Aston Martin Racing will be starting at the front of the GTE Pro pack at this year’s Le Mans 24-Hour. Dominant from the very first qualifying practice session held on Wednesday evening, the No.99 Vantage V8 of Rob Bell, Bruno Senna and Fred Makowiecki went on to win pole position after clocking a scorching lap time of 3:54.635.
Less than a second behind them is the No.97 car driven by Darren Turner, Stefan Mücke and Peter Dumbreck. Third position will be occupied by the No.92 Porsche AG Team Manthey 911 RSR (Marc Lieb, Richard Lietz, Romain Dumas) and fourth by the No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia being piloted by Gianmaria Bruni, Giancarlo Fisichella and Matteo Malucelli. Rounding of the top five is the third Aston Martin factory car – the No.98 commandeered by Bill Auberlen, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy.
For the first time in years the Corvette Racing outfit is strangely absent from the front of the grid and more than four seconds off the pace. The No.74 car (Oliver Gavin, Tommy Milner, Richard Westbrook) will be starting down in eighth position and the No.73 (Jan Magnussen, Antonio Garcia, Jordan) in ninth. During an interview with LeMans-TV.com the team’s Program Manager, Doug Fehan, blamed this poor performance on a lack of straight-line pace. Fortunately the proven reliability of the C6-ZR1 combined with good overall fuel economy and an excellent support crew will count in Corvette’s favour when the lights go green on Saturday afternoon.