It was Nicolas Lapierre that set the benchmark time aboard the #36 Alpine A480-Gibson grandfathered LMP1 car, the Frenchman setting a 1m47.407s to take the French marque’s first pole since last year’s Portimao round.
“It was a clean lap, no traffic, the car was fantastic tonight,” said Lapierre. “We did a good adjustment on the setup and the car was really nice to drive.”
Lapierre’s time was 1.3 seconds faster than compatriot Olivier Pla’s best effort of 1m48.741s aboard the #708 Glickenhaus 007 LMH in second.
Third-quickest was best of the LMP2 runners, with Nicklas Nielsen posting a sensational time of 1m49.014s aboard the Pro/Am-entered AF Corse Oreca 07-Gibson to grab class pole and third overall.
That was enough to shade the quicker of the two Toyota GR010 Hybrids, the #8 car of Brendon Hartley, by a little under two tenths.
#8 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid: Sébastien Buemi, Brendon Hartley, Ryo Hirakawa
Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images
The sister #7 Toyota languished down in seventh overall behind two more LMP2 runners, the two United Autosports cars.
Jose Maria Lopez’s best effort aboard the #7 was a 1m49.581s, putting him behind both the #22 United car of Filipe Albuquerque and the #23 machine of Paul di Resta.
Fourth in LMP2 and eighth overall was the best of the WRT machines driven by Rene Rast, followed by the sister Realteam by WRT car of Ferdinand Habsburg and Robert Kubica in the Prema Oreca.
Dane Cameron set the ninth-fastest time in class aboard the Penske Oreca to put the American squad 13th on the grid for its WEC debut.
The 10-minute Hypercar/LMP2 session came to an early end following a shunt for Fabio Scherer, who is standing in for a COVID-positive Alex Brundle at the Inter Europol Competition LMP2 squad.
GTE: Porsche locks out front row
In the GTE Pro class, Porsche’s pair of factory 911 RSR-19s swept the top two positions, with the #92 car of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre securing pole.
Christensen left it until the very end of the 10-minute GTE session to post his best time of 1m57.233s to usurp his opposite number in the #91 Porsche, Gianmaria Bruni, by 0.150s.
Best of the rest was the solo Corvette C8.R driven by Nick Tandy, 0.463s off the pace.
The AF Corse-run works Ferrari 488 GTE Evos propped up the class order, with both James Calado (#51) and team newcomer Antonio Fuoco (#52) setting times slower than the GTE Am pole-sitting TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage.
Ben Keating set a best time of 1m59.204s to grab Am pole, well over a second ahead of Paul Dalla Lana in the NorthWest AMR car. Third-fastest was Brendan Iribe in the #56 Project 1 Porsche.
The sister #46 Project 1 car caused a brief red flag period courtesy of an off for Nicolas Leutwiler.
Hypercar/LMP2 qualifying times:
GTE qualifying times:
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