Audi secured the front row of the grid for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours thanks to an opportunist lap by Benoit Treluyer with 40 minutes of the final qualifying session left to run. Peugeot fought back but its drivers' efforts were ultimately thwarted by traffic. The Simon Pagenaud/Sebastien Bourdais/Pedro Lamy Peugeot 908 lined up third on the grid behind the R18s of Treluyer/Marcel Fassler/Andre Lotterer and Timo Bernhard/Romain Dumas/Mike Rockenfeller.
The first sorties in the battle for pole were fought in the opening minutes as Bourdais in the No. 9 Peugeot and Tom Kristensen in the No. 3 Audi essayed fast laps on fresh tires. Traffic precluded them from improving on their cars' times from the previous session straight away, and it was Dumas in the No. 1 Audi who found a clear lap to vault from fifth place to the top of the times with a 3m25.799s. Kristensen took over a second out of the No. 3 R18's fastest time from the previous session but it was not enough to move the car up the order.
Anthony Davidson spun at the Ford chicane before starting his first flying lap and then hit traffic, and further attempts to improve the No. 7 Peugeot's time were stymied by a red flag at the 20-minute mark.
The session was stopped after 20 minutes when the No. 58 Ferrari of Anthony Beltoise went off on oil at Mulsanne Corner and hit the tire barrier. Christian Klien also fell foul of the oil in the No. 007 Aston Martin and sustained a left-rear puncture, but made it back to the pits. Some 20 minutes were lost while cement dust was laid on the racing line at crucial corners between Mulsanne and the pits, particularly in the first right-hander of the Porsche Curves.
A lull followed as the leaders worked through their programs, but with 40 minutes to run the track had cleaned sufficiently for Treluyer to post a 3m25.738s in the No. 2 Audi, slotting ahead of the No. 1 car.
With 20 minutes to go the session awoke from its torpor once more. Kristensen had another run but a promising lap was interrupted when he came across the No. 68 Ford GT at the exit of the Porsche Curves. He took on new tires and a splash of fuel before heading out again, while Simon Pagenaud clocked a 3m26.010s in the No. 9 Peugeot to move up to third overall. Traffic interfered with further efforts and as the clock counted down to zero Kristensen spun off at Tertre Rouge.
Both Rebellion Lolas improved during the early part of the session, before it was halted. Neel Jani posted a 3m32.883s to surpass the No. 16 Pescarolo as the quickest gasoline-powered car, while Andrea Bellichi's 3m34.573s fell a second and a half short.
The Soheil Ayari/Franck Mailleux/Lucas Ordonez Signatech ORECA-Nissan remained at the head of the LMP2 field but did not surpass its 3m41.458s, lining up 14th overall. Once again, Strakka Racing's rebuilt HPD ARX.01 did not improve upon the 3m42.615s Jonny Kane recorded in the car during last night's qualifying session, but it remained unbeaten by its other rivals and will start 16th.
Augusto Farfus set the fastest GTE Pro time thus far in the No. 55 BMW just before the stoppage. His 3m57.592s is nearly half a second clear of the No. 51 Ferrari driven by Gianmaria Bruni/Toni Vilander/Giancarlo Fisichella, which improved to 3m58.040. The Ferrari therefore moves ahead of the Andy Priaulx/Dirk Muller/Joey Hand No. 56 BMW, which did not take part in the session.
AF Corse's No. 61 Ferrari driven by Piergiuseppe Perazzini, Marco Cioci and Sean Paul Breslin took a clear lead in the GTE Am class, edging into the GT Pro tail-enders with a 4m01.282s, over a second quicker than the previous session. Its nearest opposition, the No. 63 Proton Competition Porsche, did not improve on its previous best of 4m03.532s.
