Le Mans 2002

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14th June 2002

2nd Qualifying Practice Session & Final Grid Positions

EX257 with Drivers

Car no 26 Anthony Reid, Warren Hughes, Jonny Kane

With the engine repair complete, Anthony Reid was first to take to the track in car 26, which completed ‘day’ qualifying for the team. The night-time session commenced with Jonny Kane at the helm with drivers Hughes and Reid to follow. The team was 12th overall at the final grid position, 2nd in the LMP675 class, with a time of 3:36.694.

Anthony Reid: "I’m very pleased with the adjustments the team have made to the car this evening and were looking in strong shape for the race."

Jonny Kane: "We’ve qualified which was top priority. As racing drivers you always want to push yourself for a better lap time, but it’s a long race and we’re starting from a reasonable position on the grid. "

Warren Hughes: "The priority was to get the car qualified which we did comfortably and safely. The car has good balance and I have the confidence to push hard in the race."

Car no 27 Mark Blundell, Julian Bailey, Kevin McGarrity

The second qualifying session was looking good for car 27 when a rare engine problem forced the car to retire. A time of 3:33.254 placed the car 6th overall on the grid, qualifying 1st in class. Despite the disappointing evening the trio of Blundell, Bailey and McGarrity remain high-spirited about the MG Lola EX257’s ability.

Mark Blundell: "I’m frustrated as we weren’t able to complete another qualifying run due to technical problems and even more frustrating as the first sector was looking very good and I’m sure there’s more time to come from the car. We’ve done a credible job as we’ve finished in the top six and I think MG have made an impressive performance."

Commenting on the final qualifying session and grid position:

Doug Bebb, CMS: "With car 26 it was our plan to qualify with all the drivers and we’re in the race. With car 27 we were 2nd fastest split time on the first section when the car stopped with an engine problem on the circuit. We’ve achieved our objectives with both cars tonight, that we set at the start of the session "

Mike Lancaster, managing director, AER (Advanced Engine Research): "Since last year we’ve had a good reliability record with this engine and its unfortunate that this is the first ‘bottom end’ failures we’ve had. We were trying to get some good laps out of the car (27) and were just unlucky on the day. We’re still very optimistic about the race."

Rob Oldaker, managing director, MG Sport & Racing: "Disappointing not to have completed the session with both cars but to secure 6th and 12th on the grid and to take top qualifying honours in the LMP675 class is not to be ignored. All the team have worked incredibly hard to be where we are tonight and we look forward to the race with optimism and excitement."

Issued by MG Rover Group Communications

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