Allan McNish secured a relatively easy pole position for the 1000km at Silverstone Le Mans Series race, despite experiencing a scare with a slower car during one of his qualifying attempts.
In fact, Audi dominated the front row for the inaugural round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup as the expected Peugeot challenge failed to materialize. The Scot, who shares the No. 7 Audi R15 TDI with Tom Kristensen, set the initial pace for Audi despite encountering traffic on his first two runs, the second of which was a close near collision with an LMP2 Racing Box Lola into Stowe.
The sister No. 8 Audi briefly moved ahead when Le Mans winner Timo Bernhard set a 1m44.012s, but only until McNish found some more clear air and banged in a 1m43.417s, putting the matter beyond doubt. Nicolas Minassian's factory Peugeot spun at the arena right-hander, wrecking its tires, before the Frenchman had even started to lap quickly. He recovered to go third fastest, but was more than a second slower than the pole time.
His quest was not aided by an orange rear body cowling being discarded on the run down to Stowe and littering the track in the second half of the session. The obstacle was sufficient enough to warrant local yellows, requiring a cautious approach to sector times in that region of the track. In theory, that put an end to any further improvements.
Despite the broken bodywork chicane, which one front-running driver suggested was cause enough for a red flag, Nicolas Lapierre posted a lap good enough for fourth in the Oreca Pug ahead of Andrea Belicchi's Rebellion Lola and the No. 009 Aston Martin.
Danny Watts made up for his off in morning practice to take a dominant pole position for LMP2 in the Strakka Acura. Robert Bell took the first GT2 class pole position of the year for the Dunlop-shod JMW Aston Martin. The V8 Vantage had shown promise by topping a wet/dry practice session on Friday, but delivered when it mattered in the sunny separate 20-minute qualifying session.
The AF Corse Ferraris set the early pace, with first Jaime Melo and then Toni Vilander posting laps at the top of the times, before Bell set his 2m03.340s lap just after the halfway point.
Marc Lieb put the Felbermayr Porsche in the mix to go third, pushing Melo down to fourth ahead of Richard Westbrook's ProSpeed Porsche and Allan Simonsen in the Farnbacher Ferrari.