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time
1. LMP1 Fassler/Lotterer/Treluyer Audi R18 TDI 3m25.738s
2. LMP1 Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller Audi R18 TDI 3m25.799s
3. LMP1 Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud Peugeot 908 3m26.010s
4. LMP1 Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian Peugeot 908 3m26.156s
5. LMP1 Capello/Kristensen/McNish Audi R18 TDI 3m26.165s
6. LMP1 Gene/Wurz/Davidson Peugeot 908 3m26.272s
7. LMP1 Lapierre/Duval/Panis ORECA Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP 3m30.084s
8. LMP1 Jani/Prost/Bleekemolen Rebellion Lola-Toyota 3m32.883s
9. LMP1 Collard/Tinseau/Jousse Pescarolo-Judd 3m33.066s
10. LMP1 Belicchi/Boullion/Smith Rebellion Lola-Toyota 3m34.573s
11. LMP1 Monteiro/Moreau/Ragues Oak Pescarolo-Judd 3m34.933s
12. LMP1 Ickx/Martin/Leinders Kronos Aston Martin 3m36.551s
13. LMP1 Amaral/Pla/Hughes Quifel-ASM Zytek 3m37.393s
14. LMP2 Mailleux/Ordonez/Ayari Signatech ORECA-Nissan 3m41.458s
15. LMP1 Hein/Nicolet/Yvon Oak Pescarolo-Judd 3m41.908s
16. LMP2 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka HPD ARX-01d 3m42.615s
17. LMP2 Premat/Hallyday/Kraihamer Oreca-Nissan 3m43.098s
18. LMP2 Perez Companc/Russo/Kaffer Pecom Lola-Judd 3m43.223s
19. LMP2 Nakano/De Crem/Charouz Oak Racing Pescarolo-BMW 3m43.479s
20. LMP2 Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard Greaves Zytek-Nissan 3m43.812s
21. LMP2 Frey/Meichtry/Rostan Race Performance ORECA-Judd 3m44.294s
22. LMP1 Mucke/Turner/Klien Aston Martin AMR-One 3m45.918s
23. LMP2 Erdos/Newton/Collins RML HPD ARX-01d 3m47.308s
24. LMP1 Zacchia/Lammers/Elgaard Hope ORECA 3m47.691s
25. LMP1 Primat/Fernandez/Meyrick Aston Martin AMR-One 3m48.355s
26. LMP2 Rosier/Haezbrouck/Fournoux Extreme Limite Norma-Judd 3m48.420s
27. LMP2 Barlesi/Da Rocha/Lafargue Oak Pescarolo-Judd 3m48.665s
28. LMP2 Tucker/Bouchut/Barbosa Level 5 Lola-Honda 3m48.863s
30. GTE P Farfus/Muller/Werner BMW M3 3m57.592s
29. GTE P Fisichella/Bruni/Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 3m58.040s
31. GTE P Priaulx/Muller/Hand BMW M3 3m58.426s
32. GTE P Gavin/Magnussen/Westbrook Corvette C6 ZR1 3m59.519s
33. GTE P Farnbacher/Simonsen/Keen Farnbacher Ferrari 3m59.519s
34. GTE P Beretta/Milner/Garcia Corvette C6 ZR1 3m59.633s
35. GTE P Lieb/Lietz/Henzler Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 3m59.662s
36. GTE P Ortelli/Makowiecki/Melo Luxury Racing Ferrari 3m59.901s
37. GTE P Goossens/Holzer/Van Lagen Prospeed Porsche 3m59.962s
38. GTE P Dolan/Hancock/Buncombe Jota Aston Martin 4m00.747s
39. GTE P Bell/Sugden/Maasen JMW Ferrari 4m00.890s
40. GTE P Bergmeister/Long/Luhr Flying Lizard Porsche 4m01.024s
41. GTE P Beltoise/Jakubowski/Thiret Luxury Racing Ferrari 4m01.176s
42. GTE A Perazzini/Cioci/Breslin AF Corse Ferrari 4m01.282s
43. GTE P Al Faisal/Tandy/Miller Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 4m01.752s
44. GTE P Kauffman/Waltrip/Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 4m02.216s
45. GTE P Pilet/Narac/Armindo IMSA Performance Porsche 4m02.548s
46. GTE A Felbermayr/Felbermayr/Ried Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 4m03.532s
47. GTE A Niemen/Law/Pumpelly Flying Lizard Porsche 4m03.648s
48. GTE A Bourret/Gibon/Belloc Larbre Porsche 4m03.918s
49. GTE A Rodrigues/Menahem/Marroc JMB ORECA 4m04.640s
50. GTE A Giroix/Goethe/Wainwright Gulf Aston Martin 4m04.825s
51. GTE A Krohn/Jonsson/Rugulo Krohn Ferrari 4m05.211s
52. GTE A Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel Larbre Porsche 4m05.955s
53. GTE A Ehret/Lynn/Wills CRS Ferrari 4m07.236s
54. GTE P Hirschi/Rossiter/Mowlem Jetalliance Lotus Evora 4m07.465s
55. GTE A Robertson/Robertson/Murry Robertson Racing Ford-Doran 4m08.208s
56. GTE P Rich/Slingerland/Hartshorne Jetalliance Lotus Evora 4m12.569s