LIVE COMMENTARY: LE MANS 24 HOURS 2014 - THURSDAY: FINAL QUALIFYING
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As it happened: Thursday: final qualifying
By Edd Straw, Glenn Freeman, Gary Watkins and Scott Mitchell
The live commentary has ended. No further updates will be posted.
Hello and welcome to AUTOSPORT Live's continued coverage of Le Mans week. Tonight's all about finishing qualifying for this year's edition of the 24-hour showpiece, with a pair of two-hour sessions to come.
The first is up at 1900, so about 20 minutes time. The second will run from 2200 to midnight.
Before we get into the detailed stuff, we need to establish what the state of play is going into qualifying #2. So, to kick things off, here's our full report from the first segment last night:
Porsche on provisional pole
"It was a pleasant surprise to see my name at the top," provisional pole-winner Brendan Hartley told GARY WATKINS.
Could we really see Porsche lead the field the way on Saturday? It's certainly going to try. Asked if the intention is to go flat-out for pole tonight, Porsche LMP1 vice president Fritz Enzinger said: "Absolutely."
Read the full story
Oliver Turvey was not expecting to be racing at Le Mans after the
ADR-Delta-run Millenium ORECA pulled out
. But thanks to Marc Gene being called up by Audi to replace Loic Duval in the #1 car, he has given a late call-up to take the Spaniard's place in the JOTA Sport Zytek. Fortunately, he knows the team well.
Turvey, who flew to Le Mans this morning, said: "I'm really excited to be joining JOTA for Le Mans. Obviously, it's terrible to see a big accident and I hope Loic Duval is okay.
"It's going to be a little tricky going straight into Le Mans qualifying at this late stage, however I know JOTA and the Zytek car from last year, it’s a great team with knowledgeable people so I hope to do the best job I can for the team.
"I've not sat in the Zytek since the last race at Paul Ricard nine months ago but I set pole position in four of the five ELMS races last year, winning on my debut and finishing third twice along with Simon [Dolan], so it's a good package."
Another withdrawal is that of the #99 Aston Martin Racing GTE Pro entry.
Fernando Rees crashed heavily at the Porsche Curves in qualifying last night and the damage has ruled that car out.
Aston withdraws #99 Vantage
Given that so much of yesterday's six hours of running was interrupted by red flags, most teams will be behind on their programmes. Tonight's two two-hour sessions will decide the grid, but the priority will be to ensure that race set-up work is complete and that the performance of the tyres over race stints is understood.
Right, the story that's captured everybody's attention – Loic Duval's crash. Here's a round-up of everything that's happened so far:
* Late last night, doctors
ruled Duval out of competing
after the frightening impact at the Porsche Curves
* Audi has admitted that the
caused of the accident is unknown
, amid comparisons to Gene's crash in 2008 when the car became airborne and slammed into the catch fencing
* Gene, drafted in as Duval's replacement, has since said he is confident
he will be on the pace
in the R18 e-tron quattro
The session is underway
Here is who is in the top cars for the start of running:
#1 Audi: di Grassi
#2 Audi: Lotter
#3 Audi: Albuquerque
#7 Toyota: Wurz
#8 Toyota: Davidson
#14 Porsche: Lieb
#20 Porsche: Webber
While we wait for the outlaps to be completed, another news story!
The German Lotus team has unveiled the new LMP1 privateer contender that will carry its hopes in the second half of this year's World Endurance Championship.
Lotus WEC contender unveiled
Then #41 Greaves Zytek-Nissan Z11SN has just headed out onto the track in the hands of Winslow. The car completed just six laps yesterday before being crashed by Michael Munemann. While the damage wasn’t too serious, it was enough to miss first qualifying. Overnight, the transmission has been changed, with the bodywork damage also dealt with.
And the #41 is back in after its installation lap.
Of the leading GTE Pro cars (the #99 Aston was sixth after yesterday, for anyone who cares), these are the drivers in the hotseat:
#51 AF Corse Ferrari: Vilander
#97 Aston Martin: Senna
#92 Manthey Porsche: Lietz
#73 Corvette: Magnussen
#91 Manthey Porsche: Bergmeister
Bertolini is aboard the GTE Am pace-setting #72 SMP Ferrari, with Ciocio in the pursuing AF Corse-run 458.
