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Bourdais denies celebrating Le Mans pole prematurely

Sebastien Bourdais has explained he didn't celebrate a Le Mans 24 Hours pole position prematurely, despite scenes of joy in his camp before a red-flagged Hyperpole was restarted.

#3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Sebastien Bourdais

Thursday's decisive qualifying session, gathering the top eight cars from each category, was interrupted with just under eight minutes remaining on the clock, due to Dries Vanthoor crashing out at the wheel of the #15 BMW M Hybrid V8 at Indianapolis corner.

At that time, Sebastien Bourdais had provisionally set the fastest time with the #3 Cadillac V-Series.R, a 3m24.816s.

During the red flag, seconds before the session was restarted, members of the Chip Ganassi-run factory team – which usually operates the car in the IMSA Sportscar Championship – were seen celebrating around their driver, whose father Patrick looked particularly elated.

Patrick Bourdais with Cadillac Racing team members

Patrick Bourdais with Cadillac Racing team members

Photo by: Nikolaz Godet

However, as it turned out, not only the session was restarted, but Bourdais's reference was beaten by Alex Lynn in the sister #2 Cadillac – a full-season World Endurance Championship entrant – as well as Kevin Estre. The #6 factory Penske Porsche's driver took pole position for the WEC's most prestigious race with a 3m24.634s marker.

When Motorsport.com asked Bourdais if he actually was celebrating, the Le Mans native replied: "No. If anything, I was telling everyone: 'There are seven minutes and 40 seconds left, I don't know why you're here asking me for pictures.'

"That's quite funny, because when we weren't on pole, nobody was there anymore. It was funny, but it's quite typical from the press."

Bourdais explained that he would have liked to go back out on track for a final attempt, but a combination of extending his initial run and the red flag interrupting his second outing prevented him from doing so.

#3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Sebastien Bourdais

#3 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Sebastien Bourdais

Photo by: Nikolaz Godet

"We had planned enough fuel to do two and two [laps]," he added. "Because the in-lap was faster during the first run, we kept pushing as there was a risk of rain and there were a few drops already, so you didn't really know what was going to happen. That third lap of the first run was three or four tenths faster, so we kept going until the end.

"Unfortunately, as you're not allowed to refuel during Hyperpole, this left us with just one lap for the second attempt, but the red flag happened…

"I don't think I could have got a better time in one lap on the second run, but we were going to try anyway, and the red flag was completely detrimental to us in that regard. We couldn't have done another out-lap, a flying lap and hoped to be fine. That's how it was."

Bourdais and team-mates Scott Dixon and Renger van der Zande will start the race from second position on Saturday, with the #2 Cadillac taking a five-place penalty due to Earl Bamber's crash with the #31 BMW LMGT3 car at the previous Spa-Francorchamps WEC round.

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