Now that was a nail biter.
So Wednesday it was just practice for 6 hours and most of that was in a cold wet drizzerly rain. So we didn't really have a clear picture of who was fastest, who was doing long runs and where Audi and Peugeot stood. Honours even.
Thursday and it's two, 2 hour sessions. nice bright clear weather, means every ones out and doing faster times in the first 15 minutes. Audi and Peugeot trading laps, all around the 3 minute 30 second lap time nobody really showing their hands.
Meanwhile the two LMP2 Porsche's are pretty much nailing the LMP2 honours with the speedy racing Lola keeping then honest.
Corvette racing make GT1 their own, and GT2 is all about who isn't getting in any ones way. Felbermayr and Risi are are batter ling away, JMB and BMS not far behind.
Towards the end of the session and Peugeot are leading the way when McNish bolts on some warm race tires goes out and nails the provisional pole with a blinding 3.23.650. A lap that was all about getting through the Porsche curves with no hold ups. And because the Audi have timed it so well that McNish crossed the line to start his hot lap with 6 seconds of the session left. The whole lap was as clear as you can get. Superb work from Audi.
Round 1 to Audi.
In the final session it looks like everyone has settled for the status quo. Peugeot are pretty much leading all but one of the Audi's. Whilst the nearest petrol car is in 8th. With 5 minutes to go the peugeots of Minassian and Sarrazin are out on track. Kristensen is doing a long 13 lap run in the pole sitting Audi. The Peugeots start to win up. first Sarrazin is a second away, then he's half a second and then, with a clear lap, a tail wind and a leary moment of two, he's done it. Pole with a 3.22.888. top stuff.
Audi send Marco Werner out to try and save some pride. but it's too much of the No. 2 car.
This means the top 10 looks like this.
1 8 Team Peugeot Total LMP1 SARRAZIN Stephane 3'22.888
2 1 Audi Sport Team Joest LMP1 KRISTENSEN Tom 3'23.650
3 7 Team Peugeot Total LMP1 MINASSIAN Nicolas 3'24.860
4 17 Pescarolo Sport LMP1 TRELUYER Benoit 3'25.062
5 9 Peugeot Sport Total LMP1 GENE Marc 3'25.252
6 2 Audi Sport North America LMP1 WERNER Marco 3'25.780
7 3 Audi Sport Team Joest LMP1 BERNHARD Timo 3'27.106
8 007 AMR Eastern Europe LMP1 CHAROUZ Jan 3'27.180
9 008 Aston Martin Racing LMP1 TURNER D 3'27.704
10 13 Speedy Racing Sebah LMP1 BELICCHI Andrea 3'28.134
pug, audi, pug, Pesca pug, pug, audi, audi, aston, aston, lola.
which i think Sets us up for a cracking race. The Audi isn't faster than the Peugeot but they are a lot stronger. Last year Audi won with a better car in the wet of Sunday morning. The Pugs had too many fidderly little problems and the rain came at just the wrong moment.
This year it might be wet again come Sunday morning, but the Pugs should have a better handle on the car in the rain. Bearingg in mind that the Peugeots are much the same car as last year and have had 3 races this year. Audi have a whole new car and engine which has only raced at Sebring (which they won comfortably).
It's going to come down to pit work and which cars break first.
I'd like the Mcnish Audi to win because it's McNish.
Peugeot deserve to win because Audi have won it for almost 10 years now and i'd like to see a French car win. despite having no brits there at all Brabham being the closest so a win for that car.
The Pescarola Peugeot should win so that Henry can retire with the win he so richly deserves.
finally and Aston win, highly unlikely would be a dream come true. But that will require the car to be built proof for the first time ever and the Diesels to all have problems, big problems.
Heres to another classic year