Having seen a potential 1-2-3-4 result thwarted by Jan Lammers' Racing for Holland Dome in the opening two-hour session at Le Mans, Audi duly completed its rout by sweeping the top four times in Wednesday night practice.

With temperatures cooling after a hot day at La Sarthe, the leading teams all used the opening part of the final two-hour session to bolt on their best qualifying set-ups and go for times. Session one pace-setter Johnny Herbert was among the earliest out of the pits, but was unable to improve, and that allowed Audi UK Team Veloqx team-mate Allan McNish to move the #8 car to the top of the pile with a lap of 3min 34.683secs that would not be bettered all night.

Not quite taking advantage of the Herbert/Davies/Smith crew's inability to better their first session benchmark, five-time winner Tom Kristensen nevertheless maintained a top three spot for the Team Goh Audi, paring the Japanese-run car's time to just half a second off the pace. The Champion R8 also gained time in the hands of Marco Werner, moving past Lammers' Dome into fourth spot to complete the impression of Audi dominance.

Best of the rest on this occasion, and now holding a provisional spot on the inside of row three, is the lead Pescarolo entry, which climbed from 45th to fifth in the space of a few laps, the pale blue car now working better than it had in the earlier session. Champ Car star S?bastien Bourdais led the chase of the Audis, working down to a best time of 3min 36.801secs.

The Rollcentre Racing Dallara-Judd also ran quicker than before, moving up behind the quickest of the black-and-white RfH Dome-Judds, but there was no improvement for either the Kondo Dome or the works Zytek, which both continued to play with set-up in an attempt to find more speed. The second Pescarolo car remained ahead of both, despite its marginal improvement only being good enough for eighth overall.

The French-crewed factory Courage C65 continued to dominate the 'junior' prototype category, moving ahead of the clutch-stricken #16 RfH car to stay eleventh, now eleven seconds clear of the Epsilon example that has so far offered the best opposition in LMP2.

Epsilon's Gunnar Jeannette reported a problem with the car's gearshift and was also suffering with understeer. The Belmondo Courage, meanhile, suffered fuel pressure problems all night, and languished at the tail of the field.

Both of the Corvettes upped their pace in GTS and ended the opening day ahead of the challenging Ferraris. The #64 Oliver Gavin/Olivier Beretta/Jan Magnussen car continues to head the category after finding two seconds between sessions, while the Ron Fellows-led #63 crew uncovered another three seconds of pace to close to within a couple of places.

The Larbre Competition Ferrari 550 Maranello found even more than either of the yellow cars - around four seconds - to move up the order, but could not dislodge the first of the Prodrive Ferraris from the role of chief challenger. Even a brush with the wall at Indianapolis could not prevent Tomas Enge from pressing on in his search for another class pole, but his best effort of 3min 56.493secs was good enough only for a provisional third.

Dutchman Mike Hezemans took the quicker of the two Barron-Connor Ferrari 575s to fifth in GTS, just over a second shy of the second Prodrive car, while the sister car pulled off with its exhaust alight.

The GT class couldn't quite become the preserve of Porsche, as the Orbit/BAM entry of Marc Lieb edged closer to the JMB Ferrari without ever quite being able to prise away second spot behind pacesetter Jorg Bergmeister's White Lightning 911 GT3. All three of the class frontrunners improved during the second session.

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