Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hybrid Audi R18 e-tron quattro Takes Pole for 2012 Le Mans

Photo Credit: Audi Motorsport

Considered the most prestigious sports car race in the world, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is an event victory equally desired by drivers and auto manufacturers. One of the few venues where greats in auto racing drivers can pilot the newest in automotive technology prepped for motorsports. Bio-fuels, hybrid powerplants, and the radical super-lightweight DeltaWing race car have been brought to the Circuit de la Sarthe for the 2012 edition of the day-long competition. With a unique field of prototype race cars and a slew of diverse GT cars, qualifying for the 2012 24 Hours of Le Mans would be an interesting occasion to sample who could be the front-runners for the Saturday afternoon through Sunday race.

Claiming the first-ever pole for a hybrid prototype sports car for the 24 Hours of Le Mans, the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was the vehicle that prevailed for the glorious front row starting spot for Saturday's day-long endurance event for LMP1. The #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro shared by Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer took the top place by a slim 0.291-second advantage over the teammate #3 machine running the conventional TDI only R18 Ultra package.

The lead Audi R18 e-tron quattro was a second faster than the competing LMP1 brand competitor. Returning to the 24 Hours of Le Mans for the first time since 1999, Toyota debuts the TS 030 Hybrid prototype at the Le Mans race in a continuing pursuit for a first overall victory at the French event. The #8 Toyota featuring the driving combination of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin will start on the second row of the 24-hour race alongside the second Audi e-tron quattro.

Leading LMP2 in the 14th overall position, the #25 Oreca-Nissan starts 0.417 seconds ahead of the #24 Morgan-Judd. Lighter cars than LMP1 with smaller engines, the LMP2 class is often known to be the most difficult category for competitors to finish making the endurance component of 24 hours very pivotal to the victor of this class.

The most wide open GTE category at the 2012 Le mans 24-hour race features strong professional efforts from Ferrari, Chevrolet, Aston Martin and Porsche. The #59 Luxury Racing Ferrari 458 Italia took pole in the GTE class by 0.477 seconds over the #97 Aston Martin Vantage V8. Little more than half a second off the pace of the fastest Ferrari, the Corvette Racing group's #74 ZR1 sports car has sights set on reclaiming the GT class victory at the Le Mans race.

Running the race as an experimental entrant, the DeltaWing powered by Nissan was 29th fastest in qualifying outpacing four LMP2 cars.

Presenting a 56-car field, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is set to start at 3pm local time.

