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Peugeot wraps up home pole at Le Mans

Peugeot secures a lock-out of the front two rows of the grid for the Le Mans 24 Hours
Peugeot will start the Le Mans 24 Hours from the front of the grid after Sebastien Bourdais' quickest time from Wednesday evening remained unbeaten on the second day of qualifying.

Despite the best efforts of rivals Audi in the final two-hour session, the four Peugeots remained at the top of the times although none of the four cars – the three factories 908 HDIs and the ORECA-entered machine – were able to improve on the times set on Wednesday.

That wasn't for a lack of trying on Peugeot's part as its cars set a series of fast sector times in the closing stages of final qualifying, but by then, Audi had turned its focus to preparing for the race and the positions at the head of the field were set.

The gap between the Peugeots and the Audis behind did close during the session with Mike Rockenfeller taking the #9 car to little more than two seconds from pole and Allan McNish also improving the best time for the #7 to take sixth place and demote the #8 car down to sixth.

The only other change inside the top ten on Thursday saw the ORECA-AIM take tenth place from the Signature Plus Lola-Aston Martin, while Thursday's running saw Autocon battle back from issues on Wednesday to climb up the order and secure a starting slot just outside the top 20 overall.

The fight for LMP2 honours came down to a fight between the two HPD teams, with Strakka Racing emerging on top after the final session. David Brabham had moved Highcroft into class pole during the first session on Thursday but Danny Watts responded for the British team with a fine lap of 3min 33.079secs to take 15th overall on the grid – more than a second clear of the ALMS title winners. Completing a 1-2-3 for HPD-powered machinery, RML secured third place in class thanks to Tommy Erdos' best lap of the night.

Young Driver AMR retained top spot in GT1 with its time from Wednesday night but it turned out to be a closely run thing as Bas Leinders and Romain Grosjean put their Ford GTs within half a second of the class pole.

That wouldn't prove to the closest battle in the field however, with the top four cars split by just six-tenths of a second. Risi Competizione retained pole with Gianmaria Bruni's Wednesday time but Olivier Beretta and Antonio Garcia ran him close in the two factory Corvettes to secure second and third in class. Toni Vilander was just behind for AF Corse as the final GT2 driver to lap below the four minute marker.

A total of 55 cars will now take the start of the race on Saturday, with the second AF Corse car having been withdrawn from the event.

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