Simon Pagenaud earned Peugeot pole position for the AUTOSPORT 6 Hours of Silverstone Le Mans Series in tricky qualifying conditions.
Spots of rain threatened at the start of the session, prompting the LMP field to attack from the outset. Pagenaud and Sarrazin traded times in the No. 7 and No. 8 Peugeots, before the Frenchman pulled clear with a 1m43.943s effort. Allan McNish was the first to reply in the No. 2 Audi R18, moving to within nine tenths of Pagenaud and then setting the overall fastest sector two times, only for traffic to dent his second flyer.
Rain then fell and effectively looked like bringing the session to a premature close, with Peugeot calling both drivers in and hesitantly beginning celebrations. McNish opted to stay out for one more lap, and as the rain began to ease looked well poised. The session had been declared wet meaning tire choices were free, and with Peugeot's charges halted Audi strapped fresh rubber to McNish's car and weighed up a final push. The decision was taken away from them as the time ticked down, however, although several cars did go out and made substantial gains.
Nicolas Prost in the No. 12 Rebellion was one of the beneficiaries, rising to fifth overall behind the No. 8 Peugeot and No. 1 Audi. Danny Watts also made gains to go fastest in LMP2 in the No. 42 Strakka HPD, while Tom Kimber-Smith also improved late on to take second for the No. 41 Greaves Motorsport squad.
Across in the GTE Pro class, which had qualified earlier and therefore avoided the drama of the rain, BMW perfectly executed a perfect session as they locked out the front row of the grid and left their rivals no time or chance to respond. Neither car had turned a wheel with seven minutes of the session remaining, but one lap each in the final minutes proved all that was needed.
Augusto Farfus led the charge in the No. 56 M3, storming to a 2m01.768s – at the time putting him almost a second clear of an otherwise extremely close field. Andy Priaulx then took his turn, falling 0.3sec short but still comfortably securing second. He was on a faster second lap when he hit traffic, and opted to return to the pits.
Before BMW's emphatic late display, the top six cars had been separated by just 0.227s. Toni Vilander put the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 top ahead of Marc Lieb in the No. 77 Felbermayr Porsche 911, but the pair will now start third and fourth in the Pro class.
As has been the case all weekend, the battle for the GTE Am class was fought between the Porsches. Nicolas Armindo claimed the top spot as the flag fell, putting his No. 67 IMSA 911 two tenths clear of the No. 63 Proton 911 qualified by America's Patrick Long.
Pos Cl Drivers Team/Car Time
1. LMP1 Bourdais/Pagenaud Peugeot 1m43.924s
2. LMP1 Kristensen/McNish Audi 1m44.856s
3. LMP1 Montagny/Sarrazin Peugeot 1m45.102s
4. LMP1 Bernhard/Fassler Audi 1m46.621s
5. LMP1 Prost/Jani Rebellion Lola-Toyota 1m47.684s
6. LMP1 Lahaye/Moreau/Ragues Oak Pescarolo-Judd 1m47.785s
7. LMP1 Nicolet/Premat/Pla Oak Pescarolo-Judd 1m47.890s
8. LMP1 Belicchi/Boullion Rebellion Lola-Toyota 1m48.287s
9. LMP1 Collard/Tinseau/Jousse Pescarolo-Judd 1m48.624s
10. LMP2 Leventis/Watts/Kane Strakka HPD 1m49.619s
11. LMP2 Ojjeh/Kimber-Smith/Lombard Greaves Zytek-Nissan 1m50.922s
12. LMP1 Fernandez/Primat/Klien AMR Lola-Aston 1m52.151s
13. LMP2 Beche/Thiriet/Firth TDS ORECA-Nissan 1m52.224s
14. LMP2 Frey/Meichtry/Rostan Race Performance ORECA-Judd 1m52.457s
15. LMP2 Mailleux/Ordonez/Vernay Signatech ORECA-Nissan 1m53.233s
16. LMP2 Kraihamer/Ebbesvik Boutsen ORECA-Nissan 1m53.247s
17. LMP2 Companc/Russo/Kaffer Pecom Lola-Judd 1m53.791s
18. LMP2 Newton/Erdos/Collins RML HPD 1m55.236s
19. LMP2 Barlesi/da Rocha/Lafargue Oak Pescarolo-Judd 1m57.817s
20. FLM Hartshorne/Keating/Keen Neil Garner FLM 1m58.143s
21. FLM Marcelli/Ducote/Moro JMB FLM 1m59.053s
22. FLM Mitchell/Grogor/Kronfli Genoa FLM 1m59.907s
23. FLM Schultis/Simon/Schell Pegasus FLM 2m00.061s
24. GTE-P Farfus/Muller BMW 2m01.768s
25. GTE-P Priaulx/Alzen BMW 2m02.096s
26. GTE-P Melo/Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 2m02.744s
27. GTE-P Lieb/Lietz Felbermayr Porsche 2m02.787s
28. GTE-P Ortelli/Makowiecki Luxury Ferrari 2m02.934s
29. GTE-P Pilet/Henzler IMSA Porsche 2m02.937s
30. GTE-P Goossens/Holzer Prospeed Porsche 2m02.950s
31. GTE-P Fisichella/Bruni AF Corse Ferrari 2m02.971s
32. GTE-P Bell/Walker JMW Ferrari 2m03.118s
33. GTE-P Broniszewski/Peter Kessel Ferrari 2m03.295s
34. GTE-P Hancock/Dolan/Buncombe Jota Aston Martin 2m03.433s
35. GTE-P Jakubowski/Beltoise/Marroc Luxury Ferrari 2m03.659s
36. GTE-P Farnbacher/Simonsen Farnbacher Ferrari 2m03.864s
37. GTE-A Narac/Armindo IMSA Porsche 2m04.028s
38. GTE-A Roda/Long Proton Porsche 2m04.172s
39. GTE-A Ehret/Lynn/Wills CRS Ferrari 2m04.427s
40. GTE-A Krohn/Jonsson/Rugulo Krohn Ferrari 2m04.987s
41. GTE-A Perazzini/Cioci/Lemeret AF Corse Ferrari 2m05.103s
42. GTE-P Rossiter/Mowlem/Wendlinger Jetalliance Lotus 2m05.143s
43. GTE-A Felbermayr/Ried Felbermayr Porsche 2m06.392s
44. GTE-A Giroix/Goethe/Wainwright Gulf Aston Martin 2m06.976s
45. GTE-P Lichtner-Hoyer/Rich/Hansson Jetalliance Lotus 2m07.831s
46. GTE-A Hummel/Christodoulou/Quaife CRS Ferrari 2m13.219s
47. LMP1 Cortes/Geri/Picini MIK Zytek -
48. LMP2 Gates/Hughes/Garofall RLR MG Lola-Judd -
49. GTE-A Bornhauser/Canal/Gardel Larbre Corvette -