Spa WEC: Toyota on pole, Fittipaldi suffers big crash

Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi took pole position for the FIA World Endurance Championship opener at Spa ahead of Toyota teammates Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima. 

Conway outpaced Alonso by just under half a second on the opening runs with a 1m54.679s compared with a 1m55.143s.

Kobayashi then set the fastest time of the session with a 1m54.488s, just under three tenths up on Nakajima's effort og 1m54.781s.

That gave Conway and Kobayashi a 1m54.583s average aboard the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, nearly four tenths up on Alonso and Nakajima's 1m54.962s.

Neel Jani and Bruno Senna took third in the best of the Rebellion Racing entries with a 1m56.425s average, which was 1.8s shy of the pole. 

They ended up just over half a second up on Thomas Laurent and Gustavo Menezes in the second of the Rebellion-Gibson R-13s. 

Vitaly Petrov and Mikhail Aleshin took fifth in the only of SMP Racing BR Engineering-AER BR1s to set a time. The sister car trigged an early-session red flag when Stephane Sarrazin stopped on the Kemmel Straight with what was described as an "engine system problem".

The 25-minute session was interrupted for more than half an hour after Pietro Fittipaldi crashed heavily at Eau Rouge in DragonSpeed's Gibson-engined BR1. 

The Brazilian was transported to the circuit medical centre after his extrication from the car. 

Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet scored pole in the LMP2 class aboard the Signatech Alpine Oreca. 

Their 2m02.405s average put them just one hundredth of a second up on the 2m02.429s from G-Drive drivers Jean-Eric Vergne and Andrea Pizzitola.

The two Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas took third and fourth positions, Ho-Pin Tung and Gabriel Aubry edging out Jazeman Jafaar and Nabil Jeffri by two tenths. 

Ford sweeps front row in GTE Pro

The Ganassi Ford team took one-two in GTE Pro, with Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell claiming the class pole ahead of Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke. 

Pla topped the times after the first runs in the #66 Ford GT with a 2m12.420s, which was just under two tenths up on Priaulx's mark. 

Tincknell followed up with a 2m13.290s, which compared with Mucke's best of 2m13.641s. That gave the British duo an average of 2m12.947s, under a tenth up on Pla and Mucke's 2m13.030s.

Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni were less than a tenth behind in third aboard the best of the factory Porsche 911 RSRs on a 2m13.034s average. 

The second Porsche took fourth in the hands of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre on 2m13.034s. 

Best of the rest was the MTEK BMW M8 GTE of Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Felix da Costa on 2m14.017s, three tenths up on reigning class champions James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi in the fastest of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs. 

The best of the new-generation Aston Martin Vantage GTEs took eighth in the hands of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin. 

Matt Campbell and Christian Ried claimed GTE Am pole in their Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR by just two thousandths of a second from Aston Martin Racing drivers Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana.

Prototype qualifying results:

