 9 Peugeot, driven by Simon Pagenaud, Sebastien Bourdais and Pedro Lamy.

The six new diesel entries from the two manufacturers were separated by a relatively microscopic 0.534 of a second over the course of the 8.4-mile Circuit de la Sarthe. Michelin runners swept the top 10 on the overall and LMP1 class grid in an effort to secure the tire manufacturer’s 14th consecutive overall victory at Le Mans.

Signatech Nissan took the LMP2 class pole, the No. 26 driven by Soheil Ayari, Franck Mailleux and Lucas Ordonez aboard the Oreca 03 car. That car also won the pole for the first round of the 2011 Intercontinental Le Mans Cup season at Sebring; Le Mans this year doubles as a double-points, third round of this year’s ILMC schedule.

In GTE Pro, BMW held onto the pole it held provisionally from Wednesday although the cars swapped. BMW’s No. 55 took the class pole with Augusto Farfus while the sister No. 56 car crashed at the Ford Chicane with Andy Priaulx driving and was not able to improve. AF Corse Ferrari split the BMWs in second with the ace trio of Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria “Gimmi” Bruni and Toni Vilander.

Corvette Racing has shown the strongest of the American Le Mans Series contingent at Le Mans, and will start fourth and sixth in GTE Pro with its two Corvette C6.Rs. Flying Lizard Porsche looks to improve from 12th on the grid in GTE Pro and second in GTE Am.

Level 5 and Robertson Racing have both done well to fix niggling issues; Level 5 overcoming a fuel filler problem and the Robertsons an engine change for its Doran Ford GT-R, Andrea Robertson said. Those two teams seek miles, experience and a finish in the endurance classic.

Top 3 Times in Class

1. #2 Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R18 TDI, 3:25.738
2. #1 Audi Sport Team Joest, Audi R18 TDI, 3:25.799
3. #9 Team Peugeot Total, Peugeot 908, 3:26.010

1. #26 Signatech Nissan, Oreca 03 Nissan, 3:41.458
2. #42 Strakka Racing, HPD ARX-01d, 3:42.615
3. #48 Team Oreca Matmut, Oreca 03 Nissan, 3:43.098

1. #55 BMW Motorsport, BMW M3, 3:57.592
2. #51 AF Corse, Ferrari F458 Italia, 3:58.040
3. #56 BMW Motorsport, BMW M3, 3:58.426

1. #61 AF Corse, Ferrari F430 GT, 4:01.282
2. #81 Flying Lizard Motorsports, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 4:03.648
3. #70 Larbre Competition, Porsche 911 GT3 RSR, 4:03.918

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