Sebastien Bourdais gave Peugeot pole position for the Spa 1000km with a stunning lap of 1m57.884s to fend of a seemingly growing threat from Audi this weekend.
The Frenchman put the No. 3 908 HDi FAP to the top of the times halfway through the 20-minute session and in doing so put down a slightly unexpected challenge from the No. 9 Audi of Timo Bernhard. The German fired in two aggressive fliers at the beginning of the session as he made an R15 TDI Plus break the two-minute barrier for the first time this weekend.
His second effort – a 1m58.519s – was 0.7sec off the pole and as close as any Audi has got to the ultimate pace all weekend.
Stephane Sarrazin was third quickest in the No. 2 car. The Frenchman, who set the pace in final free practice this morning, gave it his best in the last couple of minutes but simply could not find a clear lap.
Nicolas Lappiere maintained the threat of the privateer ORECA Peugeot in fourth position ahead of the No. 8 Audi driven by Andre Lotterer. The No. 7 Audi, perhaps the German machine most expected to cause French headaches, did not fare so well.
Tom Kristensen, allotted qualifying duties, came into contact with the LMP2 pole-winning car of Danny Watts at La Source and this almost certainly played a factor in the Dane's distant sixth position.
Alexander Wurz, who had not been happy with oversteer in the morning session, was seventh in the third factory Peugeot. Franck Mailleux put the Signature Aston Martin in eighth ahead of Nicolas Prost's Rebellion Lola and the LMP 2 Strakka car. Perhaps it was the incident with Kristensen that gave Watts an angry edge, but he ended the session more than two seconds faster than his nearest LMP2 rival – Tommy Erdos's RML Lola. Mathieu LaHaye was third fastest in class in the Oak Racing Pescarolo.
The GT session was fragmented by a red flag when the Matech Ford went off heavily at Signes with Rachel Frey at the wheel. The stoppage to recover the car only recently repaired from Natacha Gaschnang's shunt in the FIA GT opener at Abu Dhabi, meant that several drivers' laps were disrupted.
In the it was another Ford GT, that of Bas Leinders, that eventually took the pole in GT1. Matech's other car was second fastest in class ahead of Julian Jousse's Luc Alphand Corvette.
AF Corse Ferrari's Jaime Melo took the pole for GT2 by four hundredths from Marc Lieb in the Felbermayr Porsche. CRS Racing's Andrew Kirkaldy was third fastest.