Pescarolo Sport qualified in provisional pole position for Le Mans 24 Hours after Soheil Ayari put in a 4m 01.197s lap in the closing moments of the rain-affected opening day. The Champion Racing Audi R8 of Emanuele Pirro, Frank Biela and Allan McNish finished in second place with a fastest lap from Pirro under one second slower than the leader.
The Creation Autosportif DBA Judd qualified provisionally in third place with a 4m 02.992s lap at the hands of Nicolas Minassian after stopping due to fuel pump problems early in the first session and finished three seconds ahead of the Audi Playstation Oreca R8 of Franck Montagny, Jean Marc Gounon and Stephane Ortelli who had led much of the second session.
Aston Martin had a troubled evening with the #59 car of David Brabham, Stephane Sarrazin and Darren Turner 21 seconds off the pace in 16th position, after spending the first half of the second session in the garage with engine problems, and the #58 car of Tomas Enge, Peter Kox and Pedro Lamy eight seconds futher behind in 27th place overall.
The LMP2 class was narrowly headed by the Intersport Racing Lola AER of Sam Hancock, who set the fastest time of 4m 11.719s, Gregor Fisken and Liz Halliday, with the Miracle Motorsports Courage AER of John Macaluso, Ian James and Andy Lally just one second behind.
Heavy rain fell at the start of the first session and this set the tone for the rest of the evening with some teams opting to do minimal running and pack up early while others used the time to let their drivers cover the minimum required distance. The conditions dried towards the end of the evening, however, and the times started to tumble as several teams put in fast runs.
All 49 cars took part in either session although some only briefly. The red flag was brought out after fifty minutes after a spin at Ralentisseur Michelin by the Chamberlain-Synergy Motorsport Lola AER driven by Bob Berridge, a point which later claimed the Jim Gainer Internation Dome Mugen of Ryo Michigami, Seiji Ara and Katsutomo Kaneishi. The Champion Racing Audi R8 of JJ Lehto, Marco Werner and Tom Kristensen went off the circuit in the final few minutes and returned to the pitlane after getting stuck in the gravel and ultimately finished the session in fifth place.
The most dramatic moment of the session occurred at the start of the final hour when the Rollcentre Racing Dallara Nissan of Bobby Verdon Roe, Michael Krumm and Harold Primat caught fire in the pitlane during a fuel stop. The fire was quickly extinguished but the car was not able to participate in the remainder of the session and finished 14th overall.