Filipe Albuquerque led a United Autosports one-two at Circuit Paul Ricard in the 90 minute first Free Practice session of the season.
The Portuguese star managed 1 lap in 1:39.238 in the #22 Oreca he shares with Phil Hanson to finish less than two tenths of a second clear of Alex Brundle in the sister #32 United Oreca.
Next up, and just 17 thousandths back from Brundle was fellow Brit Ben Hanley in the #21 DragonSpeed Oreca with Nico Lapierre (#37 Cool Racing), Nyck de Vries (#26 G-Drive racing Aurus) and Anders Fjordbach (#20 High Class racing) the only other drivers under 1:40 in another dry, hot and sunny session.
Fastest of the Goodyear runners was Jon Lancaster in the #24 Algarve Pro racing Orecawith a 1:40.1
In LMP3 it was yet another United car topping the. Times, the #2 Ligier JS P320 had been the class of the field in the pre-season tests here earlier this week and that form continued with Wayne Boyd the only driver under 1:48 in the class for the session.
The #2 headed a Ligier 1,2,3,4 with the RealTeam, RLR Sport and InterEuropol JS P320s heading the best of the Duqueines, once again Colin Noble in the #2 Nielsen Racing car.
GT saw the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche of Andrea Picariello much the fastest of the pack – a 1:51.197 seven-tenths clear of Andrea Piccini in the #60 Iron Lynx Ferrari with the #55 Spirit of race and #66 JMW Ferraris (Matt Griffin and Jody Fannin) next up.
The Afternoon’s Bronze driver session saw 23 of the 36 runners circulating including just two LMP2s, Cool racing’s Alexandre Coigny topping the times ahead of High Class driver Dennis Anderson.
In LMP3 the #2 United Ligier topped the times again, an ominously rapid time from Radical star Rob Wheldon, a 1:49.975 four tenths clear of the always rapid Martin Hippe in the #13 Inter Europol Ligier.
IN GT it was the #74 Kessel Ferrari in the hands of Michael Broniszewski topping the times, a 1:53.721 well clear of Christian Ried in the #77 Dempsey Proton Porsche.
Fifth in the session in GT was a very creditable effort from the debuting Michael Fassbender in the #93 Proton Porsche, just over a second off the fastest time of the session.