On Wednesday and Thursday, there were qualifying sessions, according to the results of which positions on the starting grid are determined. The fastest time set by a crew during three qualifying rounds considers the best time of a squad.
The SMP car #17 of Stéphane Sarrazin, Egor Orudzhev and Sergey Sirotkin set a fastest overall time of 3:16.159, which allowed the crew to take third position on the starting grid and finish best of the Non-Hybrid cars. The sister car #11 of Vitaly Petrov, Mikhail Aleshin and Stoffel Vandoorne was 5th fastest with a time of 3:16.665.
“The qualifying sessions were excellent”, SMP Racing driver Egor Orudzhev said. “I was driving on new tires in two sessions and yesterday I managed to beat one of Toyotas, taking second place. But of course, today, times have been improved, because the track has become better and the weather was better. In the most important quali tonight, when all the conditions allowed us to drive the best time for all three arrivals, we drove to the track on the right time, there was almost no traffic during my fast lap and I could improve the time.
Last year our best time was 3: 19.483 and this year we have 3:16.165. The difference is more than 3 seconds, which indicates a great progress of the SMP Racing team over the past year.”
The qualifying went well for us, the fifth and third places indicate that the car is competitive“, SMP Racing driver Stoffel Vandoorne added. I felt that we could be on a second row at the start, but faced traffic, which prevented my crew from achieving the goal. The qualifying session is, of course, important, but not in the 24 Hours of Le Mans race, it’s more significant to feel that the car allows us to fight for high positions in a race, which is going to be long. As tests and qualifying have shown, we can do it.”
The 24 Hours of Le Mans race will get underway on Saturday, June 15th, at 15h00.
Source. SMP Racing