Simon Pagenaud piloted his Peugeot 908 to pole for the 6 Hours of Silverstone, the Frenchman more than nine tenths clear of Allan McNish whose Audi R18 will complete the front row.

Pagenaud clinched pole in the no.7 car with a perfect lap, putting together his fastest times in all three sectors to complete the lap in 1:43.924. Sebastien Bourdais was initially meant to chare the car with Anthony Davidson, but an injury suffered during the summer kept Davidson out of the car with Pagenaud taking his place.

The fight for pole proved a little anti-climactic when wet weather closed in and Peugeot pulled both their cars back into the pits. In the opening minutes the two French coupes had exchanged the top time as times improved around Silverstone's Grand Prix layout. Audi's challenge – fronted by McNish and Timo Bernhard in the R18 carrying the no.1 plate – was more steady than spectacular.

McNish installed himself as second fastest after the early exchanges, but was unable to put together a lap thereafter, despite setting the best time though the middle sector of the lap – Pagenaud leading everyone through the first and final parts of the lap.

Stephane Sarrazin in the second Peugeot took third, Bernhard completing the top four diesels, though he was more than 1.5 seconds down on Sarrazin.

Nicolas Prost ended the session fifth fastest – the best of the petrol engine cars – for Rebellion Racing, ahead of the two LMP1 Oak Racing Pescarolos. Aston Martin Racing, bringing their Lola-Aston Martin car out of retirement after the poor showing of the new-for-2011 AMR-One only qualified 12th, Adrian Fernandez's time slower than the leading two LMP2 runners, Strakka Racing beating Greaves Motorsport for class honours in a battle of two British teams.

In more success for British outfits Neil Garner Motorsport topped the quartet of Formula Le Mans entries, Phil Keen the man tasked with contesting the session.

In the GTEPro class BMW Motorsport secured the front row. Augusto Farfus and Andy Priaulx needed only a single flying lap each in the closing minutes of the session to push Toni Vilander and Marc Lieb into third and fourth for AF Corse and FelbermayrProton respectively.

Farfus was the final man – of five – to stand atop the class standing, Wolf Henzler and Fred Makowiecki both briefly fastest before Lieb and Vilander took their own turn.

Nicolas Armindo won the class pole in the nine entry GTEAm class for Porsche squad IMSA Performance Matmut. He will share the car in tomorrow's race with Raymond Narac.