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  • The Audi R18 E-Tron driven by Andre Lotterer of Germany, Marcel Fassler of Switzerland and Benoit Treluyer of France is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Audi R18 E-Tron driven by Andre Lotterer of Germany, Marcel Fassler of Switzerland and Benoit Treluyer of France is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: Andre Lotterer of Germany and driver of the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro captures pole position during qualifying for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: Race marshall waves the green flag at the start of qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit de la Sarthe on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Ker Robertson/Getty Images) *** BESTPIX ***

  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: The ferris wheel and spectator grandstand during practice for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 13, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Drew Gibson/Getty Images)
  • General view of the race track during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • General view of the tribunes at the race track of Le Mans during the qualifying practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Thursday, June 14, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Audi R18 Ultra n�3 driven by Marc Gene of Spain, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval both of France powers in a curve during the qualifying practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Thursday, June 14, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Audi R18 Ultra driven by Marc Gene of Spain, Romain Dumas and Loic Duval both of France is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: The #3 Audi R18 ultra driven by Marc Gene of Spain, Romain Dumas of France, and Loic Duval of France during practice for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 13, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: The #3 Audi R18 ultra driven by Marc Gene of Spain, Romain Dumas of France, and Loic Duval of France, during qualifying for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • The Audi R18 E-Tron driven by Allan McNish of Scotland, Rinaldo Capello of Italy and Tom Kristensen of Denmark leads the pack during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Audi R18 E-Tron n�2 driven by Allan McNish of Scotland, Rinaldo Capello of Italy and Tom Kristensen of Denmark powers in a curve ahead of the Toyota n�7 during the qualifying practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Thursday, June 14, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: The #12 Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota driven by Nick Heidfeld of Germany, Neel Jani of Switzerland, and Nicolas Prost of France during qualifying for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: The #4 Audi R18 ultra driven by Marco Bonanomi of Italy, Oliver Jarvis of Great Britian, and Mike Rockenfeller of Germany during qualifying for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: The Toyota TS030 Hybrid driven by Nicolas Lapierre of France, Kazuki Nakajimi of Japan, and Alexander Wurz of Austria during practice for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 13, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: The Toyota TS030 Hybrid driven by Nicolas Lapierre of France, Kazuki Nakajimi of Japan, and Alexander Wurz of Austria during practice for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 13, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: The Toyota Racing Toyota TS 030 - Hybrid driven by Alexander Wurz of Austria, Nicolas Lapierre of France and Kazuki Nakajima of Japan during qualifying for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Drew Gibson/Getty Images)
  • The Toyota TS030 Hybrid n�8 driven by Antony Davidson of Britain, Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland and Stephane Sarrazin of France is seen in action ahead of the Toyota n�7 during the qualifying practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Thursday, June 14, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Toyota TS 030 Hybrid driven by Alexander Wurz of Austria, Nicolas Lapierre of France and Kazuki Nakajima of Japan powers in the pit lane during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Toyota TS030 Hybrid n�8 driven by Antony Davidson of Britain, Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland and Stephane Sarrazin of France is seen in action during the qualifying practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Thursday, June 14, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Toyota Hybrid driven by Antony Davidson of Britain, Sebastien Buemi of Switzerland and Stephane Sarrazin of France is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Toyota TS 030 Hybrid driven by Alexander Wurz of Austria, Nicolas Lapierre of France and Kazuki Nakajima of Japan is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Toyota TS 030 Hybrid driven by Alexander Wurz of Austria, Nicolas Lapierre of France and Kazuki Nakajima of Japan is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: Satoshi Motoyama of Japan drives the #0 DeltaWing Nissan during qualifying for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: Marino Franchitti of Scotland drives the #0 DeltaWing NIssan during qualifying for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France. (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • The Delta Wing Nissan driven by Marino Franchitti of Britain, Mickael Krumm of Germnay and Satoshi Motoyama of Japan is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Delta Wing Nissan driven by Marino Franchitti ofBritain, Mickael Krumm of Germnay and Satoshi Motoyama of Japan in the pits during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Delta Wing Nissan driven by Marino Franchitti of Britain, Mickael Krumm of Germnay and Satoshi Motoyama of Japan is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • The Corvette driven by Antonio Garcia of Spain, Jan Magnussen of Denmark and US Jordan Taylor is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: The #73 Corvette Racing C6 ZR1 driven by Antonio Garcia of Spain, Jan Magnussen of Denmark, and Jordan Taylor of the United States during practice for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 13, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 13: Martin Brundle of Great Britain drives the #42 Greaves Motorsport Zytek Nissan during practice for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 13, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • LE MANS, FRANCE - JUNE 14: The #61 AF Corse - Waltrip Ferrari 458 driven by Brian Vickers of the United States, Rob Kauffman of the United States, and Rui Aguas of Portugal, during qualifying for the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hour race at the Circuit des 24 Heures du Mans on June 14, 2012 in Le Mans, France (Photo by Rick Dole/Getty Images)
  • The Aston Martin driven by three Danish drivers Christoffer Nygaard, Kristian Poulsen and Allan Simonsen is seen in action during the free practice session of the 80th 24-hour Le Mans endurance race, in Le Mans, western France, Wednesday, June 13, 2012. The race will begin on Saturday, June 16. (AP Photo/David Vincent)
There were times during the past days of qualifying when it looked like Audi might own the first two rows of the starting grid for this weekend's 24 Hours of Le Mans. The R18 e-tron quattro hybrid cars were running the quickest lap times, with the two diesel R18 Ultras following close behind. The two Toyota TS 030 hybrid cars were also quick, but it seemed they were always nipping at the heels of an Audi's lap time, much like the Audis used to trail the faster Peugeots during qualifying for Le Mans races of the recent past. And we all know how that usually ended for Peugeot.