2012 FIA World Endurance Championship
24 Hours of  Le Mans

Le Mans, France
Qualifying Results

Car # Class Drivers Race Car
1 1 LMP1 Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer Audi R18 e-tron quattro
2 3 LMP1 Romain Dumas, Loic Duval, Marc Gené Audi R18 Ultra
3 8 LMP1 Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin Toyota TS 030 - Hybrid
4 2 LMP1 Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen, Allan McNish Audi R18 e-tron quattro
5 7 LMP1 Alexander Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima Toyota TS 030 - Hybrid
6 4 LMP1 Marco Bonanomi, Oliver Jarvis, Mike Rockenfeller Audi R18 Ultra
7 21 LMP1 Nick Leventis, Danny Watts, Jonny Kane HPD ARX 03a - Honda
8 12 LMP1 Nicolas Prost, Neel Jani, Nick Heidfeld Lola B12/60 Coupe - Toyota
9 13 LMP1 Andrea Belicchi, Harold Primat, Jeroen Bleekemolen Lola B12/60 Coupe - Toyota
10 17 LMP1 Sébastien Bourdais, Nicolas Minassian, Seiji Ara Dome - Judd
11 22 LMP1 David Brabham, Karun Chandhok, Peter Dumbreck HPD ARX 03a - Honda
12 15 LMP1 Franck Montagny, Bertrand Baguette, Dominik Kraihamer Oak Pescarolo - Judd
13 16 LMP1 Emmanuel Collard, Jean-Christophe Boullion, Stuart Hall Pescarolo 03 - Judd
14 25 LMP2 John Martin, Jan Charouz, Tor Graves Oreca 03 - Nissan
15 24 LMP2 Jacques Nicolet, Matthieu Lahaye, Olivier Pla Morgan - Judd
16 26 LMP2 Nelson Panciatici, Pierre Ragues, Roman Rusinov Oreca 03 - Nissan
17 46 LMP2 Mathias Beche, Pierre Thiriet, Christophe Tinseau Oreca 03 - Nissan
18 49 LMP2 Luis Perez Companc, Soheil Ayari, Pierre Kaffer Oreca 03 - Nissan
19 48 LMP2 Jody Firth, Warren Hughes, Brendon Hartley Oreca 03 - Nissan
20 35 LMP2 David Heinemeier Hansson, Bas Leinders, Maxime Martin Morgan - Nissan
21 30 LMP2 Alexander Sims, Yelmer Buurman, Romain Ianneta Lola - Judd
22 44 LMP2 Vincente Potolicchio, Ryan Dalziel, Thomas Kimber-Smith HPD ARX 03b - Honda
23 45 LMP2 Bastien Briere, Jens Petersen, Shinji Nakano Oreca 03 - Nissan
24 42 LMP2 Lucas Ordoñez, Martin Brundle, Alex Brundle Zytek Z11SN - Nissan
25 38 LMP2 Simon Dolan, Sam Hancock, Haruki Kurosawa Zytek Z11SN - Nissan
26 23 LMP2 Franck Mailleux, Olivier Lombard, Jordan Tresson Oreca 03 - Nissan
27 33 LMP2 Scott Tucker, Christophe Bouchut, Luis Diaz HPD ARX 03b - Honda
28 41 LMP2 Christian Zugel, Ricardo Gonzalez, Elton Julian Zytek Z11SN - Nissan
29 0 CDNT Marino Franchitti, Michael Krumm, Satoshi Motoyama DeltaWing Nissan
30 40 LMP2 Michel Frey, Jonathan Hirschi, Ralph Meichtry Oreca 03 - Judd
31 31 LMP2 Thomas Holzer, Mirco Schultis, Luca Moro Lola B12/80 Coupe - Lotus
32 28 LMP2 Fabien Giroix, Stefan Johansson, Ludovic Badey Lola B12/80 Coupe - Nissan
33 43 LMP2 Fabien Rosier, Philippe Thirion, Philippe Haezebrouck Norma MP 2000 - Judd
34 59 LMGTE Pro Frédéric Makowiecki, Jaime Melo, Dominik Farnbacher Ferrari 458 Italia
35 97 LMGTE Pro Adrian Fernandez, Stefan Mücke, Darren Turner Aston Martin Vantage V8
36 74 LMGTE Pro Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Richard Westbrook Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
37 71 LMGTE Pro Andrea Bertolini, Olivier Beretta, Marco Cioci Ferrari 458 Italia
38 73 LMGTE Pro Jordan Taylor, Antonio Garcia, Jan Magnussen Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
39 79 LMGTE Am Seth Neiman, Patrick Pilet, Spencer Pumpelly Porsche 911 RSR (997)
40 77 LMGTE Pro Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Wolf Henzler Porsche 911 RSR (997)
41 75 LMGTE Am Abdulaziz Alfaisal, Bret Curtis, Sean Edwards Porsche 911 RSR (997)
42 80 LMGTE Pro Jörg Bergmeister, Patrick Long, Marco Holzer Porsche 911 RSR (997)
43 99 LMGTE Am Allan Simonsen, Christoffer Nygaard, Kristian Poulsen Aston Martin Vantage V8
44 58 LMGTE Am Pierre Ehret, Franck Montecalvo, Gunnar Jeannette Ferrari 458 Italia
45 29 LMP2 Jean-Denis Deletraz, Keiko Ihara, Marc Rostan Lola B12/80 Coupe - Nissan
46 88 LMGTE Am Christian Ried, Gianluca Roda, Paolo Ruberti Porsche 911 RSR (997)
47 50 LMGTE Am Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal, Pedro Lamy Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
48 66 LMGTE Pro James Walker, Jonny Cocker, Roger Wills Ferrari 458 Italia
49 51 LMGTE Pro Giancarlo Fisichella, Gianmaria Bruni, Toni Vilander Ferrari 458 Italia
50 81 LMGTE Am Piergiuseppe Perazzini, Nicola Cadei, Matt Griffin Ferrari 458 Italia
51 67 LMGTE Am Nicolas Armindo, Raymond Narac, Anthony Pons Porsche 911 RSR (997)
52 61 LMGTE Am Robert Kauffman, Rui Aguas, Brian Vickers Ferrari 458 Italia
53 57 LMGTE Am Tracy Krohn, Niclas Jonsson, Michele Rugolo Ferrari 458 Italia
54 83 LMGTE Am Manuel Rodrigues, Alain Ferte, Philippe Illiano Ferrari 458 Italia
55 70 LMGTE Am Jean-Philippe Belloc, Christophe Bourret, Pascal Gibon Chevrolet Corvette C6 ZR1
56 55 LMGTE Am Joël Camathias, Markus Palttala, Paul Daniels Porsche 911 RSR (997)

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