Alpine score first pole of the season, as Nielsen and Keating shine in LMP2 and GTE classes
Lapierre scored Alpine's first Hypercar pole, as Porsche score GTE PRO 1-2
Nico Lapierre set a blistering pace to top the timesheets overall, the Frenchman's 1:47.407 lap of the 3.741 miles (6.019 km) circuit was out of reach for the rest of the Hypercar field.
Only Pla in the #708 Glickenhaus could get within 1.5s of the pole time, with both Toyotas struggling to match the pace following adaptations to their hybrid deployment ahead of the season-opener. The #8 and #7 Toyotas will line up amongst the fastest LMP2 qualifiers, in fourth and seventh place overall respectively. Nicklas Nielsen was one of the stars of the evening as the #83 AF Corse scored pole in on debut in the LMP2 class. The Danish driver puts the chrome ORECA 07 on the second row of the overall grid, the 1:49.014 lap enough for top spot in class, and faster than both Toyota Hypercars.
The two United Autosports cars rounded out the top three with #22 ahead of #23, as the session was cut short due to a big shunt for Fabio Scherer in the #34 Inter Europol Competition ORECA at Turn 1.
PORSCHE CONTINUE POLE STREAK, KEATING UNTOUCHABLE
The #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 will start tomorrow’s race on GTE PRO pole after Michael Christensen ensures the German marque's 11-race pole streak continues with a time of 1:57.233, ahead of teammate Gimmi Bruni in the #91 car.
Corvette's #64 car was the closest challenger to the front row, Nick Tandy lapping within half a second of the pole time in the first qualifying session of GM's maiden full WEC season.
TF Sport’s #33 Aston Martin scored an incredible pole thanks to Ben Keating, who’s 1:59.204 was the fourth fastest time of all the GTE machinery.
The American driver was faster than both PRO AF Corse Ferraris, and a massive 1.366s faster than Paul Dalla Lana in the #98 NorthWest AMR car – who is second in class.
Team Project 1 rounded out the top three in the AM category, the #56 Porsche lapped a 2:00.649 with Brendan Iribe in for qualifying duties.