Alex Wurz knows how to win Le Mans, having done so in the Joest Porsche in 1996 and the Peugeot in 2009. He’s not particularly interested in gunning for pole position.
“As always, I'm urging my car crew, my team and engineer to focus on the race distance because that’s where we get the points," said Wurz. "At Peugeot, we split with one car going for glory but I was glad I didn't have to because it always worked out better for the car that did not to have the slightly better race set-up."
Lapierre sets the #7 Toyota's best time so far. He's just done a 3m23.963s and is third.
The #60 AF Corse Ferrari has gone of at Mulsanne corner. That's being driven by Case. He went through the gravel, and has continued.
The #8 Toyota is in the pits having some work done.
The Nissan ZEOD RC has now completed its first lap of the weekend in the hands of Motoyama. It is 41nd overall on a 3m59.953s. After the setbacks yesterday, the team has confirmed it will not
attempt to achieve its target of an all-electric lap
We're looking at low 4m02s as the quickest GT times at the moment. The quickest time so far, set by Gianmaria Bruni, is a 3m54.754s.
The #1 Audi has yet to take to the track.
And, predictably, the second we write that, it leaves the pits! Di Grassi is driving. This will likely be an installation lap.
Personal fastest laps in GTE Am for the likes of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Spencer Pumpelly, who failed to get laps in yesterday.
Others who weren't on track during a disrupted two-hour qualifying session included some of the GTE Pro frontrunners. Manthey Porsche ace Nick Tandy and Corvette star Richard Westbrook.
Yellow flags out at Mulsanne corner.
It's the #47 KCMG ORECA-Nissan, driven by Bradley, that has spun.
The pace is being stepped up in GTE Pro. No changes among the frontunners – though Senna's getting faster – but Magnussen has improved the best time for the #73 Corvette in fourth to 3m55.883s and Griffin's put the #52 Ram Ferrari sixth on a 3m56.642s.
Seems that the newly-built #1 Audi has a problem of some kind, possibly losing fluid of some sort.
Spin at Arnage.
It's the '42 Greaves Zytek, driven by Dyson. Appears simply to have spun.
One of the talks of the GTE Pro paddock is the new CR.7, which has been earmarked by rivals Porsche and Aston Martin as one to watch.
That's a big improvement on its predecessor, which toiled here last year and was some away off challenging for the win.
Corvette Racing team manager Gary Pratt told AUTOSPORT that the progress had been good, but qualifying was not their main priority.
"Speed-wise and handling I think we’re on line with where we wanted to be [with the new car]. We had the chance to win at Daytona and Sebring but had problems.
"We probably didn’t do enough track testing but the car will be good at the start and to the end. The team that doesn’t make the mistakes is going to win. Top five we’ll be happy in qualifying because we can race almost as well as we qualify and others don't seem to be able too."
The #7 Toyota is back on track in the hands of Wurz, while the Nissan Zeod is being wheeled along the pit-lane.
The #3 Audi is lapping briskly. Albuquerque is only a few tenths off the car's best time in qualifying of yesterday.
Wurz has improved the #7 Toyota's qualifying time. He's just done a 3m24.420s. Still in fourth place behind the sister car.
Di Grassi tells Radio Le Mans that there is no problem with the Audi, just routine checks following the overnight build of the car.
The #77 Dempsey Porsche has just forced a fire extinguisher into action in the pitlane. Nothing dramatic for Patrick Long, fourth fastest in GTE Am at present.
Yello flag at the first Mulsanne Chicane.
It's the Race Performance ORECA, driven by Frey.
Just past half hour in this session and not to tempt fate but...it's been quite well-behaved so far.
We've had a couple of yellows, sure, but nothing like the pretty chaotic effort of yesterday.
AUTOSPORT got a lot of answers this morning like "it was frustrating" and "it was not ideal", but Bruno Senna's was the best.
“I had a s*** session," said the Brazilian, who went on to say that he was hoping race organisers would be sensible should more incidents occur while teams attempted to make up for lost time today.
"If there are incidents, I hope the ACO understands the problem [with track time],” he added.
