ORECA driver Nicolas Lapierre claimed a clear pole position for the AUTOSPORT 1000km at Silverstone.
Lapierre improved on his free practice best by a second and a half on the way to a 1m32.798s benchmark, which put his AIM-engined ORECA 01 on pole by nearly a second. That compared with second-placed Stefan Mucke's 1m33.714s lap in the championship-leading #007 Lola-Aston Martin.
"We've had a big update to the rear aero, which was very last minute," said Lapierre as he celebrated his second Le Mans Series pole in a row, having also taken the top spot for the Algarve round before his team skipped the Nurburgring race. "We spent free practice balancing the car and it was getting better and better through the sessions."
Any disappointment that the Aston crew felt at missing out on pole will be tempered by the fact that their title rivals at Pescarolo will start at the back. Jean-Christophe Boullion went off at Becketts before he could set a competitive time.
Darren Turner ended up third fastest in the second AMR Lola-Aston LMP1 coupe with a time nine tenths slower than team-mate Mucke. Andrea Belicchi was less than half a tenth behind in fourth place aboard the Speedy/Sebah Lola-Aston.
Greg Mansell, who is sharing the Team LNT Ginetta-Zytek with father Nigel and Lawrence Tomlinson, ended up fifth in the times. He qualified just ahead of fellow Briton Andy Meyrick in the best of the Kolles Audis. The sister car will be at the tail of the field after Christijan Albers crashed. The Strakka Ginetta Zytek, which failed to start for the session, joins the Kolles car and the Pescarolo at the back.
Olivier Pla was more than a second faster than his nearest rival in LMP2. His ASM Team Ginetta-Zytek claimed the class pole with a 1m36.092s, which compared with second fastest Jonny Kane's 1m37.128s best in the Speedy/Sebah Lola-Judd.
Laurent Groppi bagged a second consecutive class pole after a battle involving all three cars on the GT1 entry. The Larbre Saleen edged out Peter Kox in the Gigawave Aston Martin by just 0.082s, while the Aston was only 0.052s ahead of Yann Clairay in the Alphand Corvette.
Pole position gave Richard Lietz one of the two points he and Felbermayr-Proton Porsche team-mate Marc Lieb need to secure the GT2 crown. The Austrian driver ended up two tenths ahead of Gianmaria Bruni in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari.