Spa: Sarrazin breaks two-minute barrier to demote McNish + Grid!

The Peugeot 908 has again taken the upper hand over the Audi

Peugeot and Audi will share the front row for the third race of the 2008 Le Mans Series, the Spa 1000kms after a record-breaking qualifying session. Stephane Sarrazin set a time of 1m58.069 to head Allan McNish, who was second fastest for Audi. Peugeot's Marc Gene will share the second row with Mike Rockenfeller.

In high afternoon temperatures, expected to continue for tomorrow's race, Jos Verstappen again set the pole position in the LM P2 category, heading the Lola Coupe of Andrea Belicchi.

In GT1, fresh from his victory at Monza two weeks ago, Antonio Garcia waited until late in the session to set fastest time for the Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9. Ferrari again held sway in GT2, Gianmaria Bruni setting pole in the Virgo Motorsport Ferrari, narrowly edging out the Porsche of Marc Lieb.

Action can be followed on the internet by logging onto, and the live timing and scoring, as well as pit notes, on the Le Mans Series website,


Sarrazin magic demotes McNish Peugeot will start the Spa 1000kms from pole position after a fantastic qualifying effort from Stephane Sarrazin in the final minutes of a dramatic qualifying session.

The Frenchman was forced to wait until late in the session to set pole position in his Peugeot 908 HDi FAP after two red flags caused by accidents.

The first of those was caused by Jean de Pourtales, who crashed the Kruse Schiller Motorsport Lola Mazda. Pourtales was unhurt, but the accident caused heavy front-end damage.

Shortly afterwards it was the turn of Olivier Pla to crash the Quifel-ASM team Lola. The accident caused heavy damage to the right side of the Lola, and the LMP2 Porsche of Didier Theys was lucky not to also become involved in the accident.

McNish had set his best time early in the session, before the first red flag and so was able to sit out the rest of qualifying, saving the tyres on which he must start tomorrow's race. The Scotsman set a time of 1m58.705s, fastest in the opening section of qualifying ahead of his team-mate Mike Rockenfeller.

Following the two red flags, the clock was re-set to six minutes, long enough for Sarrazin to snatch pole position and Marc Gene to launch his own attack on the Audis. Though the Spaniard was able to better Rockenfeller's time, despite suffering from oversteer, he was eight-hundredths of a second slower than McNish and will line up on the second row.

The Lola Aston Martin was qualified by Stefan Mucke and the German, who will share the car with Czech driver Jan Charouz was demoted to fifth by the battling diesels.

Robbie Kerr managed only 11th fastest time in the Creation having gone off track in the final run to the flag.

Again the P1 Saulnier was deep in the P2 grid


Jos Verstappen set his third successive pole position of the season in the Van Merksteijn Porsche RS Spyder, but he was disappointed with his lap time, which was just eight-hundredths of a second ahead of Andrea Belicchi's Speedy Racing team Lola Judd.

"I did a better lap this morning but we have completely lost the balance in the high speed corners," said the Dutchman.

Belicchi was delighted with second place after the team lost valuable track time in the morning practice session due to a number of stoppages.

Michael Vergers worked his way down to a 2m06.349s in qualifying, third fastest in the class, and 12th fastest overall in the Barazi Epsilon Zytek shared with Juan Barazi and Fernando Rees. Didier Theys was lucky not to become involved in Pla's accident, collecting a cockpit full of carbon fibre from the crashed Lola as he passed the scene of the accident on his way to fourth in class. The Team Essex Porsche of Casper Elgaard headed the time sheets early on, but finished the session eighth fastest in class.

The IPB Spartak Lamborghini scored a great third in class


Antonio Garcia picked up where the Team Modena left off in Monza when the Spaniard set pole position time in the Aston Martin DBR9, ahead of the Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6R of Guillaume Moreau.

The team had worked late into the night on Friday fixing a gearbox problem that had prevented it from taking part in the second practice session on Friday. The car returned to the top of the time sheets on Saturday morning ahead of qualifying, and Garcia put in a fantastic performance to set class pole.

The two cars had fought a mighty battle in Italy and did so again in in Belgium, Garcia waiting until late in the session to demote the Corvette. Peter Kox set third fastest time in the IPB Spartak Racing Lamborghini, benefiting from improved Michelin tyres.

Sebastien Dumez was fourth fastest in the second Luc Alphand car, while Peter Hardman was fifth fastest in the Strakka Racing Aston Martin which is making its debut in the series this weekend. Nick Leventis is the second driver in the car.

The Felbermayr Porsche qualified second in class behind the Virgo Ferrari


Gianmaria Bruni continued to head the "LM" GT2 category in the Virgo Motorsport Ferrari 430 GT. After winning in Barcelona, the team's title hopes went up in smoke in Monza with a succession of punctures which destroyed the rear of the car.

The Italian beat the Team Felbermayr Proton Porsche of Marc Lieb, who will share with Alex Davison, by little more than a tenth of a second.

Pierre Kaffer went out late in the session and set third fastest time in the Farnbacher Racing Ferrari that he will share with Pierre Ehret.

The German went off on his fastest lap which he believed would have put him closer to the Team Felbermayr Porsche ahead of him on the grid. "This morning the car was perfect, but we made a change for qualifying and it was not the right way to go," said the German.

Richard Lietz set fourth fastest time in the IMSA Performance Matmut Porsche shared with Raymond Narac, while Richard Westbrook was able to set fifth fastest time in the Farnbacher team's Porsche.