Race control has suggested that the #8 Toyota needs to check the left-side door. That car is currently on track in the hands of Lapierre.
The onboard camera shows that the left-hand door of the #8 Toyota is open. Lapierre is trying to shut it, but failing and must leave it ajar.
Lotterer sets the best first sector of today in the #2 Audi. The Audi has been rapid in that sector throughout practice.
There's been a change at the front in LMP2. Chatin has taken provisional pole in the Signatech-run Alpine-badged ORECA. That relegates the #26 OAK Racing Morgan to second.
Although the #26 OAK car was fastest in LMP2 yesterday, lead driver Olivier Pla was not especially happy.
"Things went pretty well, but I cannot say that I was totally happy because I didn’t do a lap in free practice because of the red flags," said Pla. "Then I went out at 10 in the evening, first to qualify in the night and I could do a decent lap I had traffic, I had a yellow flag, so it was far from what we could do."
The #29 Pegasus Morgan has spun on the approach to Tertre Rouge. He is reversing and trying to get back going.
Edging closer to a landmark?
: "@SatoshiMotoyama just blasted down the Mulsanne on electric only and topped 300km/h"
However, as GARY WATKINS discovered, the car will not attempt an all-electric lap until during the race:
ZEOD won't try electric lap until race
It was Leutwiler who spun the Pegasus car. The French team is back at Le Mans for a second time this year after running a Norma in 2010.
The '27 AF Corse ORECA has been reported for speeding in the pitlane.
Driver change for the #91 Manthey Porsche as Briton Nick Tandy gets his first lap of the week!
Tandy's had something of a tumultuous season, through no fault of his own. He didn't even fly out to the Prologue test at Paul Ricard after his car written off in a crash, and missed the Test Day because of the same reason.
Even an attempt to take part in a GT Cup round at Brands Hatch back in Britain failed because his co-driver shunted!
Wurz brings the #7 Toyota into the pits, jumps out and the car is wheeled back into the garage.
There's a yellow at the Porsche Curves.
The #95 Aston Martin has popped up into third in GTE Am in the hands of Kristian Poulsen.
James Calado has gone off in the GTE Pro-class #71 AF Corse Ferrari. Contact at the Porsche Curves.
Race control informs us it has stopped on the right-hand side of the track.
The only class that has produced a change of hands of pole position is LMP2, where Chatin has gone fastest in the Signatech ORECA.
1 #36 Signatech Alpine ORECA, 3m38.769s
2 #26 OAK Racing Morgan, 3m38.843s
3 #47 KCMG ORECA, 3m39.586s
We've not seen anything of that Calado crash or the recovery, but will bring you information as soon as we have it.
Here's how it looks at the front:
1 #20 Porsche, 3m23.157s
2 #14 Porsche, 3m23.928s
3 #8 Toyota, 3m23.963s
4 #7 Toyota, 3m24.420s
5 #2 Audi, 3m25.415s
6 #3 Audi, 3m26.445s
7 #12 Rebellion, 3m31.180s
8 #13 Rebellion, 3m32.556s
Here's what caused the brief fire for the #77 Dempsey/Proton Porsche in the pits earlier.
: "All ok. Just a little fuel leakage. All cleaned up and back out for laps."
No change in the main GT class.
Leading GTE Pro times:
1 #51 AF Corse Ferrari, 3m.54.754s
2 #97 Aston Martin, 3m55.067s
3 #92 Manthey Porsche, 3m55.516s
But a mild tweak to the top three in the other.
Leading GTE Am times:
1 #72 SMP Ferrari 3m56.787s
2 #61 AF Corse Ferrari, 3m56.919s
3 #95 Aston Martin, 3m56.994s
"Red flag estimate will be given shortly."
Thanks, race control.
Estimated restart is 2010, so a couple of minutes.
that short a wait, was it? AUTOSPORT expects a maximum of five minutes when someone says "shortly".
Porsche's Twitter feed suggest that's the last we will see of Webber before Saturday.
: "@AussieGrit did only 2 fast laps, car felt good, prepared for #TimoBernhard . Next time in the car will be in race."
That said, he would be happy to have a little more running in darkness later on should there be time, as getting used to driving in the night is proving to be a challenge.
