Fuji WEC: Webber/Bernhard heads a Porsche 1-2

Mark Webber and Timo Bernhard combined effort preserved Porsche's 100 percent pole record at Fuji this afternoon as they led another Porsche 919 Hybrid 1-2.

It was #17 Porsche's third pole of the season after the Australian and German set an average best lap of 1m22.763s. Webber peaked on a best of 1m22.639s which was the fastest LMP1 time ever recorded at Fuji.

Audi closed the gap to Porsche with the #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer getting to within 0.3s of the leading 919 Hybrid. However, a last gasp effort by Marc Lieb saw the #18 Porsche pip the Audi by 0.011s.

The #8 Audi of Loic Duval and Lucas Di Grassi recovered from gear selection issues in the third practice earlier today, to qualify in fourth place.

The Toyota Racing TS 040 Hybrid’s start fifth and sixth but were far off the pace from Porsche and Audi cars. The team, racing on home turf this weekend, have long since ceased development on the TS 040, as they concentrate on the all-new TS 050 for 2016.

The #1 car of Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima shaded the Mike Conway and Stephane Sarrazin led #2 Toyota this afternoon.

The LMP2 saw a 1-2 for the Russian entered, French run G-Drive racing squad. Sam Bird and Julien Canal sealed their second consecutive pole and reduce the points lead to KCMG to nine.

While Bird was impressive, it was Canal who caught the eye as the silver categorised driver lapped within half a second of his teammate. The second G-Drive Ligier driven by Gustavo Yacaman and Ricardo Gonzalez starts second.

Nick Tandy was eyeing an attack on the G-Drive pole sitter elect in the final five minutes of the session but spun at turn six and glanced the wall. The ORECA 05-Nissan emerged unscathed but was unable to improve its time and will start fourth behind the Team SARD Morand Morgan driven by Oliver Webb and Pierre Ragues today.

Continuing the theme of 1-2 starting successes was the AF Corse team which will start from the front row in the ultra-competitive LMGTE PRO class. James Calado and Davide Rigon notched up their first ever WEC pole by averaging 1m38.295s in their #71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia.

Reigning LMGTE Pro champions Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander will start from second while the Aston Martin of Fernando Rees and Alex MacDowell rounded out the top three. Just 0.733s covers the entire seven car LMGTE Pro field.

The Larbre Chevrolet Corvette C7 driven by Paolo Ruberti and Gianluca Roda claimed pole with an average best of 1m39.901s. It was the maiden pole for the French team.

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About this article
Series WEC
Event Fuji
Track Fuji International Speedway
Drivers Mark Webber , Timo Bernhard , Brendon Hartley
Teams Porsche Team
Article type Qualifying report