The front of the grid at the 24 Hours of Le Mans will have a strong American Le Mans Series flavor. A pair of diesel-powered Audi R10 TDIs took the top two spots in qualifying for the historic French endurance classic.
Dindo Capello, co-leader in the American Le Mans Series’ LMP1 class, turned in the quickest lap during the two-day qualifying session at Le Mans with a 3:30.466 lap Thursday night. Capello, a two-time winner at the 24 Hours and a teammate of Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen this weekend, made his return to La Sarthe one he won’t forget soon.
Marco Werner qualified the other diesel-powered Audi prototype second with a lap of 3:30.584. Werner is a two-time LMP1 champion in the American Le Mans Series and will drive at Le Mans with Emanuele Pirro and Frank Biela, who shared the Series’ LMP1 crown last season.
“I got a perfectly clean flying lap, so I was lucky,” Capello said. “Marco wasn’t so lucky, so he lost a couple of tenths of a second. He could very well have taken pole from us. We are not using qualifying tires, as they don’t even last us a full lap because of the tremendous torque on this car. We are using the softest possible race tires we have.”
The two Audis were two seconds clear of the two Pescarolos, which figure to be the closest challengers to the diesel-powered entries. Already this year, the R10 TDI has won at Sebring, considered the best test for Le Mans.