"It is different and that's an area which I am learning probably the most, to be honest, just getting calibrated to that," said Webber.
We've got 50 minutes left on the clock as the green flag signals the resumption of the session.
In simpler terms: green flags wave, 50 minutes to go.
A big train of cars snakes out of the pits. After yesterday's disrupted session, a 25-minute stoppage is far from ideal in terms of the teams' programmes.
Yellow flags at the first Mulsanne chicane.
It's the #24 Sebastien Loeb Racing ORECA that has stopped.
the #1 Audi has joined the scrap up front. Di Grassi has put in a 3m26.490s to go seventh fastest.
Pole changes hands in LMP2. Berthon has gone quickest in the #48 Murphy Prototypes ORECA.
Dumas has improved in the #14 Porsche. He's done a 3m23.322s. Meanwhile, Lotterer has done the fastest sector 1 of today in the #2 Audi.
The #20 Porsche, in the hands of Bernard, is also lapping rapidly.
Antonio Garcia improves the best time of the #73 Corvette but it doesn't move up from fifth in class.
The two Imsa Ferraris and #90 8Star car (both GTE Am) are the only entries without a time.
Berthon has increased the advantage for the #48 Murphy ORECA in LMP2, improving to a 3m38.207s.
The #1 Audi has crashed.
Di Grassi lost the rear of the car at the exit of Indianapolis and nosed into the barriers. The damage isn't massive and di Grassi is currently rolling slowly back to the pits.
The #79 ProSpeed Porsche has gone off at Dunlop so the yellows are still out.
The Porsche has hit the tyres at Dunlop.
Big accident for the #29 Pegasus car, which went wide onto the grass going around di Grassi.
Red flags are out.
Race control says debris and a partially blocked pit entry road is the cause.
A replay suggests that Roussel, who was driving the Pegasus car, wasn't at fault. He was bearing down on di Grassi rapidly when the touring Brazilian moved left, so he jinked onto the grass in avoidance and spun, hitting the wall head on.
Unsurprisingly, di Grassi has been summoned to race control to explain what happend...
Just before the red flag, Lotterer moved the #4 Audi up to fourth place, banging in a 3m24.276s.
Roussell has also been called to race control for the incident. While di Grassi moved over on him, will face questions about whether he was not exercising sufficient caution.
Here's how things stand:
1 #20 Porsche, 3m23.157s
2 #14 Porsche, 3m23.322s
3 #8 Toyota, 3m23.963s
4 #2 Audi, 3m24.276s
5 #7 Toyota, 3m24.420s
6 #3 Audi, 3m265.445s
7 #1 Audi, 3m26.490s
8 #12 Rebellion, 3m31.180s
9 #13 Rebellion, 3m32.556s.
Race control has announced that the final qualifying session, scheduled to start at 2200, will now start half-an-hour early and be extended. This is because of the time lost to red flags.
And this red flag is going to last a while longer yet. The Pegasus Morgan is still sat at the side of the track with a truck waiting to recover it.
1 #48 Murphy ORECA, 3m38.207s
2 #36 Signatech ORECA, 3m38.769s
3 #26 OAK Morgan, 3m38.843s
GTE Pro Times
1 AF Corse Ferrari, 3m54.754s
2 AMR Aston Martin, 3m55.067s
3 #92 Manthey Porsche, 3m55.609s
GTE Am Times
1 #72 SMP Ferrari, 3m56.787s
2 #61 AF Corse Ferrari, 3m56.919s
3 #95 AMR Aston Martin, 3m56.994s
Estimated restart at 2045, in four minutes.
With only 13 minutes remaining and no time for long runs, expect a few qualifying runs here. In LMP1 Bernhard, Buemi, Treluyer, Nakajima, Jarvis and Gene are out.
The #1 Audi is back on track, which is good news. Only cosmetic damage there clearly.
We should also see some LMP2 qualifying attempts. Chandhok is on track in the Murphy ORECA, so it would be no surprise to see that improve. Webb is out in the Signatech ORECA, with Mardenborough in the #35 Ligier. All are serious pole threats.
It will also be interesting to see if the KGMC ORECA, in the hands of Howson, can improve.
Bernhard improves the #20 Porsche's advantage in first place. He's done a 3m22.908s.
