Alan McNish has set the fastest time at the Le Mans test day, but Audi will leave the circuit with plenty to think about after several niggling mechanical problems and a crash to McNish late in the day.
With a fastest lap of of 3m 25.927s, the Scotsman was half a second quicker than team-mate Andre Lotterer in the second Audi R18 e-tron quattro, which recorded a 3m26.468s.
With the Hybrids on top in the intra team fight for the fastest lap it was Loic Duval who was the fastest non hybrid car with a 3m26.561.
Again the main talking point in the second session was the speed of the new Toyota TS030 Petrol Hybrid. The car, driven by Alexander Wurz split the Audi R10 Ultras with a 3m27.204 in what was a most impressive debut.
“Generally this was a good test day for us.” said Wurz. “It is positive that we went through the program we planned and even did some more laps than expected. …this is just the first step. Now we have our homework to do to get ready for the TS030 HYBRID’s first race… The Le Mans story for 2012 has begun and so far so good.”
In the unofficial race for the best privateer team, it was another Japanese manufacturer to the fore with Danny Watts’ Honda HPD a full second faster than the Toyota powered Rebellion Lola of Andrea Belicchi.
The top ten was filled out by the second Rebellion car of Nicolas Prost, Neil Jani and Nick Heidfeld and the Seiji Ara/Nic Minassian Pescarolo Dome-Judd.
The keenly contested LMP2 class saw the OAK Racing entry of Olivier Pla set the quickest time with a 3m41.291 lap time.
Christophe Bouchut was next in the Level 5 Motorsports HPD ARX-03b, with a 3:41.598 lap, just 0.307 seconds slower.
Third in LMP2 went to the Team Jota entry of Dolan/Hancock/Kurosawa in their Nissan-powered Zytek Z11SN.
As expected things were close in the GTE classes and it was Ferrari on top.
Fred Makowiecki in the Luxury Ferrari 458 Italia was consistently quickest with a fastest lap of 3m58.869. He just edged out Oliver Gavin in the factory Corvette with a 3m58.971.
In the GTE-Am class, Australia’s second favourite Dane, Allan Simonsen was fastest in the factory-entered Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Simonsen’s time of 3m59.938 put him well ahead of the Larbre Corvette and was good enough to be fourth fastest of all the GTE cars.
The radical Nissan DeltaWing surprised many with it’s pace finishing the day around mid-field with times similar to that of the slower LMP2 cars.
The test day was marred by a big crash that sent OAK Racing driver Guillaume Moreau to hospital.
Moreau underwent emergency surgery after sustaining serious spinal injuries in an accident during Sunday’s morning session.
An OAK team statement said: “Following a severe accident at the exit of the karting track corner towards the end of Sunday morning’s session, Guillaume Moreau has suffered a serious but partial injury to his spinal cord’s 12th vertebra.
“Guillaume has since undergone an emergency operation performed by Professor Olivier Lucas at the University Hospital of Angers’ Neurosurgery Department. It was crucial to quickly reduce pressure around the spinal cord following the fracture.
“Although the operation went well, it will be several months before his level of recovery can be fully assessed.
“The thoughts of the entire team are with Guillaume and his family at this difficult time.”
Moreau had been due to share OAK’s #15 LMP1 Pescarolo-Judd with Bertrand Baguette and Dominik Kraihamer at the 24 Hours.
Full coverage of the test day can now be downloaded from the Radio Le Mans website