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Priaulx 'off' puts brakes on BMW qualifying charge

An accident for Andy Priaulx at the Ford Chicane during the second qualifying session has hampered BMW's preparations for this weekend's 2011 edition of the Le Mans 24 Hours
An accident for Andy Priaulx in the #56 BMW M3 during the second qualifying session for this weekend's Le Mans 24 Hours means the erstwhile GTE-Pro class pace-setter is unlikely to make it out for the final night-time run.

Priaulx lost it after hitting gravel in the first part of the Ford Chicane with just twelve minutes of Q2 remaining, badly damaging the front end of the M3. Happily, the multiple World Touring Car Champion emerged unscathed – if extremely frustrated – but the same could not be said for the car. Dirk Müller – who is sharing the Bee-Emm with the Guernseyman and Joey Hand – told Crash.net that a substantial repair job looks to be in prospect.

“There was a lot of gravel in the corner, and Andy just lost it there,” the German explained. “That was a bit unfortunate, but it wasn't his fault. He went in and straight into the barrier, but luckily it was the soft part of the car that absorbed a lot of energy, which is good. Andy is alright, and I'm very glad about that.

“Until then, everything was going really, really well. I've seen them do so many things to touring cars before – they can fix so many things – so I'm crossing my fingers, but I'm pretty sure we will be ready for Saturday. I'm not positive we'll do the night session, that's for sure, but let's give the boys some time to investigate, and they will do their best.

“We just got beaten at the end [of Q2] by [Gianmaria] Bruni, so we are now P2 but it's still all looking good. There's some rain in the air, so maybe we will be lucky to catch that and the position will stay good. Definitely nobody is happy that we are losing the last section, but the number one priority is that Andy is alright.”

The Priaulx/Müller/Hand car has now slipped to third in the GTE-Pro standings.
by Russell Atkins

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