Nakajima, third, has also improved to a 3m23.398s, with Jarvis in the #3 Audi putting in a 3m23.710s in fourth place.
In LMP2, Gommendy has improved to a 3m39.242s in the TDS Ligier. That car is fourth in class.
We've had a GT collision at the Ford Chicane. The #60 AF Corse Ferrari was being passed by the #98 Aston, but the pair made contact and both spun.
Nakajima goes second in the #7 Toyota on a 3m23.286s.
The #60 Ferrari was driven by Gianmaria, while Dalla Lana was driving the #98 Aston.
Nakajima takes pole with a minute to go in the #7 Toyota on a 3m22.589s.
We've also seen improvements from Jarvis in the #3 Audi (fourth on a 3m23.330s) and Buemi in the #8 Toyota (fifth on 3m23.661s).
Gommendy goes fastest in LMP2 driving the TDS-run #46 Ligier. He's put in a 3m38.094s.
The chequered flag is out, but there are still some cars on flying laps.
Leimer improves in the #13 Rebellion. But he stays ninth on a 3m31.608s.
Chandhok, in the #48 Murphy ORECA, had a fast second sector, but lost time in the final sector. The car is second in LMP2.
Jarvis improves again in the #3 Audi. He set a 3m23.271s lap and is fourth.
Everyone has now finished their laps in this second qualifying session. There's one more session, now extended to two-and-a-half hours, which starts at 2130. That's less than 30 minutes away.
So, during that session Toyota knocked Porsche off top spot with just one minute to go courtesy of Nakajima's late effort.
1 #7 Toyota, 3m22.589s
2 #14 Porsche, 3m22.708s
3 #20 Porsche, 3m22.908s
4 #3 Audi, 3m23.271s
5 #8 Toyota, 3m23.661s
6 #2 Audi, 3m26.490s
7 #1 Audi, 3m26.490s
8 #12 Rebellion, 3m31.180s
9 #13 Rebellion, 3m31.608s
1 #46 Ligier, 3m38.094s
2 #48 ORECA, 3m38.207s
3 #36 ORECA, 3m38.769s
GTE Pro standings:
1 #51 Ferrari, 3m54.754s
2 #73 Chevrolet, 3m55.038s
3 #97 Aston, 3m55.067s
GTE Am standings:
1 #72 Ferrari, 3m56.787s
2 #61 Ferrari, 3m56.917s
3 #95 Aston Martin, 3m56.994s
The next session will be designated as a night session from the start, even thought it will still be relatively light. All drivers must complete five laps in the dark to qualifying and many didn't yesterday thanks to the red flags. So plenty need to get some laps in tonight.
Here's Rebellion driver Leimer's verdict on the session. The #13 Rebellion is ninth.
: "Room for improvement, @DodoKraihamer and @Andrea_Belicchi will enjoy the evening fun!"
The #1 Audi at least managed to get a time on the board in that session courtesy of di Grassi's 3m26.490s. He did sufferer a minor off, nosing the car into the barriers, but it was nothing compared to what
happened to team-mate Duval yesterday
While there was progress for the #1 Audi in that it was rebuilt, but if the first crash was unfortunate the second crash was definitely avoidable.
Here's the result. Not good.
So, after all this, we're just a couple of minutes from the final part of qualifying. Bit mental, but we do have an update (and comprehensive) qualifying report imminent.
The track is open again, and plenty of cars are heading straight back out.
It's still light, the sun is going down, so expect some quick times pretty much straightaway.
The top three cars from the last session have all kept the same drivers on board for what is likely to be the pole position shootout over the next few laps. Here's who is in the factory cars right now:
#7 Toyota - Nakajima
#14 Porsche - Dumas
#20 Porsche - Bernhard
#3 Audi - Bonanomi
#8 Toyota - Buemi
#2 Audi - Treluyer
#1 Audi - Kristensen
This could be a fascinating conclusion to qualifying – set up by a thrilling end to the second segment.
Get yourself in-the-know with our comprehensive report of second qualifying:
Toyota steals provisional pole from Porsche
Tincknell goes fastest in P2 for the Jota Zytek with a 3m37.674s. Not bad for a rookie.
