Audi R18 TDI on Pole at Le Mans, Peugeot Third in Qualifying

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The Audi won't be so clean after just a couple of laps, let alone if it lasts 24 hours.

The front row of the grid at the 79th edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans belonged to defending champion Audi after qualifying ended late on Thursday night. Benoît Tréluyer set a time of 3m:25.738s taking the first grid position for Audi in a R18 TDI. His French team-mate Romain Dumas was 0.061 seconds slower. Third position was claimed by Simon Pagenaud at 3:26.010 in a Team Peugeot Total 908 HDi.

The fastest six cars were running within just five tenths of a second. It’s really meaningless in the world’s oldest endurance race, which starts tomorrow afternoon, but exciting nonetheless as the Germans take on the French. It looks like there will be 24 hours of intense racing for an estimated 250,000 fans, and because of the web millions of people can now track Le Mans real time at home. Both Sirius and XM satellite radio will carry the race as well.

Introduced in 2010, Peugeot Web TV will once again provide fans with the opportunity to follow the race with Team Peugeot Total. Coverage will include behind the scenes glimpses, refueling stops, on-board cameras and race action, plus the positions of the four Peugeots, with commentary in French and English, starting from 14:00 (Le Mans time) on Saturday 11 June. (www.peugeot-sport.com)

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Chevrolet will take on BMW, Ferrari and Porsche in GT. For manufacturers the minimum production figure is 100 models, and for small constructors 25. At least 300 engines must have been made.

The Audi Live Racing website will also be live at www.audi-microsites.com/lemans. On the site Audi will have a 24-hour stream with onboard footage of the three Audi R18 TDI cars. In addition, telemetry data of the respective R18, such as speed, selected gear and position on the track, will be online. Every two hours the Audi site will provide a summary of the race, which will also see strong battles among Aston Martin, BMW, Corvette, Ferrari, Nissan and Porsche in other classes.

For Audi, this is the sixth pole position at Le Mans and the first pole since 2006 when Audi claimed the first victory of a diesel-powered vehicle at the world’s most famous endurance race. I personally wouldn’t bet against Peugeot, though, particulièrement en France.

Qualifying Results – LMP1

1 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 TDI) 3m 25.738s
2 Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller (Audi R18 TDI) 3m 25.799s
3 Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud (Peugeot 908) 3m 26.010s
4 Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian (Peugeot 908) 3m 26.156s
5 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 TDI) 3m 26.272s
6 Gene/Wurz/Davidson (Peugeot 908) 3m 26.272s
7 Lapierre/Duval/Panis (Peugeot 908 HDi) 3m 30.084s
8 Jani/Prost/Bleekemolen (Lola-Toyota) 3m 32.883s
9 Collard/Tinseau/Jousse (Pescarolo-Judd) 3m 33.066s
10 Belicchi/Boullion/Smith (Lola-Toyota) 3m 34.573s

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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