• Jun 4th 2007 at 4:58PM
  • 23

LeMans fans waiting patiently to watch the greatest diesel duel in the history of motorsports got a preview on Sunday during an official test session for the 24 Hours of LeMans. All 55 teams were on hand, but our attention is focused on the reigning Audi R10 and newcomer from Peugeot, the 908 HDi. Both cars are a tour de force of diesel technology, but the 908 HDi driven by Sebastien Bourdais proved itself a smidge faster during testing, posting the best recorded lap of the shortened 8.47 test course with a time of 3:26:707 seconds. The Audi R10 driven by Frank Biela posted the second quickest time of 3:28:277 seconds, a little over 1.5 ticks slower than the Peugeot. The other 908 HDi car finished fifth, while the other two Audi R10s finished third and sixth, respectively. The two Peugeot 908 HDi cars completed the day with no mechanical issues, though the Audi teams were dogged by a number of red flags. There's less than two weeks left before the 24 Hours of LeMans begins on June 16th, so we expect both teams to arrive prepared and ready to lay it all out on the track.

[Source: News Press]

UPDATE: Fixed the lap time errors.



Le Mans 24 Hours Preliminary Test Day – 3 June 2007

Peugeot Sport left Le Mans yesterday very pleased after completing the planned test programme for its maiden visit and setting the fastest lap.

The 908 HDi FAP driven by Sébastien Bourdais posted the fastest recorded time of 3m 26.707s, over 1.5 seconds faster than the second placed Audi R10.

Sébastien Bourdais left his fast lap until late on Sunday after posting a series of very quick laps on race tyres after fine-tuning the set-up of his 908 HDi FAP: "We had a comprehensive programme to go through and we succeeded in ticking almost all the items on our list. The car is fantastic to drive, it is nicely balanced and if we succeed in putting in the same sort of performance in a fortnight's time, then we could possibly end up springing a surprise. We did not run on qualifying tyres and I wasn't far off the car's maximum potential. I've got a busy Champ Car schedule over the coming days including a race at Portland next weekend, and then it'll be back to Le Mans for the real thing ...."

Jacques Villeneuve also emerged as the fastest rookie after carefully increasing his pace. "I started with a couple of laps aimed primarily at learning the track which has got quite a few interesting corners. I then went back out later in the day to do a series of long runs to see how the tyres performed, but my biggest concern was the amount of traffic about. That's something new to me, especially since certain cars were taking some pretty bizarre lines! Sharing a car with other drivers isn't a problem and we weren't looking for the absolute fastest time here so I didn't get involved in any set up work. My team mates are far more accustomed to the car than I am!"

It was also Peugeot Sport's other Le Man's rookie Marc Gene's first visit to the circuit. "It's been a very rewarding experience driving here today. The first thing that strikes you is how long the circuit is; it takes so long to cover just one lap! My initial objective was to learn the circuit and find my marks as I completed my 10 mandatory laps. I followed the advice not only of my team mates but also that of my brother Jordi who knows Le Mans well. I was impressed by certain turns, including Indianapolis, and the speeds involved are very reminiscent of Monza."

Fastest lap times:
  • 1 Bourdais/Lamy/Sarrazin (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) 3m 26.707s
  • 2 Pirro (Audi R10) 3m 28.277s
  • 3 McNish (Audi R10) 3m 28.406s
  • 4 Boullion (Pescarolo Judd) 3m 28.574s
  • 5 Villeneuve/Gene/Minassian (Peugeot 908 HDi FAP) 3m 30.314s
Peugeot Sport managed to work through the complete programme planned for the 908's maiden visit to the French venue without suffering the slightest mechanical problem. The No 8 car covered a total of 60 laps, while the No 7 sister car completed 79 laps. Le Man's rookies Jacques Villeneuve and Marc Gene both completed the mandatory minimum of 10 laps demanded by the organisers for all first-time visitors to the circuit.

Allan McNish - Le Mans 24 Hours Test Day Report (3 June)

Allan McNish began his preparations for this year's Le Mans 24 Hours by driving his diesel-powered Audi in an official test at the French circuit today (SUN).

McNish's co-driver Mike Rockenfeller clocked the third fastest time, a 3min 28.406secs, an average speed of over 145mph, around the slightly-shortened 8.47-mile track comprising of closed public roads - despite his inexperience in the Audi R10 TDI.

McNish, who bids to become the first Briton to win the annual endurance race in a diesel-engined sportscar, was competing in an official one-day test attended by all 55 teams that will contest the twice-around-the-clock marathon in France over 16-17 June.

"We completed what we'd set out to achieve. Unfortunately the day comprised a number of red flags, including one near the end which upset our plans a little, but overall we have a well balanced car and we're happy," commented McNish who won Le Mans in 1998.