Lots of action in the GT ranks. Bruni has gone faster at the front of GTE Pro in the #51 Ferrari, and Bird has slotted the #81 GTE Am Ferrari just behind him, getting well and truly amongst the Pro runners.
Frustration for Chandhok in the #48 Murphy ORECA late in today's earlier qualifying session. He hit yellow flags in the final sector while on course for a lap that would likely have been good enough for LMP2 pole position.
Bruni goes even quicker at the front of the GTE battle, putting himself nearly one second faster than the Am car of Bird - who remains his closest challenger.
Provisional poleman Nakajima improves his time in the #7 Toyota with a 3m21.789s. Dumas goes quicker, too, with a 3m22.146s
The Nissan ZEOD has got itself clear of the GTE cars, as Reip logs a 3m50.402s. That's faster than the car managed at the test day, but he's got more than three seconds to find to get ahead of the slowest LMP2 car.
The #14 Porsche has been reported to the stewards for speeding in the pitlane.
Buemi improves the #8 Toyota's time by a tenth to 3m23.271s
Pilet has pulled off in front of the end of the pitwall at the pit exit in the #91 Porsche - having toured down the start/finish straight. His mechanics are running (from the opposite end of the pits) to collect the car, which is being wheeled into a safer place by the marshals.
Looks like the #91 car's session is over. The Porsche was originally moved to the right of the pit exit, but it has now been wheeled into parc ferme at the instruction of race control. It currently sits sixth in GTE Pro, and seventh out of the GTE cars thanks to Bird's lap in the #81 Am Ferrari.
The ZEOD's hopes of beating an LMP2 car have just taken a hit, as Ragues improves the #50 Larbre's time to move it up the order. The slowest LMP2 is now the #37 SMP ORECA, which is six seconds clear of the 'Garage 56' ZEOD.
Parente has crashed the #52 Ram Ferrari at the Ford Chicane. He lost the car on the way into the first part of the chicane, then had a tank-slapper as he tried to hold onto it, but it eventually got away from him and slammed into the tyres.
Slick work from the marshals - the car is already being craned out of harm's way.
We've just passed 10pm here at Le Mans. This is traditionally when the final qualifying session kicks off, with the sun about to set. Let's see if that means we still have more action to come at the top.
Gommendy moves latecomer Turvey off of LMP2 pole, putting the #46 Ligier on top spot by less than a tenth of a second.
Buemi jumps to third in the #8 Toyota with a 3m22.146s, seven tenths off team-mate Nakajima's pole mark at the moment.
Gavin moves the #74 Corvette into fourth in the GTE Pro standings with a 3m55.1s.
The GTE order at the moment: #51 Ferrari; #81 Ferrari (Am); #73 Corvette; #97 Aston Martin; #74 Corvette; #52 Ferrari; #92 Porsche; #91 Porsche.
A Rebellion has finally broken the 3m30m mark. Beche has posted a 3m29.763s in the #12 car.
Vilander has gone straight on at the first chicane on the Mulsanne straight in the #51 Ferrari.
Lamy has moved the #98 Aston Martin up to second in GTE Am, but 1.8 seconds and six Pro cars sit between him and the #81 Ferrari which leads the Am class.
Pla has just set a time six thousandths slower than his best lap and remains sixth in P2 in the G-Drive/OAK Morgan.
Panciatici improves to 3m38.179s and is now fourth in P2 aboard the Signatech Alpine ORECA.
The top four in P1 are all in the pits. Getting new tyres for a pole shot perhaps?
Roda spins the #90 Ferrari at the Dunlop Chicane. It looks like he might be stuck - and a tractor is on its way to retrieve him.
Another decentish time from the ZEOD. Motoyama does a 3m51.842s, only a 1.4s off its previous best.
Lamy picks off another GTE Pro car, moving his #98 Am Aston Martin above the #91 Porsche - which will not run again in the session after it stopped on the pit straight and was pushed straight into parc ferme.
The engine cover is off the #35 OAK Ligier, which lies third in class. Much peering into the engine bay.
That could be it for the qualifying excitement in all four classes - at the moment nobody is setting any improved sector times.
Mucke proves us wrong, moving the #97 Aston Martin into third in GTE (and second in Pro).
