Continuing on from their blistering pace in the test day and this afternoon's Free Practice session, Toyota had the clear beating of Porsche in the first Qualifying session for Saturday and Sunday's Le Mans 24 Hours.
Early in the two hour period, Kamui Kobayashi's time of a 3:18.793 in the #7 Toyota was enough to top the timing sheets and take provisional pole, ahead of fellow Toyota trio, the #8 car of Kazuki Nakajima/Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi.
Porsche had a reasonable session, with the #2 car of Timo Bernhard/Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber in third - however, the #1 of Andre Lotterer/Nick Tandy and Neel Jani lagged behind in fifth, over two seconds off the ultimate pace.
Further down the field, there was success for TDS Racing in LMP2 and Aston Martin in both GTE Pro and Am.
Kobayashi the benchmark after delayed start
The start of the session was delayed by 20 minutes, due to repair works on a set of barriers, after a crash in the sister series Road to Le Mans Qualifying session.
That set everyone into a mad rush to get to the end of pit lane by the time race director Eduardo Freitas signalled for green flags - a queue of cars rushing out on the dot of 20 past the hour.
As the precious remaining ambient light started to fade and times edged past Jani's 2016 pole time for Porsche, Toyota seized the top two positions on the first set of runs for the P1 class, the #7 car of Kobayashi six-tenths faster than #8, piloted by Nakajima. In third, the fastest Porsche - the #2 of Bernhard sat a nervy second back.
LMP2 - the class of the field
The battle in P2 was as tight as ever initially: Tor Graves in the #24 Manor heading the class early on, nine-hundredths ahead of his teammate in the #25, Mexican Roberto Gonzalez. In fact, the top six were within a second of each other, meaning that P2 may be the main place for action in 2017.
Aston Martin ahead in GTE
Aston Martin led the way in both GTE Pro and Am in the first hour. In the Pro category Marco Sorensen in the #30 had the beating of former Audi DTM driver Miguel Molina in the #31 Ferrari 488. The Ferrari's were distant in Am, Pedro Lamy half a second faster than the #77 Porsche of Marvin Dienst before he handed control of the #98 to Mathias Lauda.
Elsewhere in Pro, the various Fords and Corvettes struggled for pace, failing to trouble the frontrunners in Pro. Stefan Mucke was adamant that the Fords will be better in the heat than the cool of the night - that may be so, but it doesn't bode well for tomorrow's final two Qualifying sessions or the race itself as they look to defend their crown.
Change in the last hour
The fall of night and driver changes spelled the end of most of the fast running, as track and ambient temperatures fell rapidly. However, in P2, the Manor cars were ousted from the top two - the #28 TDS Racing car of Matthieu Vaxiviere, Francois Perrodo and Le Mans veteran Emmanuel Collard clinched top spot by a half-second, with the #31 Rebellion of Bruno Senna adopting second.
|1||7||LMP1-H||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Kobayashi/Conway/Sarrazin||3:18.793||-|
|2||8||LMP1-H||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima||3:19.431||+0.631|
|4||9||LMP1-H||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Lapierre/Kunimoto/Lopez||3:19.958||+1.165|
|6||4||LMP1-L||ByKolles Racing Team||Webb/Kraihamer/Bonanomi||3:28.887||+10.094|
