Four Audi cars snatched four of the top five positions during the first qualifying sessions of the 80th running of the Le Mans 24 Hours. What’s even more news-worthy is that taking the pole position at the race is an Audi R18 e-tron Quattro diesel hybrid, with the number “1” designation and driven by André Lotterer. Lotterer logged 3m 25.453s in the first qualifying session. At second place is another Audi R18 e-tron Quattro having the number “2” designation and piloted by Tom Kristensen. An Audi R18 ultra car given the number “3” designation and driven by Loïc Duval is on position three, while another Audi R18 ultra car given the number “4” designation and piloted by Mike Rockenfeller is on position five. Audi Sport Team Joest marked the first practice day by focusing on preparing for the race, testing the tires as well as fine-tuning the cars based on the data obtained on the test day.
During the free practice, Lotterer logged 3m 25.163s, which was still below the pole position time set in 2011. All 12 Audi racers completed the mandatory laps during the qualifying night. Four Audi R18 cars managed to complete a total of 330 laps and were running without any technical problems. The team will again prepare the cars completely from scratch before the final qualifying session on Thursday night. The cars will be fitted with engines and components intended for the race.
The final grid positions for the actual race will be determined Thursday night from 7pm to 9pm and then from 10pm to 12 midnight.
In the 2011 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours, Audi driver Benoît Tréluyer took the pole position after topping the final qualifying session. Audi has grabbed pole position six times at Le Mans and has won the French endurance classic around ten times since 2000.