@JamesCalado: "Hi guys, just to let you know I'm fine and all is ok. Hard hit but hope our 71 car is fixable"
Panciatici improves again in the Signatech Alpine ORECA. He finds a tenth, but stays fourth in P2. Frustration!
Audi points out on Twitter that it has left Duval's name on the #1 car, despite the Frenchman being withdrawn from racing this weekend after his big accident on Wednesday and replaced by Marc Gene.
Doesn't look like Webber will be back in action any time soon - he's swapped his race suit for some team clothing and is at the back of the Porsche garage.
Garcia improves in the #73 Corvette. He's second in GTE Pro, but has closed to one tenth behind the #81 Am Ferrari that sits between his Chevrolet and the pole-sitting #51 Ferrari.
Very little going on with the big guns at the front. Here's the
: #7 Toyota; #14 Porsche; #8 Toyota; #20 Porsche; #3 Audi; #2 Audi; #1 Audi
Prost has been off at Mulsanne corner in the #12 Rebellion, but he appears to have continued.
Talk of how much more action we're going to see in the last hour or so has prompted GARY WATKINS to recall Tomas Enge's banzai GT pole laps of years gone by. He's hoping someone can take that mantle on and give us some excitement in the closing stages.
The Nissan ZEOD is logging its first decent mileage of the week. It's up to 13 laps now, and has a best of 3m50.1s.
Wurz gets it wrong coming into the pits, goes the wrong side of the kerb and kicks up some gravel.
Should Gommendy remain top of the P2 times for the TDS squad, it would be the first pole position for a Ligier at a major international event since Jacques Lafitte did the business in qualifying for the 1981 Spanish GP.
Roda (driving the #90 GTE Am Ferrari) has been summoned to race control "immediately". Sounds urgent...
The Nissan ZEOD pits after Ordonez's quick lap. There's much shaking of the head and the car is taken into the garage.
Both of the Porsche 919s have been in the garage for quite a while now. We've just had a shot of the #20 car, which is up on its jacks, minus any wheels, and doesn't seem to have any work being carried out on it.
Imperatori goes close to the KCMG ORECA's previous best. He looks to have been trying, but is seven tenths off the car's previous best.
@RamRacingCom: "We can confirm that Alvaro is back in the garage and unhurt. The team are currently waiting to evaluate damage on the No 52."
As both Toyotas make their way into the garage, the Audis are the only LMP1s in ation at the moment. All three were on track, but Fassler has just brought the #2 R18 in to hand it over to Lotterer.
Race organisers confirm that Pierre Kaffer will replace Calado following the Brit's big shunt earlier on. AF Corse has also received clearance to run a new chassis.
The #41 Greaves Zytek is reported to be running slowly on the Mulsanne straight at the moment.
Toyota sends both of its cars back out, with Sarrazin in the pole-sitting #7, and Davidson (plus his customary seat 'inner') taking over the #8.
Fisichella hands the #51 Ferrari over to Vilander, and there's a quick change (possibly aero?) at the rear of the car.
We've had our first improvement in a long time. Many thanks to Pla for doing the honours in the #26 G-Drive Morgan. He's P4 in LMP2 with a 3m38.000s.
Wheels are being bolted onto the #20 Porsche, so the 919s should be back in action soon after a long time spent in the pits.
Reports are coming in that the #90 Ferrari, with Montecalvo at the wheel, has crashed at the beginning of the Porsche Curves.
CCTV pictures show a tractor is currently retrieving the #90 car, which is up against the tyre barrier on the left hand side of the first right-hander in that sequence of corners.
We're getting a peak at the new 'slow zone' yellow flag rules now, with the first three turns of the Porsche Curves running under the speed-limited conditions.
On-board pictures from the #8 Toyota show a queue of cars touring through the Porsche Curves. That is going to take some getting used to when it's first used in the race!
The idea of these 'slow zones' is to reduce the amount of time the safety car is required during the race. Let's hope they're successful.
The #20 919 is heading back on track, and the #14 is now wheeled out of the garage. Welcome back to the action, Porsche.
The #90 Ferrari has been pulled out of the gravel and has returned to the pits under its own steam, looking a little bit worse for wear.
