Fuji WEC: Kobayashi, Lopez lead all-Toyota front row

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Fuji WEC: Kobayashi, Lopez lead all-Toyota front row
By: Gary Watkins
Oct 13, 2018, 6:40 AM

A track limits violation meant Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Buemi were pipped to pole by Toyota teammates Jose Maria Lopez at this weekend's Fuji FIA World Endurance Championship event.

Alonso topped the times in the #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid after the first runs with a 1m23.203s that put him just over two tenths up on the 1m23.437s from Lopez.

Kobayashi then went quickest during the second runs with a 1m23.678s, which fell six thousandths short of ousting the sister car from pole. 

But when Buemi lost his 1m23.900s to a track limits infringement and could only follow it up with a 1m24.094s, his and Alonso's average dropped below that of their teammates. 

Lopez and Kobayashi ended up on 1m23.557s, which put them a shade over one hundredth up on Alonso and Buemi's 1m23.648s.

Lopez said: "My lap was okay. I didn't have maximum confidence, but I new I was close enough for Kamui to do his job because he is always quick around here." 

The two Rebellion-Gibson R-13 LMP1s both ended up with a second of the Toyota TS050s following the latest Equivalence of Technology changes made in the lead-up to and during the event.

Andre Lotterer's best lap in the #1 Rebellion Racing entry was only eight tenths off Alonso's pace. He and teammate Neel Jani ended up a similar margin off the pole with a 1m24.359s average. 

That put them just under two tenths up on the 1m24.533s average of the second Rebellion qualified by Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent.

SMP Racing took fifth and sixth positions with its pair of AER-engined BR Engineering BR1s. 

Jenson Button just pipped Stephane Sarrazin on the first runs, but Egor Orudzhev then went a second quicker than Vitaly Petrov to reverse the positions of the two BR1s in the final qualifying order. 

Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez took LMP2 pole aboard the DragonSpeed Oreca on Michelin types. 

Davidson set the fastest P2 time of the session with a 1m28.011s, which Gonzalez followed up on with a 1m29.802s.

That was enough to give them a 1m28.906s average and a half second advantage over the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca qualified by Jazeman Jaafar and Nabil Jeffri. 

The second of the Dunlop-shod DCR Orecas qualified third in the hands of Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry. 

The new Aston Martin Vantage GTE claimed its first class pole position in GTE Pro with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen. 

Thiim topped the times after the first runs with a session-best 1m35.884s, before Sorensen followed it up with a 1m36.302s. 

That gave the Danish duo an 1m36.093s average, which gave them the pole by nearly two tenths from the MTEK BMW M8 GTE shared by Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Felix da Costa.

Blomqvist was the only driver other than Thiim to break the 1m36m barrier. His 1m35.930s combined with da Costa's 1m36.621s to give them a 1m36.275s average. 

Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin in the second Aston were a further tenth back in 1m36.362s.

Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell took fourth in the best of the Ganassi-run Ford GTs with a 1m36.453s average.

Top Ferrari drivers were Davide Rigon and Sam Bird in fifth with a 1m35.584s average, while the fastest Porsche drivers were Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz in eighth. 

Matteo Cairoli and WEC debutant Satoshi Hoshino took GTE Am pole for the Dempsey-Proton Porsche team. 

