Review of First Qualifying at Le Mans 24 Hours 2010

As many had predicted the fastest cars in the 1st qualifying session for the Le Mans 24 Hours 2010, were the diesel powered Peugeots and Audis. What was perhaps more surprising was how much more speed the Peugeots had over their German rivals. At the end of the session the Peugeot Number 3 car driven by Pedro Lamy, Sebastien Bourdais & Simon Pagenaud was nearly 4 seconds faster than the fastest Audi.

The session finished with the 3 factory Peugeots fastest in LMP1, followed by the 4th Peugeot run by Team Oreca Matmut. The 3 Audis followed meaning that the fastest 7 cars in this session were all diesels. Aston martin will be satisfied with their qualifying session bringing the 2 Aston Martin Racing petrol powered Lolas in 8th & 9th with the Signature Plus Aston Martin Lola in 10th. Elsewhere in LMP1 Drayson Racing finished in 14th after the car was forced to stop on the Mulsanne straight, and Beachdean Mansell team managed a place behind. Rebellion Racing will be disappointed with their initial showing in 16th, but they know there is a long way to go.

The battle in LMP2 saw the all British driver team at Strakka Racing ending the session quickest. They were pushed hard by the Highcroft Racing team featuring one of last year’s winners David Brabham behind the wheel. Both of the Oak Racing cars set respectable times and RML will be pushing hard to move up positions in the upcoming sessions.

The LMGT1 class saw the Young Driver Aston Martin Racing DBR9 set the early pace. The experience of Tomas Enge, having raced in LMP1 last year, clearly showing. The Matech Ford GT was 2 seconds behind the DBR9 with the 2 Corvettes of Luc Alphand a second further back.

The battle for the LMGT2 crown could be the most intersting of them all. In the first qualifying session the bragging rights were taken by the Ferrari of Risi Competizione driven by Pierre Kaffer, Jaime Melo and Gianmaria Bruni. In 2009 the GT2 race was a straight fight between Ferrari and Porsche so it is interesting to see the 2 Corvettes of Corvette Racing in provisional 2nd & 3rd in this class. The fastest Porsche was that of the IMSA Performance car in 4th place, but still only 2 seconds behind the leading Ferrari. The BMW M3s of BMW Team Schnitzer look to be steady in the middle of the field whilst the Jaguar XKR was ploughing a lonely furrow towards the back of the class.

With rain forecasted for the remainder of the qualifying sessions on Thursday, a lot could change from these initial qualifying positions.

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