Peugeot successfully defend pole in Le Mans
Sébastien Bourdais, Pedro Lamy and Simon Pagenaud will start from pole position in this year's Le Mans 24-hours race.
The trio in the Peugeot 908 with Number 3 on its side had no difficulty in defending their best lap time through into the second qualifying session, with slippery conditions and frequent rain showers making things difficult for the pursuing pack.
It wasn't until just before midnight that fast laps of the 13km circuit on the River Sarthe became possible again, though this did not lead to any changes at the top, as all four Peugeots stayed out ahead.
Bourdais had already clocked a lap time of 03:19.711 minutes on Wednesday evening, 0.606 seconds faster than the sister Peugeot driven by Alexander Wurz, Marc Gene and Anthony Davidson.
The French constructor's biggest rival Audi fought valiantly for pole but ultimately failed. Shortly before the end of timed practice, Mike Rockenfeller reduced the deficit on the Peugeots to a minimum but still had to content himself with fifth place on a lap time of 03:21.981 minutes.
Just two-tenths behind the fastest Audi came the next of the Ingolstadt-based team. Dindo Capello and his two codrivers booked sixth slot on the grid followed by the third of the works Audis. Making up the rest of the Top 10 were three Aston Martins, including one privately entered by Signature.
There were no changes at the front of the LMP2 class either. Nick Leventis, Danny Watts and Jonny Kane were likewise unable to improve on their best time – and in any case, there was no need to. The trio in their HPD ARX.01 claimed 15th place in the general classification.
Consistent with his performance over the past few years, Tomas Enge once again took pole position in the LMGT1 class. Together with Peter Kox and Christoffer Nygaard, the Czech in his Aston Martin DBR9 was unbeatable, even though the Ford GT of Marc VDS Racing managed to reduce the gap to a mere three-tenths of a second in the end.
There were also no changes to report in the fourth and last category, the smaller-engined GT2 class. So on Saturday at 3pm local time, Jamie Melo, Gianmaria Bruni und Pierre Kaffer will lead off the rest of the GT2 class. Lining up behind their Ferrari will be the works Corvette driven by Emmanuel Collard.
Overall / LMP1-Class
1. Peugeot Sport Total #3 - Sebastien Bourdais - 3:19.711 min
2. Team Peugeot Total #1 - Alexander Wurz - 3:20.317
3. Team Peugeot Total #2 - Stephane Sarrazin - 3:20.235
1. Strakka Racing #42 - Danny Watts - 3:33.079
2. Highcroft Racing #26 - Mario Franchitti - 3:34.537
3. RML #25 - Mike Newton - 3:39.648
1. Young Driver AMR #52 - Tomas Enge - 3:55.025
2. Marc VDS Racing #70 - Markus Palttala - 3:55.356
3. Matech Competition #60 - Thomas Mutsch - 3:55.583
1. Risi Competizione #82 - Gianmaria Bruni - 3:59.233
3. Corvette Racing #64 - Emmanuele Collard - 3:59.435
2. Corvette Racing #63 - Antonia Garcia - 3:59.793