The Grid
Pos Num Class Drivers Team Car Time Gap To 1st
1. 8 LMP1 P.Lamy, S.Sarrazin, A.Wurz Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP 1:58.069

2. 1 LMP1 Capello Rinaldo A.McNish Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 TDI 1:58.705 0.636 0.636
3. 7 LMP1 M.Gene, N.Minassian, J.Villeneuve Team Peugeot Total Peugeot 908 Hdi-FAP 1:58.787 0.082 0.718
4. 2 LMP1 A.Premat, M.Rockenfeller Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R10 TDI 2:00.796 2.009 2.727
5. 10 LMP1 S.Mucke, J.Charouz Charouz Racing System Lola Aston Martin 2:02.510 1.714 4.441

6. 16 LMP1 E.Collard, J.Boullion Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 2:04.709 2.199 6.640
7. 17 LMP1 H.Primat, C.Tinseau Pescarolo Sport Pescarolo Judd 2:05.201 0.492 7.132
8. 34 LMP2 Van, P.Merksteijn, J.Verstappen Van Merksteijn Motorsport Porsche RS Spyder 2:05.841 0.640 7.772
9. 33 LMP2 A.Belicchi, X.Pompidou, S.Zacchia Speedy Racing Team Sebah Lola Judd 2:05.880 0.039 7.811
10. 18 LMP1 J.Barbosa, V.Ickx, M.Forsten Rollcentre Racing Pescarolo Judd 2:05.918 0.038 7.849

11. 15 LMP1 S.Hall, R.Kerr Creation AIM Creation - Aim 2:06.062 0.144 7.993
12. 32 LMP2 J.Barazi, M.Vergers, F.Rees Barazi Epsilon Zytek 07S 2:06.349 0.287 8.280
13. 27 LMP2 F.Lienhard, D.Theys, J.Lammers Horag Racing Porsche RS Spyder 2:06.955 0.606 8.886
14. 20 LMP1 A.Burgueno, De, M.Castro Epsilon Euskadi Epsilon Euskadi Judd 2:07.051 0.096 8.982
15. 25 LMP2 T.Erdos, M.Newton RML Lola MG 2:07.539 0.488 9.470

16. 46 LMP2 Kimber-smith Tom, J.Foster Embassy Racing WF01 Zytek 2:08.047 0.508 9.978
17. 40 LMP2 M.Amaral, O.Pla Quifel ASM Team Lola AER 2:08.224 0.177 10.155
18. 31 LMP2 C.Elgaard, J.Nielsen Team Essex Porsche RS Spyder 2:08.322 0.098 10.253
19. 35 LMP2 P.Ragues, M.Lahaye Saulnier Racing Pescarolo Judd 2:08.676 0.354 10.607
20. 45 LMP2 W.Hughes, J.Kane Embassy Racing WF01 Zytek 2:08.873 0.197 10.804

21. 41 LMP2 K.Ojjeh, C.Gosselin, J.Schroyen Trading Performance Zytek 07S 2:11.269 2.396 13.200
22. 3 LMP1 G.Lavaggi Scuderia Lavaggi Lavaggi AER 2:11.455 0.186 13.386
23. 26 LMP2 M.Rostan, J.Petersen, J.Lueders Bruichladdich Radical Radical AER 2:12.207 0.752 14.138
24. 4 LMP1 J.Nicolet, M.Faggionato, R.Hein Saulnier Racing Pescarolo Judd 2:12.692 0.485 14.623
25. 59 LMGT1 A.Garcia, T.Enge Team Modena Aston Martin DBR9 2:16.074 3.382 18.005

26. 72 LMGT1 L.Alphand, G.Moreau, P.Goueslard Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 2:16.797 0.723 18.728
27. 55 LMGT1 R.Rusinov, P.Kox IPB Spartak Racing Lamborghini 2:17.021 0.224 18.952
28. 73 LMGT1 J.Blanchemain, S.Dumez, S.Lemeret Luc Alphand Aventures Corvette C6.R 2:17.998 0.977 19.929
29. 61 LMGT1 P.Hardman, N.Leventis Strakka Racing Aston Martin DBR9 2:19.447 1.449 21.378
30. 96 LMGT2 R.Bell, G.Bruni Virgo Motorsport Ferrari F430 GT 2:21.205 1.758 23.136

31. 77 LMGT2 M.Lieb, A.Davison Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 2:21.361 0.156 23.292
32. 6 LMP1 O.Panis, N.Lapierre Team Oreca Matmut Courage-Oreca Judd 2:21.775 0.414 23.706
33. 90 LMGT2 P.Ehret, P.Kaffer Farnbacher Racing Ferrari F430 GT 2:22.314 0.539 24.245
34. 76 LMGT2 R.Narac, Lietz, Richard Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 2:22.332 0.018 24.263
35. 91 LMGT2 Nielsen E.Lars, R.Westbrook, A.Simonsen Farnbacher Racing Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 2:22.569 0.237 24.500

36. 98 LMGT2 P.Kutemann, M.Basso, S.Daoudi JMB Racing Ferrari F430 GT 2:23.812 1.243 25.743
37. 85 LMGT2 P.Dumbreck, R.Kelleners, A.Vasiliev Snoras Spyker Squadron Spyker C8 Laviolette 2:24.482 0.670 26.413
38. 99 LMGT2 B.Aucott, A.Ferte JMB Racing Ferrari F430 GT 2:24.551 0.069 26.482
39. 95 LMGT2 P.Daniels, M.Palttala, T.Sugden James Watt Automotive Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 2:25.109 0.558 27.040
40. 88 LMGT2 C.Ried, Felbermayr, Hjr, Felbermayr, Hsr Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 2:25.830 0.721 27.761

41. 75 LMGT2 R.Balandras, M.Lecourt Imsa Performance Matmut Porsche 997 GT3 RSR 2:26.424 0.594 28.355
42. 94 LMGT2 A.Chiesa, B.Leuenberger, Alexander-david Ira Speedy Racing Team Spyker C8 Laviolette 2:26.688 0.264 28.619