LE MANS
Le Mans Qualifying
-
14/06/2001
 
Thursday
Second Session
 
The 10 pm blitz. But MG has some problems for the fourth (and last) qualifying session. The #33 car was brought back to the pits on the back of a recovery truck at the end of the third session. This was the one that might have been covered in glory. But it seems to be covered in oil. Engine change time.

On track though, Stefan Johansson seemed keen to restore an Audi 1,2,3,4 at the top of the sheets. He improved the best time for the #4 Gulf car by a second (3:35.128), but is still behind the Lammers Dome (by three tenths) at this stage. The Swede explained that he lost time at the start of the lap. No one at the front will go quicker now, surely, as darkness falls. Lammers alone prevents an Audi 1 through 4.

Seven minutes gone and pole for Capello in the #2 Audi with a 3:32.429, leapfrogging the sister #1 factory car - by the massive gap of 29 thousandths.





The #83 Porsche has gone off into the gravel at the Dunlop Chicane.

Tom Kristensen went through the gravel at the first chicane on Mulsanne, after suffering a puncture.

Chrysler and Ascari have had quiet Thursdays so far, but Xavier Pompidou cracks on in #21 Ascari, down into the 3:44s. Then the 3:43s. For comparison, Brundle and Wallace set laps of 3:37 and 3:38 at around 22.30. An attempt to improve their grid positions, or setting a race pace?

The ROC Reynard has set a time two seconds quicker than the faster Barbour Reynard, but these two are two and four seconds away from the MG best.

Harri Toivonen has been out in the #20 Ascari, settling in the race engine. Guy Smith is out running in company with the Joest Audis in one Bentley, while Andy Wallace might be about to have a real go at improving his grid position in #8 - with only just over an hour of Qualifying left. Neat Audi parking (below).



Andy Wallace seems to hammering home the fact that the Bentley settles down to some very quick night laps. The softer night tyres allow what looks like a 3:38 race pace in the cooler temperatures. That could threaten the Audis, couldn't it?

55 minutes left, and it doesn't look as though anyone is going to make any improvements now. Aaah, make a statement like that, and you can expect to look like an idiot within moments. It's MG, at it again in the continually changing fortunes of running MGs at Le Mans. It was supposed to be the #33 car going for a time, wasn't it? Well, Anthony Reid has done it again, getting down to a 3:41.769 in the #34.

Well done Anthony Reid, well done Jan Lammers.



Mark Koense - Lammers' partner - explained that, "it could have been a 3:32. He was held up at Mulsanne Corner, then there were spots of rain, so the oil flags were out, so Jan had to be a little cautious. It's the Dome, it's a great car."

And still it isn't over. Anthony Reid hasn't finished with #34. He sets a 3:41.769 in the #34 MG, then beats that on his next lap with a 3:40.243, leaving him in an outstanding 14th place on the grid, ahead of the second Dome, the third Chrysler, both Ascaris, both Panoz and the #18 Courage. "Anthony Reid is bouncing around in his seat like a little boy," said Hugh Chamberlain. "He wanted to change some things and go out again, but we decided to call it a day."

23.45 and we'd like to call it a day, but we'll be last out of the Press Room again, alaszzzzzzzzzzz. Last item concerns the Freisinger and Taisan Porsches returning on low loaders. Something happened at the Porsche Curves, but details will have to wait until tomorrow. Fukuyama rolled the Taisan Porsche last year, and the car went on to win the class. A repeat this time?




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