Toyota driver Anthony Davidson topped free practice for the Le Mans 24 Hours, a session interrupted by a massive accident for Audi’s Loic Duval.
Davidson set the best time in the #8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid of 2m23.652s on the one-hour mark, minutes before Duval crashed at the Porsche Curves.
The #1 Audi R18 e-tron Quattro hit the debris fencing hard but Duval was confirmed to be conscious and communicating when he was taken to the medical centre for checks.
A statement issued by race organisers described Duval’s condition as “encouraging”.
Marcel Fassler was second fastest in the #2 Audi, just 0.324s off the Toyota, but the strength of the Japanese marque was underlined by Kazuki Nakajima’s third-best time in the #7 car.
The #1 Audi had briefly headed the timesheets in the hands of Lucas di Grassi, shortly before Duval’s crash.
Although it was shuffled down the order, Brazilian’s time was still good enough for fourth place, fractionally ahead of the third Audi driven by former Mclaren AUTOSPORT BRDC Award winner Oliver Jarvis.
Porsche was sixth and seventh on its return to top class action at Le Mans, with Timo Bernard three seconds off the overall pace and just over seven-tenths faster than the sister car, driven by Neel Jani.
The two LMP1-L Rebellion-Toyota R-Ones were eighth and ninth, with Mathias Beche outpacing the sister car, whose best time was set by Dominik Kraihamer.
The LMP2 pace was set by Jann Mardenborough driving the new Ligier JSP2 Coupe run by OAK Racing.
He outpaced the Murphy Prototypes ORECA-Nissan 03R of Karun Chandhok by just over a tenth.
Gianmaria Bruni was fastest in GTE Pro in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia, with Nicki Thiim setting the pace in GTE Am driving the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
The session was interrupted by a second red flag shortly before the session entered its final half hour after Erik Maris went off at the firstMulsanne chicane.
The subsequent restart lasted only four minutes as Frankie Montecalvo’s AF Corse-run 8Star Motorsport Ferrari went off at the second chicane, and the decision was taken not to restart the session.
The #74 Chevrolet Corvette also hit trouble, stopping out on circuit with Tommy Milner at the wheel, while the #41 Greaves Motorsport Zytek, driven by Michael Munemann, also went off.
The Nissan ZEOD RC was unable to set a time after suffering a loss of drive on its outlap with Lucas Ordonez at the wheel thanks to a gearbox problem.
It is hoped that the car will be able to participate in tonight’s first qualifying session.