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Mark Webber gave Porsche the perfect start to the 2015 Le Mans 24 Hours week by comfortably going beyond last year's pole position time during a weather and red flag-affected free practice session at the Circuit de la Sarthe.
After rain battered the pre-event test last week, the weather would once again provide frustration for the 56-strong field, making its presence felt on more than one occasion to break up proceedings, even if there was enough clear running for times to tumble.
Indeed, despite the disruption, the pace was still indicative of the huge advances made in the LMP1 class over the past 12 months, with Webber becoming the first man to dip below Kazuki Nakajima's pole winning lap of 2014 before bettering it again with a 3m 21.164secs lap – a full six tenths faster than last year's benchmark
It was enough to keep the #8 Audi of Loic Duval, Lucas di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis at bay by less than two tenths of a second, with all six Porsche and Audi entries filling the leading positions and split by just over two seconds.
The #18 'all-black' Porsche of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb actually ended the four hour session on top, but belatedly had its time deleted after Dumas it was deemed that his time was achieved by cutting the chicane at the end of the lap in avoidance of a slower GT Ferrari.
Nonetheless, the trio remained third quickest, ahead of the 'wild-card' #19 Porsche of Nico Hulkenberg, Nick Tandy and Earl Bamber, despite the latter beaching in the gravel for a time earlier in the session.
Meanwhile, Toyota's Le Mans week started on a low note as both the #1 and #2 cars circulated more than three seconds adrift, the leading Rebellion Racing car – now running an AER engine – proving closer to the factory cars than it was of the leaders.
Despite improving its times compared with the test day, Nissan's laps remained in line with gains made by the other LMP1 cars as its three GT-R LM NISMO's proved evenly-matched but still a sizeable 20secs off the overall pace.
Indeed, they were slower than the best of the LMP2 contingent, that being the KCMG Oreca, which bounced back from bringing out a red flag in the first two minutes of the session when it stopped with technical issues to go quickest by three tenths of a second in the hands of Richard Bradley.
The car was more than a second faster than the Laurens Vanthoor-helmed OAK Ligier, with the TDS by Thiriet Oreca in third, the Greaves Gibson in fourth – despite a spin – and the G-Drive Ligier in fifth.
Aston Martin dominated both GT classes, with Richie Stanaway's late improvement putting the #99 Vantage 1.7secs clear of the GT Pro competition headed by the #64 Corvette, while Pedro Lamy held an equally impressive 1.9secs advantage over the GT Am class in the car he will share with Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana.
As well as the intermittent rain, the session was stopped for more than 30mins after Mark Patterson crashed the Murphy Prototypes LMP2 car at the Porsche Curves. Despite significant damage to the Oreca, the American was unhurt.