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1 Christian Fittipaldi 220
2 Dane Cameron 216
2 Eric Curran 216
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11 Luis Felipe Derani 95
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13 Max Angelelli 82
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17 Andy Meyrick 67
18 Scott Pruett 62
19 Filipe Albuquerque 61
20 Rubens Barrichello 53

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2 #31 Action Express Racing 216
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5 #60 Michael Shank Racing 191
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8 #0 Panoz Deltawing Racing 144
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14 #37 Smp Racing 23
15 #24 Porsche Centre Oakville 21

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1 Chevrolet 236
2 Honda 227
3 Mazda 212
4 Bmw 56
5 Ford 30
LeMans Preview: 90 years on and still going strong

24 Hour Classic in Western France
Friday, June 21, 2013

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On the pole, the Audi Sport Team of (L to R) Kristensen, Duval and McNish
A little more than 24 hours to the start of the 81st edition of the 24 Hours of Le Mans, and the tension at the Circuit de la Sarthe increases a tangible notch with each passing hour. Yesterday, the 55 teams were focused on 2nd qualifications in the afternoon and Final Qualification later in the night. The Audi Sport Team Joest #2 Le Mans Prototype car of Rolex Testimonee and eight-time race winner Tom Kristensen, long-time teammate Alan McNish, and Loic Duval posted the fastest lap in each period.

And, with R18 e-tron Quattros filling the top three slots in both sessions a repeat of last year’s 24 Hours of Le Mans looks on the cards. If only it were that simple.

LeMans Circuit
Kristensen exudes the confidence that comes with 16 appearances at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, racing for an exceptionally well-prepared team and possessing a record second to none at this famous race, but he knows how easy it is for things to go wrong.

Kristensen takes nothing for granted: “Our aim is to win and we will do our utmost to achieve that. We need to have as strong a team as possible to beat the race, to fight the opposition, and of course the other cars within Audi.” There are apparently no team orders with the dominant marque of the past decade.

The track showed its unpredictability and teeth during the first encounter Wednesday. Heavy rain had already disrupted the practice session before the Krohn Racing GTE-Am(ateur) Ferrari brought it to a premature close. Spinning off after the Dunlop Bridge, the resultant damage to the tire wall was so severe that the session was red flagged and eventually ended.

The 2-hour night qualification faired little better. It was at least dry, but that did not prevent Pierre Thiriet in #46 TDS Racing Oreca-Nissan flying off at the second chicane on the Mulsanne Straight (Ligne droites des Hunaudières) and causing sufficient damage to the barriers to halt proceedings for the night.

The No. 7 Toyota at night
For the Toyota LMP 1s, hoping to improve on their 2012 challenge, yesterday did not go smoothly. The #7 Hybrid finished qualification in fourth position, but the #8 car seemed off the pace before suffering the ignominy of returning to the pits on a truck after breaking down between just before Arnage.

The GTE class was dominated by Aston Martin Vantage V8 professionals. Celebrating its centenary this year, the British marque filled three of the top four places. A lone Ferrari managing to slip into second place. Thursday night saw two more Qualification sessions that determined the final grid positions for the 2013 24 Hours of Le Mans, which marks its 90thAnniversary this year.

At a packed press conference yesterday morning, the Automobile Club de l’Ouest, organizers of this mythical race, recognized the individuals, drivers, cars and even spectators that have played a part creating an unrivalled legend that first began in 1923. Pierre Fillon, President of the ACO, introduced the eleven cars elected the most emblematic in the history of the race, the eight elite drivers inducted into an exclusive 90th Anniversary Hall of Fame for having won the race four times or more, and Philippe Peu, the thrilled spectator whose name was drawn from a hat to launch the start of the formation lap on Saturday: confirmation of the fans elevated status at this extraordinary venue.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans has proven time and again its ability to amaze. 2013, the 90thAnniversary, looks poised to follow tradition.

The 24 Hours of Le Mans is an event that endures effortlessly. Able to captivate, to impassion and to enthuse, its legacy is ever growing and its ability to inspire teams to measure physical ability and mental capacity in a trial of man and machine is undiminished. The next chapter in its illustrious 90-year history is about to open; on the 23 June at 15:00 its twists and turns will be part of the legend.

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