Stephane Sarrazin has secured pole position for the final round of the Le Mans Series season at Silverstone, although it was a far from straightforward session for the Frenchman as he helped lead Peugeot to a lock-out of the front row.
At the wheel of the #8 908 HDi, Sarrazin looked to have lost his chance of taking pole when he was involved in an incident with the LMP2 Lola Coupe of the Speedy Sebah Racing team, with contact at Vale forcing him to return to the pits with damage to the rear of the car.
With Sarrazin in pitlane, it looked like team-mate Nicolas Minassian was going to secure pole as he seeks to wrap up the title along with Marc Gene, but with the Peugeot team working quickly to get Sarrazin back on track, he repaid them by setting a time of 1min 30.359secs – allowing him to depose Minassian from pole by just 0.011secs.
Behind the two Peugeots, Allan McNish secured third on the grid for Audi ahead of team-mate Alex Premat as the diesels once again proved to the cars to beat on track.
Best of the rest was the Charouz Racing Systems Lola, with Stefan Mucke posting the fifth quickest time while Nicolas Lapierre completed the top six for Oreca. Adrian Valles was a solid seventh in the impressive Epsilon Euskadi Judd while the top eight was completed by the leading LMP2 entry driven by Jos Verstappen.
The Dutchman had been involved in shunt at the wheel of the van Merksteijn Motorsport Porsche RS Spyder during the Friday practice session but he was back on form in qualifying with a time of 1min 34.212secs putting him comfortably clear of Michael Vergers in the Barazi-Epsilon Zytek, who was over a second – and four places – behind on the grid. Despite the contact with Sarrazin's Peugeot, the Speedy Racing Lola was third in the hands of Xavier Pompidou. The Quifel Racing Lola and the RS Spyders of Team Essex and Horag Racing rounded out the top six in class.
In GT1, the honours went to the IPB Spartak Racing team as Peter Kox put the lone Lamborghini Murciealago on the grid onto pole position for the first time. He ended up half a second clear of Tomas Enge in the Team Modena Aston Martin, with class champion-elect Guillaume Moreau third and Darren Turner fourth ahead of his first outing with the Strakka Racing team.
The GT2 pole went to Rob Bell as Virgo Motorsport looks to successfully defend the class title it secured last season. Partnered this weekend by Jaime Melo, Bell posted a best time of 1min 48.960secs which saw him nearly a second quicker than the IMSA Performance Porsche of Richard Lietz, with Dirk Werner third for the Farnbacher Racing squad.
The new Aston Martin Vantage also made its first appearance in an LMS qualifying session, but will start from the back of the field due to braking issues.