Audi leads Le Mans test day courtesy of di Grassi

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Lucas di Grassi continued his excellent run of recent form to lead the timesheets in the no. 8 Audi R18 car on the sole test day ahead of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

All teams and drivers were afforded eight hours worth of running at the Circuit de la Sarthe ahead of the race on June 18-19, with the next practice session taking place on June 15.

After seeing Porsche lead the morning session with its pair of 919 Hybrids in the LMP1 class, Audi bounced back in the afternoon as di Grassi took the no. 8 car to the top of the timesheets.

A fastest lap of 3:21.375 was enough to give di Grassi and Audi P1 at the end of the day, finishing eight-tenths of a second clear of the Porsche no. 1 car of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley.

The sister no. 2 Porsche followed narrowly behind in third place, while the no. 7 Audi finished fourth to ensure that the two Volkswagen Group brands locked out the top positions.

Toyota’s pair of TS050 Hybrid cars slotted into P5 and P6, the quickest finishing 1.8 seconds off di Grassi’s fastest time of the day.

The no. 33 Eurasia Motorsport entry topped the timesheets in LMP2 as Pu Jun Jin, Tristan Gommendy and Nick de Bruijn set the pace, finishing seven-tenths of a second clear of the no. 36 Signatech Alpine Nissan.

Chevrolet stamped its authority on the GT classes on Sunday in Le Mans as the no. 63 Corvette set the pace in GTE Pro, while the no. 50 Larbre Competition Corvette led the way in GTE Am despite being without regular driver Paolo Ruberti.

2015 race winner Nick Tandy made his return to the Circuit de la Sarthe on Sunday in the no. 91 Porsche 911 RSR entry in GTE Pro, finishing two-tenths of a second off the pace in P2. Fellow victor Earl Bamber finished narrowly behind in the second one-off Porsche factory entry for Le Mans.

Sunday’s running was cut short by 28 minutes following a crash for the no. 49 Michael Shank Racing Ligier driven by Oswaldo Negri. The driver reported that he was OK, but the damage to the barrier meant that the session could not be restarted.