Le Mans 24 Hours
Thursday Qualifying Report - 900 & 675
The third qualifying
session of the weekend began with some worrying scenes: Jamie Campbell-Walter
hit the barrier - heading backwards, side-on we believe - on his
first flying lap in the Lister Storm LMP. The session was immediately
red-flagged, and medical staff took extreme care to remove the Scot
from the Lister.
of the driver took a good ten minutes. JC-W was carefully placed
into an ambulance, and we'll bring news of his well-being as soon
as we can.
happened at the end of the new section of track after the Dunlop
Bridge, at the entrance to the Esses.
At 19.25, the
cars went out again, to resume the third session. Then oil went
down, and at least a couple of the GT Porsches had wild moments
as a result - along the first part of the Mulsanne, towards or at
the First Chicane. The Perspective Porsche may have been the cause
of the oil going down, after an engine failure. The NASAMAX Reynard
couldn't turn in to the First Chicane, and weaved through the tyres,
placed along the Mulsanne itself.
has returned from the Lister pit to report that JC-W may have a
broken ankle. We'll have to wait and hope that his injuries are
no worse than that.
The cars leave
the pits for the third time at 19.50. There's a lot of cement dust
down into that First Chicane, but it's mostly off the racing line.
The #7 Bentley set a 3:37, so the oil doesn't seem to be a factor
- and the NASAMAX Reynard is the first prototype to improve its
time, by six-tenths - and then by another second or so on Dumas'
next lap. The #7 Bentley set a 3:35.907, just to assure us that
it is the quickest thing in the place. Bentley and Audi Sport UK
Audi were the only other two cars under 3:40, just into the second
At 20.30, JJ
Lehto set a 3:36.857, the first car into the 3:36s, other than a
Bentley. And it's still hot at Le Mans,
was out for two single flying laps, before and after the Perspective
oil went down. "It's very difficult into the First Chicane:
the oil is on the left, just where you'd choose to be to brake.
To keep off it, I stayed in the middle, on the crown of the road,
but the car bottoms there. My better lap was a 3:41, which was OK
in the conditions."
RfH has one
set of qualifiers left, and we believe that Jan Lammers will aim
to join JJ Lehto in the 3:36s, just after 22.00.
Good news: JC-W
hasn't broken his ankle, but the car is thought to be out of the
Reynard is into the 3:57s, and safely inside the qualification cut-off.
The new WR isn't. The #12 Panoz stopped on the track, with 20 minutes
left - at Indianapolis. Scott Maxwell had a moment.
skated off at the First Chicane, the Perspective oil still finding
victims - this time the Intersport MG-Lola. The older WR, the 675
#24, stopped just before the remains of the hump on Mulsanne, and
was pushed behind the barrier.
a 3:41, after a quick first sector time.
started at 20.55, Magnussen taking 'fastest Audi honours' with a
3:36.418, Herbert then improving on #8 Bentley's best with a 35.126,
an improvement of one tenth.
went quicker than yesterday in the #31 Courage, and the NASAMAX
Reynard set a 3:56. Duncan Dayton got Intersport moving with a 3:47,
while Gounon and Goossens both improved, in #13 Courage and #4 R&S
respectively - tenth and twelfth.
The ten o'clock
blast - and Jan Lammers goes third fastest, ahead of all three Audis!
was ahead of Lammers on the track, just like last night, and set
a 3:33. The Dome seemed to match the Bentley round the bulk of the
lap, losing out through the Porsche Curves (presumably) and the
a very low 3:35 on his second flying lap, a slight improvement.
Gounon leaps up to eighth with a 3:40.400, but Tristan Gommendy
sets a 3:38.058 to place seventh, behind the three Audis. It's an
MG-Lola went faster again, a 3:46.404. Still second in 675, two
seconds slower than Nielsen's best.
Lammers is going
to have another go, with his last set of Michelin qualifiers. Meanwhile,
the #24 WR LMP-01 has stopped out on the circuit, and the bodywork
was taken off the car for attention to something.
some real Riley & Scott form...a 3:37.476,
seventh quickest, demoting Gommendy's Dome. Did you think the R&S
was capable of such a time? Magnussen had a go at getting third
place from Lammers, but ended up four tenths slower than Lammers,
one and a half tenths slower than his best time before the break.
At 22.40, in darkness,
Frank Biela steals Lammers' third place with a 3:35.745 - so the
Audi UK R8 is fastest Audi once again. That surely has to be the
end of it?
1. #7 Bentley
- Kristensen - 3:32.843
2. #8 Bentley - Herbert - 3:35.098
3. #10 Audi - Biela - 3:35.745
4. #15 Dome - Lammers - 3:36.156
5. #5 Audi - Magnussen - 3:36.418
6. #6 Audi - Lehto - 3:36.857
7. #4 R&S - Goossens - 3:37.476
8. #16 Dome - Gommendy - 38.058
9. #13 Courage - Gounon - 3:40.400
10. #11 Panoz - Beretta - 3:40.766.
of steam and news here: John Nielsen was very late out this evening,
RN Motorsports having been attending to a throttle linkage problem
after an engine change this today. Big John all but matched his
3:44.333 from yesterday.
Reynard set its best time just before the end of the third hour,
Romain Dumas a 3:54.320, 21st on the grid.
Pilbeam had a fresh engine fitted, but didn't get out until the
mid-point of today's action. Brian Willman may be too far off the
minimum qualification time. We'll sort out other drivers in danger
The RN Motorsports
DBA has been setting 3:45 night laps as the fourth two hour session
comes to a close. Combined times are posted, which is effectively
the grid, with the exception of the Lister.
that he hit the barrier at 146 mph, at 14g. He's rather bruised,
but basically OK. "The side impact protection in the Lister
is so good, that my neck is fine. We didn't have enough spares to
repair the car - but we'll be back. I was heading for a 3:41....."
Good night from