Very few cars on track at the moment. That's either a coincidence, or a lot of the teams have been put off by the implementation of the slow zone through the Porsche Curves.
Here's the story on Kaffer being
set to replace
Calado in the AF Corse Ferrari.
We've still got marshals on the track at the Porsche Curves, so the yellow flags are still out. Race control says that the slow zone will be cleared at 23:33 local time (very soon, then).
Right on cue, the track is clear again.
The #46 TDS Ligier, which currently has LMP2 pole, just locked up and cut the Ford chicane.
Dolan has put the JOTA Zytek off at the Ford chicane. He's recovered.
And Chandhok has put the #48 Murphy ORECA off at Indianapolis.
Chandhok has got out of the car. The front bodywork has come off but difficult to see how much damage there is.
Race control is preparing to instigate a slow zone.
Marshals are sweeping up some debris from the Chandhok shunt.
Some fresh rubber going on some interesting frontrunning cars. Could get interesting.
ProSpeed has two heavily damaged cars in its pit after Curtis and Collard crashed in the Porsche Curves in the first session today. Curtis has been taken to hospital after his crash and must be doubtful for the race.
Unfortunately, seems that the slow zone will be in place until the end of the session, so looks like that's it as far as qualifying goes.
Lotterer does the fastest first sector of all in the #2 Audi. But no chance of improving his time because of the slow zone.
Still busy on track. All of the factory LMP1 cars are circulating.
So, Kazuki Nakajima takes pole position for the #7 Toyota. That's Toyota's first pole at Le Mans since Martin Brundle back in 1999.
Fastest in the subordinate classes are:
LMP2 - Tristan Gommendy (#46 TDS Ligier)
GTE Pro - Gianmaria Bruni (#51 AF Corse Ferrari)
GTE Am - Sam Bird (#81 AF Corse Ferrari)
1 #7 Toyota, 3m21.789s
2 #14 Porsche, 3m22.146s
3 #8 Toyota, 3m22.523s
4 #20 Porsche, 3m22.908s
5 #3 Audi, 3m23.271s
6 #2 Audi, 3m24.276s
7 #1 Audi, 3m25.814s
8 #12 Rebellion, 3m29.763
9 #13 Rebellion, 3m31.608s
The Nissan ZEOD RC got its time down to 3m50.185s in that session. It was parked itself in the no-man's land between the LMP2s and the GTE cars.
Race control indicates that "several cars" are being investigated for speeding in slow zones.
Disappointment for the KCMG ORECA, which ended up seventh in class after slow zones ruined Matt Howson's final qualifying run.
: "Well, the slow zones ruined our last minute charge on the 'super' soft so we qualify a solid 7th, top 7 covered by 1 second over a 4 min lap!"
1 #46 Ligier, 3m37.609s
2 #38 Zytek, 3m37.674s
3 #35 Ligier, 3m37.892s
4 # 26 OAK Morgan, 3m38.000s
5 #36 Signatech ORECA, 3m38.089s
6 #48 Murphy ORECA, 3m38.207s
GTE Pro standings
1 #51 Ferrari, 3m53.700s
2 #73 Chevrolet, 3m54.777s
3 #97 Aston Martin, 3m54.891s
4 #74 Chevrolet, 3m55.190s
5 #52 Ferrari, 3m55.347s
6 #92 Porsche, 3m55.516s
GTE Am standings
1 #81 Ferrari, 3m54.665s
2 #98 Aston Martin, 3m55.644s
3 #95 Aston Martin, 3m55.944s
4 #61 Aston Martin, 3m55.977s
5 #72 Ferrari, 3m56.063s
6 #88 Porsche, 3m56.974s
That's it for our coverage of qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Interesting, wasn't it? Plenty to be intrigued about ahead of the race. Remember to keep checking autosport.com throughout Friday for the latest from the Le Mans paddock.
See you on Saturday morning for build-up to the start of the 2014 edition of the classic French enduro. Until then, we'll leave you with this:
Toyota beats Porsche to pole
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Wednesday 11 Jun
Wednesday: Practice and qualifying
Thursday 12 Jun
Thursday: final qualifying
Saturday 14 Jun
The 82nd Le Mans 24 Hours
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