Fuoco paced the 30-minute session, featuring the fastest eight cars from Wednesday’s first qualifying, with a best time of 3m22.982s at the wheel of the 499P he shares with Miguel Molina and Nicklas Nielsen.

Both of the Ferrari LMHs jumped to the top of the timesheets early on, with Alessandro Pier Guidi initially leading the way on a 3m23.987s in the #51 car ahead of Fuoco in the sister #50 entry.

Pier Guidi then improved to a 3m23.478s, which was scrubbed for a track limits infringement, before Fuoco upped the ante by posting the first sub-3m23s effort of the week so far, outpacing his team-mate by 0.773s despite getting baulked by a GTE Am Ferrari exiting Indianapolis.

That time remained the benchmark when the session was red-flagged with five minutes left on the clock as a result of Cadillac driver Sebastien Bourdais stopping at the first chicane after suffering a dramatic fire.

Bourdais was able to escape the smouldering #3 Cadillac V-Series.R unscathed, having set the third-fastest time with a 3m24.908s – although that was deleted as a result of the car causing the red flag.

Cadillac later reported the cause of the fire had been traced to a “burst high-pressure fuel hose”.

When the session resumed, both Toyotas improved but neither Kamui Kobayashi nor Brendon Hartley could truly threaten the Ferraris. In means a Ferrari will start from pole for the Le Mans 24 Hours for the first time in 50 years.

Kobayashi briefly went third-fastest in the #7 GR010 HYBRID with a 3m24.267s, but this was lost to a track limits infringement, putting last year’s polesitter Hartley third on a 3m24.451s – albeit 1.469s off the pace.

Porsche driver Felipe Nasr went fourth at the end of the session with his one and only timed lap of 3m24.531s, having spent most of the session in the pits and not setting a time before the red flag.

The #7 Toyota ended up fifth on the strength of Kobayashi’s second-best time, followed by the #2 Cadillac of Earl Bamber and the #5 Porsche of Frederic Makowiecki.

Bourdais was credited with eighth on the basis of the second-fastest time he set before the #3 car’s demise.

Pole in LMP2 went to the IDEC Sport ORECA of Paul-Loup Chatin, who survived a late challenge from JOTA driver Pietro Fittipaldi.

Chatin set the benchmark time of 3m32.923s prior to the red flag, with Fittipaldi’s last-gasp effort after the session resumed falling short by a little over a tenth of a second.

Fittipaldi’s late improvement knocked the WRT ORECA of Louis Deletraz down to third place, ahead of the COOL Racing car of Reshad de Gerus and the Prema Racing entry of Lamborghini factory driver Mirko Bortolotti.

Corvette Racing secured pole in GTE Am courtesy of bronze-rated driver Ben Keating.

It was Keating that set the early pace on a 3m53.589s, which the Texan subsequently improved to a 3m52.376s after the red flag.

That put the solo works Corvette C8.R a comfortable 1.5s ahead of his nearest rival, Omani driver Ahmad Al Harthy at the wheel of the ORT by TF Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

A trio of AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs were next up, the #54 car of Thomas Flohr leading the #21 example of Julien Piguet and the Richard Mille-backed #83 of Luis Perez Companc.

Le Mans 24 Hours – Hyperpole results:

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