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Qualifying report
WEC Fuji

Fuji WEC: Toyota locks out front row, Ferrari struggles

Toyota locked out the front row for its home World Endurance Championship race at Fuji, as Kamui Kobayashi scored pole position in the #7 GR010 HYBRID.

#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez

Kobayashi took the top spot with a best time of 1m27.794s around halfway through the 15-minute Hypercar qualifying session on Saturday afternoon, scoring a crucial bonus point for himself and his team-mates Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway.

Brendon Hartley was 0.624 seconds adrift of Kobayashi in the #8 Toyota, ahead of the two factory Penske-run Porsche 963s.

Kevin Estre briefly topped the times at the wheel of the #6 Porsche before both Toyotas set their fastest times of a session that took place on a virtually dry track, but with some damp patches from earlier rain.

The French driver's effort of 1m28.687s was still enough for third ahead of team-mate Frederic Makowiecki in the sister #5 car.

Next up was the solo Cadillac V-Series.R driven by Alex Lynn, who was the last driver to get within a second of the pace of Kobayashi.

Ferrari suffered a subdued qualifying session as its pair of 499Ps could only manage sixth and seventh places, marking the first time this season it hasn't got one of its cars in the top three.

 

James Calado set the Italian marque's best time of 1'28.991s, almost 1.2s off the pace, in the #51 car, while Nicklas Nielsen was fractionally slower in the #50 Ferrari.

Next up was the JOTA customer Porsche of Antonio Felix da Costa in eighth, followed by the Proton example of Gianmaria Bruni and the two Peugeot 9X8s, which struggled badly for pace in 10th and 11th places with Mikkel Jensen and Loic Duval at the wheel.

The solo Vanwall Vandervell 680 propped up the order in Hypercar with Tristan Vautier driving.

United Autosports topped LMP2 qualifying courtesy of Philip Hanson, who took the #22 ORECA 07's first pole of the year and a third in total for the team.

 

Hanson posted a best time of 1m32.182s in the car he shares with Filipe Albuquerque and Frederick Lubin, which was just 0.091s clear of nearest rival Louis Deletraz in the #41 WRT ORECA.

Oliver Jarvis ensured both United cars will start in the top three ahead of the JOTA machine of Pietro Fittipaldi and the Le Mans class-winning Inter Europol Competition car of Albert Costa.

Vector Sport's Gabriel Aubry suffered a lurid lock-up at Turn 1 just after setting his fastest time, which in the end was only enough for sixth.

In GTE Am, Ben Keating delivered Corvette Racing, which has already clinched this year's title, a third pole of the season.

 

Keating, who shares the solo Corvette C8.R with Nicky Catsburg and Nico Varrone, bested his usual rival Sarah Bovy in the Iron Dames Porsche by a scant 0.035s on what was still a damp track.

Satoshi Hoshino put the D'station Racing Aston Martin third ahead of the Heart of Racing example driven by Ian James, while leading the Ferrari contingent was Hiroshi Koizumi in the #21 AF Corse car.

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The WEC 6 Hours of Fuji is scheduled to begin at 11am local time (GMT +9) on Sunday.

Fuji WEC - Hypercar qualifying results:

 
 
       
Driver Info
 
 
 
   
Cla Team # Drivers Car Laps Time Interval km/h
1
Toyota Racing HYPERCAR
7 United Kingdom M. Conway Japan K. Kobayashi Argentina J. Lopez Toyota GR010 - Hybrid 7 1'27.794   187.106
2
Toyota Racing HYPERCAR
8 Switzerland S. Buemi New Zealand B. Hartley Japan R. Hirakawa Toyota GR010 - Hybrid 7 +0.624 0.624 185.785
3
PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT HYPERCAR
6 France K. Estre Germany A. Lotterer Belgium L. Vanthoor Porsche 963 7 +0.893 0.269 185.222
4
PORSCHE PENSKE MOTORSPORT HYPERCAR
5 United States D. Cameron Denmark M. Christensen France F. Makowiecki Porsche 963 6 +0.923 0.030 185.159
5
CADILLAC RACING HYPERCAR
2 New Zealand E. Bamber United Kingdom A. Lynn United Kingdom R. Westbrook Cadillac V-Series.R 7 +0.976 0.053 185.049
6
FERRARI AF CORSE HYPERCAR
51 Italy A. Pier Guidi United Kingdom J. Calado Italy A. Giovinazzi Ferrari 499P 7 +1.197 0.221 184.589
7
FERRARI AF CORSE HYPERCAR
50 Italy A. Fuoco Spain M. Molina Denmark N. Nielsen Ferrari 499P 8 +1.269 0.072 184.440
8
HERTZ TEAM JOTA HYPERCAR
38 Portugal A. Felix da Costa United Kingdom W. Stevens China Y. Yifei Porsche 963 8 +1.317 0.048 184.340
9
Proton Competition HYPERCAR
99 Switzerland N. Jani Italy G. Bruni United Kingdom H. Tincknell Porsche 963 8 +1.544 0.227 183.872
10
PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES HYPERCAR
93 United Kingdom P. di Resta Denmark M. Jensen France J. Vergne Peugeot 9X8 7 +2.104 0.560 182.727
11
PEUGEOT TOTALENERGIES HYPERCAR
94 France L. Duval United States G. Menezes Belgium S. Vandoorne Peugeot 9X8 8 +4.028 1.924 178.898
12
FLOYD VANWALL RACING TEAM HYPERCAR
4 Argentina E. Guerrieri France T. Vautier
J. De
Vanwall Vandervell 680 7 +4.405 0.377 178.166

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