Le Mans »

Brabham enjoys valuable time at the wheel

David Brabham is fully focused and ready to tackle his 16th career Le Mans 24 Hours race after valuable running time in the Peugeot 908 HDi saw the British-born Australian deliver solid qualifying and practice sessions in the run up to Saturday's race.

The 43-year-old double Le Mans GT1 class winner - and current LMP1 ALMS championship leader - ran as high as second overall in the final half hour of the first qualifying period on Thursday evening.

Brabham set a fastest time of 3min 27.026secs around the 8.4 mile La Sarthe circuit, just 2.174 seconds off the leading #8 Peugeot, before finishing his stint in third and handing over to team-mate Marc Gene.

Equally as important as setting promising qualifying times was the opportunity for Brabham to glean valuable race set-up data and particularly to try out different tyre strategies.

“Qualifying is essentially practice at Le Mans and our main focus today was getting a good race set-up and tyre evaluation,” he said. “We achieved everything we wanted to in today's sessions. The other two cars went a little more for qualifying pace but we are very happy that we now have a good race car. We'll be working on a couple of things tomorrow for Saturday's warm up and we'll see what those changes give us in terms of set-up.

“Today was the longest time I've had in the car here so far, so that was really valuable. The track was pretty greasy and dirty in my first stint but as the evening wore on and the track cleaned up, the times just got better and better. I haven't driven a prototype around here for a few years so it took some time to get used to it but I quickly got into a rhythm.

“It's great to see Peugeot on pole and it's clear that there isn't much between us and the Audis, so it's going to be a cracking race. Le Mans really is the pinnacle of my year and it's getting close now. I'm racing with a great team, in a great car, driving with great team mates and working with a fantastic group of people, so I'm really looking forward to the race.”

Gene ultimately qualified the #9 Team Peugeot Total car in fifth position while the sister Peugeots took pole position and third on the grid.

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