Nakajima hands Toyota pole for the Six Hours of Fuji

Kazuki Nakajima snatched the pole for the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Fuji. The Toyota driver held nothing back when he flew around the Japanese circuit at 1:27.499 in the #7 Toyota Racing TS030 Hybrid.

“I am really happy to get this pole position at Fuji Speedway; it means a lot to me and the team. It was cool to see the reaction of everyone in the garage at the end of the session because we had big support and also big expectations as this is our home country, our home track," said Nakajima.

Our aim is to win the race; we will push hard.

Kazuki Nakajima

Actually the Hybrid system development facility, Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre, is just a few kilometres away from the circuit.

Nakajima added, "We saw this morning that the car was quick enough to fight for pole position and, even though I had a bit of traffic at the start of qualifying, I managed to get a clean lap. It is a good achievement but it is still Saturday; the race means a lot more than qualifying. It will be a tricky race, particularly because it is difficult to cope with traffic in the last sector. So we will have to be careful and make no mistakes. Our aim is to win the race; we will push hard.”

The two Audi Sport Team Joest R18 e-tron quattros ended qualifying in second and third. Benoit Treluyer was the fastest of the teammates with a 1:27.639 in the #1 Audi. Tom Kristensen’s best was a 1:28.370.

Overall pole winner Kazuki Nakajima, quickest privateer Neel Jani, LMP2 pole winner Stéphane Sarrazin
Overall pole winner Kazuki Nakajima, quickest privateer Neel Jani, LMP2 pole winner Stéphane Sarrazin

Photo by: Toyota Racing

The privateers in the LM P1 had a tight battle with Danny Watts setting a fast lap in the #21 Strakka HPD ARX-03a Honda. As the 20 minute session was coming to an end, Neel Jani was on a flying lap aiming to place the #12 Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota on the privateer pole position. With a time of 1:29.871, Jani brought up more cheers from the Toyota contingency. David Brabham was a close third in the #22 JRM HPD ARX-03a Honda.

"This pole position of the FIA WEC Privateer field means a lot for us," said Jani. “And we know that we are taking part in the ‘big Japanese power battle’ that will take place at Fuji Speedway during tomorrow's race between HPD and Toyota. The pole position is ‘only’ for prestige but everyone wants to have it.”

Stephane Sarrazin grabbed pole position for LM P2 with his flying lap of 1:32.367 for the Starworks Motorsports #44 HPD ARX-03b Honda.

Second was John Martin in the #25 ADR-Delta Oreca 03 Nissan. His hot lap was a 1:32.548. Placing third in LM P2 was the #32 Lotus Lola in the hands of Vitantonio Liuzzi with a lap time of 1:32.748.

#77 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 RSR: Richard Lietz, Marc Lieb
#77 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche 911 RSR: Richard Lietz, Marc Lieb

Photo by: James M. Holland

Marc Lieb set a flying lap at 1:40.289 to land the LM GTE Pro category pole position. He turned his fastest time in the #77 Felbermayr Proton Porsche 911 RSR with under 10 minutes remaining in the GTE qualifying session.

AF Corse #71 Ferrari F458 Italia was the first to set a hot lap at 1:41.991 by Gianmaria Bruni for second. Third went to Stefan Mucke in the #97 Aston Martin Vantage V8

For the LM GTE Am class, it was Corvette all the way from the green flag to the pole. Jean-Phillipe Belloc had the honors in the #70 Larbre Competition Corvette C6 ZR1 with his best lap, also a record, of 1:41.386.

Second went to Michele Rugolo for the Krohn Racing with a 1:41.701 in the #57 Ferrari F458 Italia. Paolo Ruberti was third for the #88 Felbermayr Proton Porsche 911 RSR with his best at 1:41.711.

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About this article
Series WEC
Drivers Gianmaria Bruni , David Brabham , Tom Kristensen , Stéphane Sarrazin , Benoit Tréluyer , Marc Lieb , Vitantonio Liuzzi , Neel Jani , Michele Rugolo , Paolo Ruberti , Stefan Mücke , Kazuki Nakajima , Richard Lietz , John Martin , Danny Watts
Teams Team Joest , Nissan Motorsport , Rebellion Racing , Toyota Racing , AF Corse , Krohn Racing , Larbre Competition , Starworks Motorsports , JRM Racing , Team Felbermayr
Article type Qualifying report
Tags audi, corvette, featured, fuji, japan, nakajima, porsche, toyota, wec