|9||25||LMP2||CEFC Manor TRS Racing||Gonzalez/Trummer/Petrov||3:30.502||+11.709|
|10||24||LMP2||CEFC Manor TRS Racing||Graves/Hirschi/Vergne||3:30.847||+12.054|
|11||38||LMP2||Jackie Chan DC Racing||Tung/Laurent/Jarvis||3:31.024||+12.231|
|12||36||LMP2||Signatech Alpine Matmut||Dumas/Menezes/Rao||3:31.065||+12.272|
|13||35||LMP2||Signatech Alpine Matmut||Panciatici/Ragues/Negrao||3:31.439||+12.646|
|14||13||LMP2||Vaillante Rebellion||Piquet Jr/Heinemeier Hansson/Beche||3:31.636||+12.843|
|19||29||LMP2||Racing Team Nederland||Lammers/van Eerd/Barrichello||3:33.796||+15.003|
|21||32||LMP2||United Autosports||Owen/de Sadeleer/Albuquerque||3:34.166||+15.373|
|23||47||LMP2||Cetilar Villorba Corse||Lacorte/Sernagiotto/Belicchi||3:34.846||+16.053|
|24||23||LMP2||Panis Barthez Competition||Barthez/Buret/Berthon||3:35.559||+16.766|
|26||45||LMP2||Algarve Pro Racing||Patterson/McMurry/Capillaire||3:37.814||+19.021|
|27||17||LMP2||IDEC Sport Racing||Lafargue/Lafargue/Zollinger||3:40.162||+21.369|
|29||37||LMP2||Jackie Chan DC Racing||Cheng/Gommendy/Brundle||3:41.393||+22.600|
|32||95||GTE Pro||Aston Martin Racing||Thiim/Sorensen/Stanaway||3:52.117||+33.324|
|33||71||GTE Pro||AF Corse||Rigion/Bird/Molina||3:52.235||+33.442|
|34||51||GTE Pro||AF Corse||Calado/Pier Guidi/Rugolo||3:53.123||+34.330|
|35||97||GTE Pro||Aston Martin Racing||Turner/Adam/Serra||3:53.296||+34.503|
|36||67||GTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Priaulx/Tincknell/Derani||3:54.118||+35.325|
|37||92||GTE Pro||Porsche GT Team||Christensen/Estre/Werner||3:54.243||+35.450|
|38||82||GTE Pro||Risi Competizione||Vilander/Fisichella/Kaffer||3:54.305||+35.512|
|39||91||GTE Pro||Porsche GT Team||Leitz/Makowiecki/Pilet||3:54.564||+35.771|
|40||63||GTE Pro||Corvette Racing||Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor||3:54.827||+36.034|
|41||64||GTE Pro||Corvette Racing||Gavin/Milner/Fassler||3:54.876||+36.083|
|42||68||GTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA||Hand/Muller/Kanaan||3:55.059||+36.266|
|43||98||GTE Am||Aston Martin Racing||Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda||3:55.134||+36.341|
|44||69||GTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA||Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon||3:55.553||+36.760|
|45||77||GTE Am||Dempsey-Proton Racing||Ried/Cairoli/Dienst||3:55.692||+36.899|
|46||66||GTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Mucke/Pla/Johnson||3:55.803||+37.010|
|47||90||GTE Am||TF Sport||Yoluc/Hankey/Bell||3:55.953||+37.160|
|48||83||GTE Am||DH Racing||Krohn/Jonsson/Bertolini||3:55.966||+37.173|
|49||50||GTE Am||Larbre Competition||Rees/Brandela/Philippon||3:56.259||+37.466|
|50||61||GTE Am||Clearwater Racing||Mok/Sawa/Griffin||3:56.333||+37.540|
|51||88||GTE Am||Proton Racing||Bachler/Lemeret/Al Qubaisi||3:56.507||+37.714|
|52||84||GTE Am||JMW Motorsport||Smith/Stevens/Vanthoor||3:56.890||+38.097|
|53||62||GTE Am||Scuderia Corsa||MacNeil/Sweedler/Bell||3:57.267||+38.474|
|54||60||GTE Am||Clearwater Racing||Wee/Katoh/Parente||3:57.321||+38.528|
|55||99||GTE Am||Beechdean AMR||Howard/Gunn/Bryant||3:57.463||+38.670|
|56||93||GTE Am||Proton Racing||Long/Al Faisal/Hedlund||3:58.196||+39.403|
|57||65||GTE Am||Scuderia Corsa||Nielsen/Balzan/Curtis||3:58.249||+39.456|
|58||86||GTE Am||Gulf Racing||Wainwright/Barker/Foster||3:58.427||+39.634|
|59||54||GTE Am||Spirit of Race||Flohr/Castellacci/Beretta||3:58.904||+40.111|
|60||55||GTE Am||Spirit of Race||Cameron/Scott/Cioci||4:01.098||+42.305|