Audi has made history by achieving the first-ever pole position for a hybrid car at Le Mans.
The combination of TDI (diesel) driving the rear wheels and electric motors driving the front wheels enabled André Lotterer to achieve a fastest lap of 3m 23.787s - an improvement of nearly two seconds over last year's time.
"The car was running like it was on rails, simply incredible. The guys at Audi Sport did a top job yet again and made my first pole position at Le Mans possible for me. Many thanks to them for this!" raved the 31-year-old German.
The second-placed Audi was the conventional (but still diesel-powered) R18 Ultra, only 0.291 seconds behind. That must make for some interesting logistics in the Audi garage as they have to run effectively two separate teams – one for the e-tron Quattros and one for the R18 Ultras. The only team to split the Audis was Toyota - also running hybrid racers.
In the other classes, the leading LMP2 car was the ADR-Delta Zytek-Nissan, the leading GTE Pro car was the Luxury Ferrari 458 Italia (with an Aston Martin just half a second behind) and the fastest qualifying GTE-Am car (a class for the traditional Le Mans "gentleman" or amateur drivers) was the Flying Lizard Porsche 997.
1 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 3m 23.787 s
2 Dumas/Duval/Gené (Audi R18 ultra) 3m 24.078s
3 Davidson/Buemi/Sarrazin (Toyota) 3m 24.842s
4 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 3m 25.433s
5 Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima (Toyota) 3m 25.488s
6 Bonanomi/Jarvis/Rockenfeller (Audi R18 ultra) 3m 26.420s
7 Leventis/Watts/Kane (HPD Honda) 3m 29.622s
8 Prost/Jani/Heidfeld (Lola-Toyota) 3m 29.837s
9 Belicchi/Primat/Bleekemolen (Lola-Toyota) 3m 31.866s
10 Bourdais/Minassian/Ara (Dome-Judd) 3m 33.066s