Audi will start the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours from the front row of the grid after Benoit Treluyer and Romain Dumas locked out the top two places in final qualifying.
A quick lap from Dumas in the early stages of the session looked like putting the #1 Audi R18 on pole position when the red flags came out for oil on the circuit, which led to the Aston Martin AMR-One of Christian Klien and the Ferrari 458 Italia of Anthony Beltoise going off.
When the session resumed after a near 20 minute stoppage, it seemed the race for pole was over before Treluyer suddenly jumped ahead of Dumas' time into pole – setting a time just 0.061secs quicker.
Simon Pagenaud led Peugeot's challenge but could only lift the #9 car up to third place while the #8 car will join it on the second row of the grid. Tom Kristensen could manage only fifth in the #3 Audi having been baulked on a late quick lap by the Robertson Racing Ford GT before his session ended in the barriers at Tetre Rouge just as the clock reached midnight.
The #7 Peugeot rounded out the top six, with the factory diesels covered by just half a second.
Team Oreca's Peugeot 908 HDI remainded best of the rest in seventh place but the leading petrol honours went to the Rebellion Racing team as its #16 Lola-Toyota was able to jump ahead of the Pescarolo Judd entered by Henri Pescarolo's popular outfit. Neel Jani set the time that was good enough to secure 'petrol pole' for the Rebellion squad, with the sister car rounding out the top ten.
Although quicker than on Wednesday, the two Aston Martin AMR-Ones start down in 22nd and 25th place on the grid and were more than 20 seconds away from pole. The #009 was the slowest LMP1 car in the field, with the #007 only quicker than its sister car and the Hope Racing Oreca Hybrid.
In LMP2, pole went to the Signatech Nissan team thanks to Frank Mailleux after the Strakka Racing team failed to improve on the time set on Wednesday before Nick Leventis went off at the first corner – the team instead focusing on its race preparations in the final four hours of running prior to the race.
Augusto Farfus secured pole position for BMW in the GTE-Pro class with a fine lao that was half a second clear of the leading Ferrari in the hands of Gianmaria Bruni. The AF Corse car split the two BMWs, with the second M3 GT missing the final two hours as a result of the accident suffered by Andy Priaulx in the closing stages of the second session.
GTE-Am pole went to AF Corse, with Marco Cioci lapping two seconds quicker than his nearest class rival.