There was less than an hour to go in the final of the three qualifying sessions at the Le Mans 24 Hours. The #2 Audi was still scything around the track, making sure their pole time couldn’t be beaten by their teammates.
Was it a surprise that an Audi was on top, after their successes of the last decade? I’d say yes, bearing in mind the success Toyota scored at the end of last year, and I wasn’t alone in thinking that perhaps Toyota were sandbagging in the early sessions. But no, helped by a weather pattern that would would confuse a surrealist, the time set by Loic Duval in the #2 Audi during the previous day’s first night qualifying stood as the fastest lap of the three sessions. Audi will start tomorrow’s 24 Hours with a clean sweep of the top three grid slots for the rolling start, the Toyotas trailing behind and even being picked on by the fast, beautiful Rebellion Lolas.
Aston Martin have smashed GTE (Grand Touring Endurance), taking pole in both the Pro and Am classes in their centenary year, with perennial rivals Corvettes struggling for pace – they’ll be looking at the long game. But at Le Mans, time can be both an enemy and an ally. I can’t wait for 3pm tomorrow.
LE MANS 24 HOURS 2013 QUALIFYING
1: LMP1 #2 Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro (McNish/Kristensen/Duval) 3m22.249s
2: LMP1 #3 Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro (Digrassi/Gene/Jarvis) +1.3s
3: LMP1 #1 Audi R18 TDI e-tron quattro (Lotterer/Fassler/Treluyer) +2s
4: LMP1 #8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (Davidson/Sarrazin/Buemi) +4.3s
5: LMP1 #7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid (Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima) +4.3s
9: LMP2 #24 Oak Morgan Nissan (Pla/Brundle/Heinemeier Hansson) +16.3s
29: GTE-Pro #99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage (Bell/Makowiecki/Senna) +32.3s
38: GTE-Am #95 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage (Nygaard/Poulsen/Simonsen) +35.4s