For the first time since 2014, Toyota claimed pole position for the 24 Hours of Le Mans after Kamui Kobayashi's stunning, record-breaking lap in Qualifying 2 earlier in the evening could not be broken in the week's second and final night-time Qualifying session.
Kobayashi's 3:14.791 - owed to a rare clean lap - was enough to shatter Neel Jani's previous ultimate lap record at the current configuration of the Circuit de la Sarthe, set in 2015, by over two seconds.
Toyota could enjoy a top two lockout for the first time in 18 years, with the #8 sister car at the hands of Kazuki Nakajima able to see off the threat of the mighty Porsches.
In LMP2, G-Drive celebrated a class lap record as well as top spot, the same can be said for Aston Martin in GTE Pro, whilst the vivid liveried Larbre Competition Corvette saw off the competition in a hotly contested GTE Am.
LMP1: Toyota rule the day
Having finished Wednesday on provisional pole, much was expected of the Toyota challenge as they look for their first overall Le Mans win in their history, having come painfully close last year.
Kobayashi in car #7 set them on their way with a time of 3:18.561, lowering his own fastest time from yesterday, before Erik Maris caused the session to be stopped for 50 minutes after his crash in the #33 Eurasia Motorsport Ligier P2 car damaged the barriers at the fearsome Porsche Curves.
As the session resumed, the former Toyota, Sauber and Caterham Formula One driver went even faster, obliterating the lap record at Le Starthe, his 3:14.791 enough to warrant the rest of the field packing up until Saturday morning's warm-up. Bar major developments in the next few years, it looks to be a record that will have some staying power. However, everyone said that about Jani's time...
Jani didn't have the pace to go and reclaim his record in the #1 Porsche, but took second from the ailing Toyota #8 - Sebastien Buemi saw his running cut short after just two laps by an oil supply fault and a resulting precautionary engine change. After last year's disaster, the Japanese marque are taking no gambles.
Then the sister #2 Porsche, wrestled round by Timo Bernhard claimed third, nearly three and a half seconds adrift of the flying Kobayashi, who settled for what he had.
The third Toyota, the #9 car was hit with unfortunately placed traffic on its fast runs and then a session ending red flag; Yuji Kunimoto unable to improve on the fifth place they'd held since Wednesday.
Into the evening session, Nakajima improved on the resurrected #8 car's time, getting back into second place with a 3:17.128 - still over two seconds away from Kobayashi.
Porsche had troubles of their own - Brendon Hartley ground to a halt at Indianapolis in the #2 car after an excursion at Mulsanne, caused by an alleged electrical problem. Meanwhile, Andre Lotterer couldn't provide one of his famous late charges in the #1 car as the dark consumed the province of Maine.
In the sole LMP1-L entry, Oli Webb managed to bring the ByKolles car within a respectable 10 seconds of the leading Toyota, clear of the best of the P2 field.
LMP2: G-Drive take it late
Having started the day top, Matthieu Vaxiviere and his colleagues in the #28 TDS Racing car slid down the order, fellow Frenchman Thomas Laurent lowering the benchmark in the early evening to a 3:26.776 in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing entry.
He remained there until Vitaly Petrov went a second clear of the rest of the class in the #25 Manor, a 3:25.549 enough to top Qualifying 2.
And it looked like the Russian would stay there, until young Brit Alex Lynn in the #26 G-Drive took the ascendency early in the night session by two-tenths, yet another record broken at Le Mans.
Petrov held on for a comfortable second, despite a late showing from Ho-Pin Tung in the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing car - enough for the Chinese to claim a promising third.
Elsewhere, a superb effort from Mikhail Aleshin in saw the all Russian #27 SMP Racing entry make it into the top 10 - the only Dallara car to do so.
GTE Pro: Aston on top in an exciting class
In a day that saw Aston start and end at the head of the class, most of the action could be found in the premier GT category. Wednesday's times started to tumble early on, James Calado's fine lap in Qualifying 2 in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari the only blemish on the British company's copybook.
But, it wasn't all good for Ferrari, Giancarlo Fisichella and co.'s #82 Risi Competizione car saw its Wednesday times wiped after a transgression of the parc-ferme rules. They could only muster 11th best in class.
The Aston's came back out to play at night, but faced stiff competition not only from the Ferraris, but the rejuvenated Fords and Corvettes. Six lead changes in the final two hour session saw Darren Turner in the #97 Aston eventually break the GTE Pro lap record with a 3:50.837 to knock teammate Richie Stanaway off of the lead in the #95 car.
Calado ensured that at least one Ferrari was to be in the top two slots - a late 3:51.028 enough to split the two Astons - the fastest Ford in fifth.
Porsche had an underwhelming two days, Kevin Estre and the #92 car having to settle for 7th, whilst a rare mistake from Frederic Makowiecki at Arnage meant that his best lap was ruined and the #91 car starts last in class. However, the Frenchman can take solace from the whole class being separated by just 1.7 seconds.
GTE Am: Labre Corvette shines
The punters had this down as an Aston Martin topped class, and on Wednesday night, that looked like a good shout - but Ferrari and Corvette had different ideas.
In the #84 JMW Motorsports Ferrari, Will Stevens - fresh from his win at Zolder with Audi in the Blancpain Sprint Series last weekend - lowered the benchmark that Mathias Lauda had set less than 24 hours beforehand in the #98 Aston by around half a second.
