72nd Le Mans 24 Hours - Thursday Qualifying - Session 2
dsc's Paul Slinger
caught up with three significant fellows before the fourth and final
session. They ain't finished yet...
Pescarolo: “We did try with qualifiers once in the
session but the car was worse than yesterday and Bourdais came across
traffic again. We will try once more with qualifiers at the start
of the next session and I think the Veloqx cars are maybe too quick
but I think we will be able to beat the other two Audis and the
Zytek if we get a good run.”
Kristensen: “Dindo did the time on soft race rubber
and it was slightly quicker because it was cooler today and the
set-up is very good. Now I will try with qualifiers once, and then
we will work on finishing the race set-up.”
Barbosa: “The car felt very good, we just wanted
to check the car was working as it should. I will have one go on
qualifiers at the start of the next session. If anyone at the front
gets a good clear lap they can move up, so we must try to do the
same. It will be difficult but hopefully we can move up to at least
where we were yesterday (seventh).”
/ Dumas / Kelleners Porsche isanother GT going for it, we're told
via Dunlop, while the 16 RfH Dome has an engine problem, and is
done for the day.
eight minutes into the session, a 3:34.038 for the five times winner
Tom Kristensen, still fourth, but Herbert is in the 3:32s
for the first time this week, a 3:32.838. Simultaneously,
the Choroq Porsche - the Goh car - drags gravel onto the track.
Herbert seals the pole.
Bourdais has lapped faster
than the Champion Audi, fifth fastest, 3:34.2. Katoh and Lammers
have both improved, but are still in the 3:36s.
The McNish Audi
is not on track, it's having its engine changed. It may venture
out for some installation laps towards the end of the session.
Gounon has gone even
quicker in the factory Courage C65, a car-engine combination that
ran for the first time yesterday (although the Belmondo car is the
same). J-M's time is a 3:41.664, faster than eight LMP1 cars.
The Lister has improved
to a 3:43.760, past the Nasamax to 14th.
GT: 2nd in class is the
JMB Ferrari, a 4:08.541 by Jaime Melo. Stockton is going faster
still in the 89 TVR, still seventh quickest.
O'Connell makes it a C5-R 1-2 in GTS, a 3:51.378, four
tenths faster than the fastest 550 Ferrari.
At 22.20, that
looks as though we've seen all the fast laps, and the grid is set.
Oh, Gounon again,
a 3:41.127. Gounon again, shaving one thousandth of a second off
that time on his next lap.
There are improvements
in time but not position for both Clint Field's No 32 Lola and Mike
Rockenfeller in the BAM! Porsche.
of 23.00, three improvements - to prove the above comment (about
no improvements) wrong. Clint Field found a second, but stayed in
the same position (28th), Kevin McGarrity found two seconds but
stayed 14th, which is where the Nasamax has been almsot since 19.00
on Wednesday, while the Belmondo Courge is having a much better
day all round, improving to a 3:51, 21st overall.
As we reach
23.30, we're really winding down here.
But now Tomas
Enge is circulating again in the refettled 66 Prodrive Ferrari,
the aftermath of Enge's accident in the Porsche Curves in the earlier
session. McNish is out at 23.35, with the re-engined Audi.
on the Courage C65, compared to the WR he drove here last year:
"I'd estimate it has twice as much downforce as the WR had.
Indianapolis is just a dab on the brakes, partly because we've got
a top speed of (only) about 285 kph. It's much more stable than
So the 2004
regs LMP2 C65, "which is a much larger car than the WR",
has considerably more downforce - which makes for a very quick motor
car with the AER engine in it (Gounon / Belmondo), while it's a
very useable machine with the IES V6 in it.
is very happy with the Racer's Group Porsche, the car being "absolutely
magic". The only significant problem has been with the r/front
corner early yesterday evening, easily fixed. "All three of
us are very consistent, whereas a good number of the other GT cars
have a quick driver, ad one or two slower drivers. We'll see how
it pans out after a few hours. "Maldives" sponsorship
on the car is connected to car owner Lars Nielsen, who owns a hotel
and an airline there.
professionalism of the team is what atrracted us to The Racer's
Group. Lars did a deal with Kevin (to run his car), and we did a
sub-deal with Lars."
Tomas Enge makes up for his misdemeanour with pole position in GTS,
a 3:49.438. That is a remarkable performance from the Czech....
three-tenths faster than the 64 Corvette.
sets a 4:01.679, in the baby Intersport car, but is still 28th.
Marco Werner goees faster for Champion, but is still sixth (3:35.429)
- then faster again, 3:34.927... still sixth.
Mike Rockenfeller, who felt that he'd set a great lap in the BAM!
RSR: "We are third on the (GT) grid; obviously, I'm not happy.
It felt like it was a good car for pole. I had traffic in the chicane,
[costing] maybe three or four tenths, but I still thought it was
a good lap. I don't know why, I have to look at the data and maybe
I'll see where I lost the time. The guys did a great job and the
car felt good, but I don't know why it was so slow."
word to Tomas Enge: "I shunted the car quite badly, but they
fixed the car in two hours - so well that it was perfect. This is
the best team I have ever worked with. They like me, maybe they
love me, and I love them."
George Howard-Chappell said about finding a Le Mans set-up this
word for tonight: Tomas Enge and Johnny Herbert gave each other
a hug of congratulation, while the ACO said "Non" to the
BAM! team's t-shirt launching fun.