LMP1 and LMP2 results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 7 Japan Kamui Kobayashi 
United Kingdom Mike Conway 
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'23.557  
2 8 Spain Fernando Alonso 
Japan Kazuki Nakajima 
Switzerland Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'23.648 0.091
3 1 Germany Andre Lotterer 
Brazil Bruno Senna 
Switzerland Neel Jani 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'24.359 0.802
4 3 Switzerland Mathias Beche 
France Thomas Laurent 
United States Gustavo Menezes 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'24.533 0.976
5 17 France Stéphane Sarrazin 
Russian Federation Matevos Isaakyan 
Russian Federation Egor Orudzhev 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'24.744 1.187
6 11 United Kingdom Jenson Button 
Russian Federation Vitaly Petrov 
Russian Federation Mikhail Aleshin 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'25.146 1.589
7 4 United Kingdom Oliver Webb 
France Tom Dillmann 
United Kingdom James Rossiter 
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 1'26.579 3.022
8 10 United Kingdom Ben Hanley 
Australia James Allen 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'26.713 3.156
9 31 United Kingdom Anthony Davidson 
Venezuela Pastor Maldonado 
Mexico Roberto Gonzalez 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'28.906 5.349
10 37 Malaysia Nabil Jeffri 
Malaysia Weiron Tan 
Malaysia Jazeman Jaafar 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'29.203 5.646
11 38 China Ho-Pin Tung 
Monaco Stéphane Richelmi 
France Gabriel Aubry 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'29.294 5.737
12 36 France Nicolas Lapierre 
France Pierre Thiriet 
Brazil Andre Negrao 
Alpine A470 LMP2 1'29.432 5.875
13 28 France Jean-Eric Vergne 
France François Perrodo 
France Matthieu Vaxiviere 
Oreca 07 LMP2 1'30.795 7.238
14 29 Netherlands Giedo van der Garde 
Netherlands Nyck de Vries 
Netherlands Frits van Eerd 
Dallara P217 LMP2 1'31.440 7.883
15 50 France Romano Ricci 
France Erwin Creed 
Keiko lhara 
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 1'32.677 9.120

GTE results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Average Gap
1 95 Denmark Nicki Thiim 
Denmark Marco Sorensen 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'36.093  
2 82 Portugal Antonio Felix da Costa 
United Kingdom Tom Blomqvist 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'36.275 0.182
3 97 Belgium Maxime Martin 
United Kingdom Alex Lynn 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 1'36.362 0.269
4 67 United Kingdom Harry Tincknell 
Guernsey Andy Priaulx 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'36.453 0.360
5 71 United Kingdom Sam Bird 
Italy Davide Rigon 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'36.542 0.449
6 51 United Kingdom James Calado 
Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 1'36.544 0.451
7 81 Netherlands Nick Catsburg 
Germany Martin Tomczyk 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 1'36.737 0.644
8 91 Italy Gianmaria Bruni 
Austria Richard Lietz 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'36.776 0.683
9 66 Germany Stefan Mücke 
France Olivier Pla 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1'36.967 0.874
10 92 Denmark Michael Christensen 
France Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1'37.109 1.016
11 88 Italy Matteo Cairoli 
Italy Giorgio Roda 
Satoshi Hoshino 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'38.336 2.243
12 98 Portugal Pedro Lamy 
Canada Paul Dalla Lana 
Austria Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 1'38.400 2.307
13 77 Germany Christian Ried 
Australia Matt Campbell 
Julien Andlauer 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'38.524 2.431
14 56 Germany Jörg Bergmeister 
United States Patrick Lindsey 
Norway Egidio Perfetti 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'38.578 2.485
15 90 United Kingdom Jonathan Adam 
Turkey Salih Yoluc 
Ireland Charles Eastwood 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 1'38.598 2.505
16 61 Ireland Matthew Griffin 
Singapore Mok Weng Sun 
Japan Keita Sawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 1'39.330 3.237
17 86 United Kingdom Michael Wainwright 
United Kingdom Benjamin Barker 
Thomas Preining 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 1'39.355 3.262
18 54 Italy Giancarlo Fisichella 
Italy Francesco Castellacci 
Switzerland Thomas Flohr 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 1'39.371 3.278
19 70 Monaco Olivier Beretta 
Italy Eddie Cheever III 
Japan Motoaki Ishikawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 1'39.885 3.792
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About this article

Series WEC
Event Fuji
Drivers Jose Maria Lopez , Kamui Kobayashi
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Gary Watkins
Article type Qualifying report