Toyota edges Porsche for Fuji pole

The lineup has been set for the Six Hours of Fuji.

Toyota Racing is celebrating taking a thrilling pole position for Sunday’s Fuji 6 Hours, the 5th round of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship.

The #8 Toyota TS 040 Hybrid, driven by Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi, sealed a last-minute pole with Buemi setting a final lap time that ensured he just beat the #20 Porsche 919 Hybrid. The Swiss ace’s final lap ensured an average time of 1m26.886s, which was 0.043s better than the Porsche.

Mark Webber looked to have confirmed pole for Porsche but, when the Australian pitted with a few minutes of the 25 minute session remaining, Buemi had his opportunity to send the local fans in to raptures.

It is the 10th pole position for Toyota since the inception of the FIA World Endurance Championship and the fourth time this season that the manufacturer has topped the qualifying times.

Trailing Toyota

Porsche will start second and third, as the #14 Porsche Team's 919 Hybrid heads the second row, just ahead of local favourite Kazuki Nakajima, who along with team mates Alex Wurz and Stephane Sarrazin had to settle for fourth fastest.

The Audi Sport Team Joest pair of Audi R18 e-tron quattros start the race from the third row of the grid, with the #2 crewed car of Treluyer, Lotterer and Fassler ahead of their #1 sister machine.

The LMP1-L class will see the #12 Rebellion Racing R-One Toyota start the 6 Hours from pole position despite a brief technical problem that stopped them briefly on the track, triggering a short red flag period.

G-Drive on top in LMP2

G-Drive led the way in the LMP2 class with its third pole of the 2014 season. Olivier Pla and his team mate Roman Rusinov again set the fastest time and, together with Julien Canal, they ensured the best possible platform was achieved for the race tomorrow.

An impressive second place in LMP2 was the OAK Racing Morgan-Judd, with Alex Brundle and Gustavo Yacaman confirming the class front row position. Local heroine, Keiko Ihara, is also part of the driving squad for the French team and is confident for a strong race on home ground.

Astons take pole honors in both GTE classes

Aston Martin Racing dominated in qualifying this afternoon for tomorrow’s 6 Hours of Fuji, taking pole position in both the LMGTE Pro and Am classes, and locking out the front row completely for the senior Pro category.  The result echoes the 2013 qualifying results when Aston Martin also clinched both GTE pole positions, and is the team’s 11th in the Pro category of the FIA WEC.

Brazil’s Fernando Rees and his British team mate Alex MacDowall claimed their first pole position in the FIA World Endurance Championship, combining to set an average fastest lap time of 1:39.686 in the No.99 Aston Martin Vantage V8. 

Top six seperated by mere tenths in Pro class

The delighted duo headed their team mates in the No.97 – Darren Turner and Stefan Mücke, winners of the fourth round in Texas three weeks ago. Just half a second separated all six entries in the class, and it was the No.92 Porsche Team Manthey 911 RSR of Patrick Pilet and Frederic Makowiecki, the latter using his local experience from Super GT, which claimed third in class with a time of 1:40.145. 

Only three hundredths of a second behind was the No.71 Ferrari 458 Italia of AF Corse’s Davide Rigon and James Calado, the Italian-British pairing out-qualifying their team mates in the No.51 for the first time this year, the latter struggling with an ill-handling car.  Richard Lietz, making his return to competition for the first time after breaking his arm in a racing accident at the end of August, combined with Joerg Bergmeister to close out the class with a best time of 1:40.283.

GTE Am rundown

For the first time this weekend the LMGTE Am cars were all slightly slower than their Pro team mates, and it was a very happy Pedro Lamy who claimed his first FIA WEC pole position with team mate Christoffer Nygaard in the No.98 Aston Martin Vantage V8.  It was Aston Martin Racing’s 10th pole position in LMGTE Am since the start of the FIA WEC in 2012.

The combined average lap time of the two drivers’ two fastest laps was 1:40.230 and this put the Portuguese-Danish pair ahead of a hard-charging No.81 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia of Andrea Bertolini and Michele Rugolo.  Behind the Ferrari was the No.95 Aston Martin of David Heinemeier Hansson and Nicki Thiim, and the No.61 AF Corse Ferrari of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Mike Skeen…0.052 seconds separating the three cars which is a great indicator of an exciting and tense battle ahead in tomorrow’s race. 

FIA WEC

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About this article
Series WEC
Event Fuji
Track Fuji International Speedway
Drivers Mark Webber , Anthony Davidson , Alexander Wurz , Darren Turner , Stéphane Sarrazin , Pedro Lamy , Davide Rigon , Jeroen Bleekemolen , Michele Rugolo , Olivier Pla , Keiko Ihara , Andrea Bertolini , Roman Rusinov , Fernando Rees , Stefan Mücke , Julien Canal , Patrick Pilet , Kazuki Nakajima , Sébastien Buemi , Frédéric Makowiecki , Richard Lietz , Mike Skeen , Gustavo Yacaman , Christoffer Nygaard , Nicki Thiim , Alex Brundle , James Calado , Alex MacDowall , David Heinemeier Hansson
Teams Audi Sport Team Joest , Porsche Team , Rebellion Racing , Toyota Racing , Aston Martin Racing , AF Corse , OAK Racing , Team Manthey
Article type Qualifying report