Peugeot Clinches 3rd Consecutive Pole at Le Mans

French driver Stephane Sarrazin saved the day for Peugeot on Thursday, clinching pole position for the third time running in the Le Mans 24 Hours Race. The No 08 Peugeot 908 HDi set the pace from the early beginning of the qualifying session, but had to overcome some tough competition from Audi's Allan McNish for the first place on the grid.

Sarrazin's effort came late in the night qualifying session (the last of the day), as he managed to top the time set by McNish at the end of the first qualifying session by a massive 0.762 seconds. Prior to his quick lap, the Frenchman had scored two purple sectors in two different laps, but heavy traffic on track prevented him from topping the timing sheets.

In the end, Sarrazin posted a time some 4 seconds slower than his pole position effort last year, despite the fact that neither him, nor French manufacturer Peugeot were hoping for a 1st place performance on Thursday. As admitted by both Sarrazin and Peugeot team principal Serge Saulnier, the 908 HDI that ran yesterday was actually prepared for the race, not for the pole position.

We didn't really chase the pole. At the end we planned to try the soft tire for the night during the race, and apparently it works quite well - the performance of the car was there. But, seriously, we did not really try to chase the pole – we were working for the race. At the end we have the pole, but it was not the main objective,” revealed Saulnier after the Thursday qualifying.

The second row on Saturday will be an all-Peugeot view, with Nicolas Minassian taking his No 07 908 into 3rd place, while followed by Pescarolo's 908 driven by Jean-Christophe Boullion (who scored his best time in the first qualifying session. The No 02 and 03 Audis only managed the 6th and 7th best times of the day, thanks to the efforts of Marco Werner and Alexandre Premat.

Team Essex continued their strong pace from the Wednesday practice yesterday evening, as the Porsche RS Spyder driven by Casper Elgaard topped the time charts in the LMP2 category, again only thousands of a second faster than Team Goh's Porsche.

Jan Magnussen put his No 63 Corvette (for the works team) in pole position for the GT1 class, ahead of sister team No 64, while Jorg Bergmeister clinched the best time in the GT2 class for Flying Lizards Porsche.
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