Belgian Jacky Ickx, in a Gulf-ford, made the best time in the first 10-hour practice session on Wednesday (11 June) for this weekend's Le Mans 24-hour sportscar race.
GTV Cars racing down straight (2 shots)
SV PAN FROM Car no. 11, a Ford driven by Bell & Ickx TO car no. 10 driven by Jaussaud & Schuppan
SV Car no. 38 driver Clarkson being pushed into pit
SV PAN Car no. 67, a Porsche TO all-woman driving team Verney Fontaine & Tarnaud (2 shots)
SV Japanese car Sigma (no. 18) driven by Fushida & Takahashi
SV Japanese mechanics
SV Car no. 18 leaving pit
TV Car no. 26 Alfa Romeo driven by Larrousse Beaumont & Lombardi (2 shots)
CU Driver Lombardi to Beaumont
SV & CU Most expensive car of the show car no. 93 BMW driven by Poulain, & Posey, & Guichet (2 shots)
SV Car no. 26 leaving pitch
SV Car no. 13 leaving the pitch
GTV Car no. 78 racing down straight followed by two others (2 shots)
TV Car no. 26 down straight
Initials BJB/0035 BJB/0055
SPORT: MOTOR RACING
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Background: Belgian Jacky Ickx, in a Gulf-ford, made the best time in the first 10-hour practice session on Wednesday (11 June) for this weekend's Le Mans 24-hour sportscar race.
Ickx covered the 13.640 kilometre (8.4 mile) Le Mans circuit in three minutes 49.9 seconds for an average speed of 213.6 kph.
According to the last official timing available, this was a full seven seconds faster than West German Reinhold Joest in a Porsche 908/3. But according to unofficial timing, Frenchman Jean-Pierre Jaussaud had raced the second Gulf-Ford into second place with a time 3 minutes 56 point one seconds.
The organisers have introduced what are being described as extremely complicated qualifying procedures. No less than four different factors have been taken into account during the practice runs. These include a fuel consumption test under which the cars have to cover 20 laps of the circuit without refuelling. At the end of the first session, most of the cars had not passed this test.
The qualifying mark for cars was based on laps by Ickx, Reinhold Joest, and the Italian girl Lella Lombardi who each made the best laps for their make of car. The average was around 144 kph. Only 55 of the 72 cars are to take part in the final practice on Friday (June 13).