Pos.#DriversCarClassTimeGap
1 7 japan Kamui Kobayashi 
united_kingdom Mike Conway 
argentina Jose Maria Lopez 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'54.583  
2 8 spain Fernando Alonso 
japan Kazuki Nakajima 
switzerland Sébastien Buemi 
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1'54.962 0.379
3 1 germany Andre Lotterer 
brazil Bruno Senna 
switzerland Neel Jani 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'56.425 1.842
4 3 switzerland Mathias Beche 
france Thomas Laurent 
united_states Gustavo Menezes 
Rebellion R13 LMP1 1'56.992 2.409
5 11 russia Vitaly Petrov 
russia Mikhail Aleshin 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'58.247 3.664
6 4 united_kingdom Oliver Webb 
austria Dominik Kraihamer 
france Tom Dillmann 
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 1'58.697 4.114
7 10 sweden Henrik Hedman 
united_kingdom Ben Hanley 
brazil Pietro Fittipaldi 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 1'59.158 4.575
8 36 france Nicolas Lapierre 
france Pierre Thiriet 
brazil Andre Negrao 
Alpine A470 LMP2 2'02.405 7.822
9 26 france Jean-Eric Vergne 
russia Roman Rusinov 
france Andrea Pizzitola 
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'02.429 7.846
10 38 china Ho-Pin Tung 
monaco Stéphane Richelmi 
france Gabriel Aubry 
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'02.824 8.241
11 37 malaysia Nabil Jeffri 
malaysia Weiron Tan 
malaysia Jazeman Jaafar 
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'03.023 8.440
12 31 venezuela Pastor Maldonado 
france Nathanael Berthon 
mexico Roberto Gonzalez 
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'03.420 8.837
13 28 france Loic Duval 
france François Perrodo 
france Matthieu Vaxiviere 
Oreca 07 LMP2 2'04.703 10.120
14 29 netherlands Jan Lammers 
netherlands Giedo van der Garde 
netherlands Frits van Eerd 
Dallara P217 LMP2 2'05.502 10.919
15 50 brazil Fernando Rees 
france Romano Ricci 
france Erwin Creed 
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 2'05.739 11.156
16 5 united_kingdom Dean Stoneman 
united_kingdom Charlie Robertson 
Ginetta G60-LT-P1 LMP1 no time -
17 6 united_kingdom Oliver Turvey 
united_kingdom Alex Brundle 
united_kingdom Oliver Rowland 
Ginetta G60-LT-P1 LMP1 no time -
18 17 france Stéphane Sarrazin 
russia Matevos Isaakyan 
russia Egor Orudzhev 
BR Engineering BR1 LMP1 no time -

GTE qualifying results:

Pos.#DriversCarClassAvg TimeGap
1 67 united_kingdom Harry Tincknell 
brazil Tony Kanaan 
guernsey Andy Priaulx 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 2'12.947  
2 66 germany Stefan Mücke 
france Olivier Pla 
united_states Billy Johnson 
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 2'13.030 0.083
3 91 italy Gianmaria Bruni 
austria Richard Lietz 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 2'13.034 0.087
4 92 denmark Michael Christensen 
france Kevin Estre 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 2'13.352 0.405
5 82 portugal Antonio Felix da Costa
united_kingdom Tom Blomqvist 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 2'14.017 1.070
6 51 united_kingdom James Calado 
italy Alessandro Pier Guidi 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'14.385 1.438
7 71 united_kingdom Sam Bird 
italy Davide Rigon 
Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2'15.104 2.157
8 97 united_kingdom Jonathan Adam 
belgium Maxime Martin 
united_kingdom Alex Lynn 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'15.127 2.180
9 81 netherlands Nick Catsburg 
germany Martin Tomczyk 
BMW M8 GTE LMGTE PRO 2'15.142 2.195
10 95 denmark Marco Sorensen 
denmark Nicki Thiim 
united_kingdom Darren Turner 
Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE PRO 2'16.004 3.057
11 77 germany Christian Ried 
australia Matt Campbell 
france  Julien Andlauer 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'16.357 3.410
12 98 portugal Pedro Lamy 
canada Paul Dalla Lana 
austria Mathias Lauda 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'16.359 3.412
13 56 germany Jörg Bergmeister 
united_states Patrick Lindsey 
norway Egidio Perfetti 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'16.637 3.690
14 86 united_kingdom Michael Wainwright 
united_kingdom Ben Barker 
australia Alex Davison 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'16.734 3.787
15 88 united_arab_emirates Khaled Al Qubaisi 
italy Matteo Cairoli 
italy Giorgio Roda 
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE AM 2'16.768 3.821
16 90 turkey Salih Yoluc 
united_kingdom Euan Hankey 
ireland Charlie Eastwood 
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE AM 2'17.627 4.680
17 70 monaco Olivier Beretta 
italy  Eddie Cheever III 
japan Motoaki Ishikawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'18.512 5.565
18 54 italy Giancarlo Fisichella 
italy Francesco Castellacci 
switzerland Thomas Flohr 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'18.917 5.970
19 61 ireland Matt Griffin 
singapore Mok Weng Sun 
japan Keita Sawa 
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 2'19.445 6.498
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About this article
Series WEC
Event Spa-Francorchamps
Track Spa-Francorchamps
Drivers Mike Conway , Kamui Kobayashi , Pietro Fittipaldi
Teams Toyota Racing , Dragonspeed
Article type Qualifying report