"We spilt the workload between the three cars. I drove our car for most of the morning to conduct basic ground work. In the afternoon all three of us drove again to give everyone experience of the '07 R10 TDI at Le Mans which has changed slightly at Tetre Rouge and Arnage."

The Monaco-based Scotsman's co-drivers are as last year with regular American Le Mans Series co-pilot Dindo Capello (I) joined by Tom Kristensen (Den). Record seven-time Le Mans winner Kristensen is still recovering from an accident he suffered in the opening round of the German Touring Car Masters (DTM) on 22 April. Rockenfeller (D) deputized for the Dane today (SUN) in the McNish/Capello Audi R10 TDI and a final decision as to whether Kristensen competes at Le Mans will be taken during race week.

Frank Biela (D), Emanuele Pirro (I) and Marco Werner (D), who made Le Mans history by winning the race in their diesel-powered Audi last year, drive together again and recorded the second quickest time (3:28.277) courtesy of Biela. Meanwhile the third "factory" entered Audi R10 TDI handled by Mattias Ekström (Sw), Lucas Luhr (D), and Alexandre Prémat (F), was sixth fastest (Luhr, 3:30.613).

The Peugeot of Sébastien Bourdais (F) recorded the fastest time, 3min 26.707secs, in the eight-hour test staged in warm, sunny conditions. Last year's pole-position time set by Capello was a 3:30.466secs.

McNish flies to Scotland on Monday for two days before attending the TT motorcycle races on the Isle of Man until Friday evening. Allan will spend a day at his Monaco home before returning to Le Mans on Sunday evening to commence his final countdown for the 75th Le Mans 24 Hours.

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 8 Years Ago
      Um, what?

      "...posting the best recorded lap of the shortened 8.47 test course with a time of 3:30.466 seconds. he Audi R10 driven by Frank Biela posted the second quickest time of 3:28:277 seconds, a little over 1.5 ticks slower than the Peugeot."

      But that wasn't his time - it was 3m 26.707s.
      • 8 Years Ago
      I am also excited about this race, but I would definitely not be surprised if Peugeot doesn't win or both its cars break down. It's probably the more probable thing to happen actually, after all this is their first run. I think Audi won in their first attempt with the R10, but they had the huge experience with the winning R8, and peugeot is a newcomer. Despite all this, it will probably be the most interesting race i years just because of those two teams. It surely is the most anticipated battle in motorsport this year, for me even bigger than the McLaren-Ferrari clash in F1.
      • 8 Years Ago
      TDI/HDi handicaps

      obviously you don't keep up with any of the series running under the ACO rules. Under the current rules Diesel engines have a major advantage over gasoline engines.
      • 8 Years Ago
      No matter which F1 racer crosses the finish line first it will be a tremendous advancement for the future of diesel powered non- race cars.....the races with diesel powered entries will help the American public more readily accept a diesel powered vehicle that will sit in our driveways.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Also, they aren't F1 cars...
        • 8 Years Ago
        Amen. I have two petrol powered cars in the US and I am waiting until I have the money to get diesel power in a car and an airplane!!! I am just loving how diesel powered cars are going to dominate at Le Mans!!!
        • 7 Years Ago
        Because any American who hasn't already accepted the idea of diesel pays any attention to Le Mans? Let's face it - it will have virtually zero impact on most Americans since the ones that pay attention to Le Mans are likely the same ones noting the advances of consumer diesel cars over the past several years. The ones with the problems with diesel due to ignorance are also ignorant of Le Mans.
      • 8 Years Ago
      So the battle hardened R10 is 2 seconds slower? OK.

      The Peugeot has never gone more than two hours in racing conditions and is a 100% UNKNOWN after 20,22 hours of racing. My money is still on an Audi 1,2,3 victory with both Peugeots DNF'ing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Given how badly Audi has been sandbagging in ALMS (witness how McNish passed the entire field in a few laps at St. Pete after getting punted), this doesn't mean that much.

      BTw, that Peugeot is ugly from the front. Cockpit is too narrow.
      • 8 Years Ago
      diesel fuel duel = "diesuel" ??
      • 8 Years Ago
      Plus you stated that a Peugeot and an Audi both came in 6th.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Additionally, you mis-spelled "diesel" (the very crux of your article) in the 5th line. Embarrassing editing.
      • 8 Years Ago
      Ridiculous. Your one job is posting articles and you can't even get the synopsis correct. How about you post some articles about new Mustang variations instead? I haven't seen one of those in 3 hours.
      • 8 Years Ago
      you have the times in the wrong order
      • 8 Years Ago
      thanks dookie559, I'll go ahead and purge all the postings about the previous lemans season and handicapping of the R10 from my mind.
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