So when the third and final qualifying session ended last evening, we were surprised to learn the starting grid had ended up as anything but expected. An Audi will have pole position, and a hybrid car at that, which marks the first time such a powertrain has earned the honor. The No. 1 R18 e-tron quattro beat all comers with a fastest lap of 3:23.787, nearly two seconds quicker than last year's pole.

Next to the first R18 e-tron quattro will be another R18, but not a hybrid. The No. 3 R18 Ultra will be starting second, followed by the No. 8 Toyota TS030 hybrid starting third, the other R18 e-tron quattro starting fourth, the No. 7 Toyota TS030 hybrid starting fifth and the final R18 Ultra starting sixth. So not a single car of the quickest six will start next to its twin, which suggests that none of the three powertrain technologies has a lock on leading the race.



In LMP2, the No. 25 Oreca Nissan led the field with a fastest lap of 3:38.181, followed closely by the No. 24 Oak Racing Morgan Judd and then four more Oreca Nissans. The Nissan DeltaWing, racing in an experimental class of its own, wound up near the back of the LMP2 field with a fastest lap of 3:42.612 set on the first day of qualifying.

The GTE Pro class promises to be as exciting as ever this year, with the pole being led by the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, which recorded a particularly quick lap of 3:56.484 during the final qualifying session. The Ferrari will be followed by Aston Martin Racing's No. 97 Vantage V8 and the first of two Corvette Racing C6 ZR1s.

Lastly, the GTE Am class will be lead by the No. 79 Flying Lizard Motorsports Porsche 911 RSR with a leading lap time of 3:57.594, followed by another 911 from Prospeed Competition and the No. 99 Aston Martin Racing V8 Vantage.

Click here to find out the best place, time and way to experience this year's 24 Hours of Le Mans.


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    • 1 Second Ago
  • 4 Comments
      Neil Blanchard
      • 6 Months Ago
      You can watch the entire race live here, with French and English commentary: http://live.lemans-tv.com/ Enjoy! The DeltaWing is out on the track, but it's video channel is showing a view of the pits, last I checked. Neil
      Dave D
      • 6 Months Ago
      It WAS a great race with Toyota challenging for the lead and even leading about 6 hours in....but was totally ruined by that moron Nakajima. Toyota had been leading going into a safety car (brought on when one of the GT Ferraris totally wrecked the OTHER Toyota in a terrible crash) and they rode around for nearly 45 minutes under caution while they fixed the tire barriers and took the drivers to the hospital (they're ok). But on the restart, with 17 hours and 44 minutes to go in the race, Nakajima decided he just HAD to win the race on the restart!!! Forget the 17 hours and 44 minutes still to go. He lost his F'ing mind and tried to pass the lead Audi on the first frigging turn and ran right over the top of the Deltawing and wrecked both of them out. There is a reason he was bounced out of Formula 1...he SUCKS. As the manager of the Deltawing team said: "Nakajima had no spatial abilities in Formula 1 and he doesn't have them here". Toyota should have left him wherever they found him...I assume selling cokes and peanuts at the track concession stand? I hope Toyota is happy...they have their Japanese driver and nationalistic pride....and no cars running now.
      Rick
      • 6 Months Ago
      Bomb proof Audi diesels 1-2-3-4 at the moment, but anything can happen this is the most dangerous part of the race when drivers are tired and make mistakes. Both the Toyota hybrids out yesterday, but they still have the Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota's in with a chance of a podium if a couple of Audi's slip up at the last moment.