At night, it returned to the top at the very capable hands of Pedro Lamy, but it was a former Aston Martin driver who took the prize - Fernando Rees in the bright #50 Labre Competition Corvette going fastest by nearly four-tenths late on.
|1||7||LMP1-H||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin||3:14.791||-|
|2||8||LMP1-H||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima||3:17.128||+2.337|
|5||9||LMP1-H||Toyota Gazoo Racing||Lapierre/Kunimoto/Lopez||3:18.625||+3.834|
|6||4||LMP1-L||ByKolles Racing Team||Webb/Kraihamer/Bonanomi||3:24.170||+9.379|
|8||25||LMP2||CEFC Manor TRS Racing||Gonzalez/Trummer/Petrov||3:25.549||+10.758|
|9||38||LMP2||Jackie Chan DC Racing||Tung/Laurent/Jarvis||3:25.911||+11.120|
|11||13||LMP2||Vaillante Rebellion||Piquet Jr/Heinemeier Hansson/Beche||3:26.811||+12.020|
|12||24||LMP2||CEFC Manor TRS Racing||Graves/Hirschi/Vergne||3:26.871||+12.080|
|14||35||LMP2||Signatech Alpine Matmut||Panciatici/Ragues/Negrao||3:27.517||+12.726|
|15||37||LMP2||Jackie Chan DC Racing||Cheng/Gommendy/Brundle||3:27.535||+12.744|
|17||36||LMP2||Signatech Alpine Matmut||Dumas/Menezes/Rao||3:28.051||+13.260|
|21||32||LMP2||United Autosports||Owen/de Sadeleer/Albuquerque||3:29.151||+14.360|
|23||29||LMP2||Racing Team Nederland||Lammers/van Eerd/Barrichello||3:29.976||+15.185|
|24||47||LMP2||Cetilar Villorba Corse||Lacorte/Sernagiotto/Belicchi||3:30.014||+15.223|
|25||45||LMP2||Algarve Pro Racing||Patterson/McMurry/Capillaire||3:30.164||+15.373|
|26||23||LMP2||Panis Barthez Competition||Barthez/Buret/Berthon||3:31.346||+16.555|
|29||17||LMP2||IDEC Sport Racing||Lafargue/Lafargue/Zollinger||3:36.230||+21.439|
|32||97||GTE Pro||Aston Martin Racing||Turner/Adam/Serra||3:50.837||+36.046|
|33||51||GTE Pro||AF Corse||Calado/Pier Guidi/Rugolo||3:51.028||+36.237|
|34||95||GTE Pro||Aston Martin Racing||Thiim/Sorensen/Stanaway||3:51.038||+36.247|
|35||71||GTE Pro||AF Corse||Rigon/Bird/Molina||3:51.086||+36.295|
|36||69||GTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA||Briscoe/Westbrook/Dixon||3:51.232||+36.441|
|37||63||GTE Pro||Corvette Racing||Magnussen/Garcia/Taylor||3:51.484||+36.693|
|38||92||GTE Pro||Porsche GT Team||Christensen/Estre/Werner||3:51.847||+37.056|
|39||66||GTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Mucke/Pla/Johnsn||3:51.991||+37.200|
|40||67||GTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK||Priaulx/Tincknell/Derani||3:52.008||+37.217|
|41||64||GTE Pro||Corvette Racing||Gavin/Milner/Fassler||3:52.017||+37.226|
|42||82||GTE Pro||Risi Competizione||Vilander/Fisichella/Kaffer||3:52.238||+37.347|
|43||68||GTE Pro||Ford Chip Ganassi Team USA||Hand/Muller/Kanaan||3:52.178||+37.387|
|44||91||GTE Pro||Porsche GT Team||Lietz/Makowiecki/Pilet||3:52.593||+37.802|
|45||50||GTE Am||Larbre Competition||Rees/Brandela/Philippon||3:52.843||+38.052|
|46||98||GTE Am||Aston Martin Racing||Dalla Lana/Lamy/Lauda||3:53.233||+38.442|
|47||62||GTE Am||Scuderia Corsa||MacNeil/Sweedler/Bell||3:53.312||+38.521|
|48||77||GTE Am||Dempsey-Proton Racing||Ried/Cairoli/Dienst||3:53.381||+38.590|
|49||55||GTE Am||Spirit of Race||Cameron/Scott/Cioci||3:53.641||+38.850|
|50||84||GTE Am||JMW Motorsport||Smith/Stevens/Vanthoor||3:53.977||+39.186|
|51||83||GTE Am||DH Racing||Krohn/Jonsson/Bertolini||3:54.088||+39.297|
|52||90||GTE Am||TF Sport||Yoluc/Hankey/Bell||3:54.319||+39.528|
|53||99||GTE Am||Beechdean AMR||Howard/Gunn/Bryant||3:54.328||+39.537|
|54||93||GTE Am||Proton Racing||Long/Al Faisal/Hedlund||3:54.621||+39.830|
|55||61||GTE Am||Clearwater Racing||Sun/Sawa/Griffin||3:54.955||+40.164|
|56||60||GTE Am||Clearwater Racing||Wee/Katoh/Parente||3:54.994||+40.203|
|57||88||GTE Am||Proton Racing||Bachler/Lemeret/Al Qubaisi||3:55.458||+40.677|
|58||54||GTE Am||Spirit of Race||Flohr/Castellacci/Beretta||3:56.301||+41.510|
|59||86||GTE Am||Gulf Racing||Wainwright/Barker/Foster||3:56.469||+41.678|
|60||65||GTE Am||Scuderia Corsa||Nielsen/Balzan/Curtis||3:58.249||+43.458|