Continuing an emerging pattern at this year’s 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans the first of Thursday’s qualifying sessions was ended half an hour early by a red flag.
Matt Downs crashed the LMP2 Boutsen Ginion Racing ORECA on the fast section between Mulsanne Corner and Indianapolis and though the Le Mans rookie was unhurt in the accident the car and barriers suffered severe enough damage to bring out the fourth red flag of the three sessions completed thus far.
One complicating factor in the accident may have been the rain which left the track wet to start the two hour session before moving away, allowing a dry line to develop to push the best times of the session down to a 3:40.924 for the #7 Toyota Racing entry with Alex Wurz behind the wheel.
However, rain showers returned peppering certain areas of the track – notably the Indianapolis and Arnage area – that stopped the times from falling any lower.
With the wet weather the session had no impact at all on the shape of the grid, the Toyota’s best time nearly than 20 seconds slower than Loic Duval’s provisional pole time from the previous night’s first qualifying session.
The Toyota led a pair of Audis – the #3 and #1 – with Lucas di Grassi in the #3 just 0.066 seconds slower on their best lap. The #12 Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota was fourth fastest.
Fastest – as in yesterday’s first session – was John Martin the #26 G-Drive Racing ORECA-Nissan with Tom Kimber–Smith second in the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek that brought out the first red flag of the free practice session yesterday.
Jan Magnussen was comfortably fastest in the #73 Corvette he shares with Jordan Taylor and Antonio Garcia. His lap, set in the narrow of corridor of time between showers, was nearly seven seconds quicker than the best lap of Fred Makowiecki in the #99 Aston Martin Racing car with the #91 Porsche a further tenth of a second slower.
Aston Martin Racing remained their 100% record in LMGTE Am, though the Danish crewed #95 put to the top of both Thursday session by Allan Simonsen was only second quicker after Kristian Poulsen supplied the car’s best lap. They were kept in second place by Stuart Hall in the #96 Vantage V8 who completed a best time of 4:18.829.
The loss of the final 30 minutes of qualifying, on top of the track time already lost, prompted officials to bring the beginning of the third and final qualifying session forward by half an hour, to start at 8:30pm UK time.