Paul-Loup Chatin put the IDEC Sport Oreca 07 Gibson on pole for this evening’s European Le Mans Series race at Circuit de Catalunya.
Chatin, driving the No. 28 IDEC Sport car, claimed his and the team’s first pole of the season with a time of 1:32.765 three minutes from the end of the 10-minute session.
This put the Frenchman, who is sharing the drive with Paul Lafargue and Memo Rojas, half a second up on ex-provisional pole-sitter Nicolas Lapierre in the Cool Racing Oreca.
Recent Le Mans class winner Lapierre had only been on top of the LMP2 pile for a matter of seconds when Chatin came through to set the best time of the morning.
Lapierre then tried to take back the top spot in the last couple of minutes but spun exiting the penultimate corner to hand Chatin and IDEC the pole.
Jean-Eric Vergne shot to third place right at the end of the session with a time of 1:33.640 in the No. 26 Oreca-based Aurus 01 Gibson.
The recently-crowned ABB FIA Formula E champion is making his first ELMS appearance of the season this weekend after missing the opening two rounds due to date clashes.
Arjun Maini ran fourth-quickest for RLR MSport, while early pace-setter Jonathan Hirschi finished fifth for Graff.
Two more Oreca entries completed the top seven, with Nico Jamin qualifying sixth for Duqueine Engineering despite bringing out an early red flag following a solo spin at Turn 1 on his opening flyer.
DragonSpeed’s Ben Hanley was seventh, ahead of the Carlin-run Dallara P217 Gibson which Harry Tincknell steered to a 1:43.022.
Will Stevens had the best of the Ligier JS P217 Gibsons, with the Panis Barthez Competition driver confirming himself in ninth position with a 1:34.083 effort.
In LMP3, BMW factory GT driver Mikkel Jensen scored his first ELMS pole since 2017 with a time of 1:40.514 behind the wheel of the No. 11 Eurointernational Ligier JS P3 Nissan.
Jensen, who currently leads the championship with Jens Petersen, ended the session 0.184 seconds clear of Damiano Fioravanti in the No. 10 Oregon Team Norma M30 Nissan.
Norma machinery occupied the next three places, with Matthieu Lahaye putting the Ultimate squad third, Yann Erlacher going fourth for M. Racing and Colin Noble completing the top five for Nielsen Racing.
Kessel Takes First GTE Pole in Five Years
Andrea Piccini took a surprise GTE pole for Kessel Racing as Ferrari machinery locked out the front two rows of the class grid.
Piccini, driving the No. 60 Kessel-run Ferrari 488 GTE that is currently last in the category standings, posted a time of 1:43.084 to edge ahead of Joerg Bergmeister in the No. 56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR.
However, Bergmeister’s final lap was deleted, dropping the reigning WEC GTE-Am champion down to fifth on the grid and promoting the Ferraris that were behind onto the leading rows.
Matt Griffin qualified second in the No. 55 Spirit of Race Ferrari, 0.288 seconds down on Piccini, while Alessandro Pier Guidi and Jeff Segal followed closely in the Luzich Racing and JMW Motorsport 488s.
Kessel’s last ELMS pole occurred in 2014, when Matteo Cressoni set the GTE grid for the race at Imola in a Ferrari 458 Italia.
The 4 Hours of Barcelona is set to get underway at 6:30 p.m. local time (12:30 p.m. eastern) and will run on into dusk.