Toyota Racing took a popular pole position for its home race following a close qualifying session at Fuji Speedway in Japan, venue for the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Six Hours of Fuji.
Kazuki Nakajima, who returned to the #7 TS030 Hybrid this week alongside Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre, set the fastest lap of the afternoon, 0.140secs faster than the nearest challenger Audi.
That result delivered the second pole position for Toyota Racing in its first five races and comes just a few kilometers away from the Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre where the Toyota Hybrid System - Racing is developed.
Toyota Racing’s home race saw a large and enthusiastic crowd cheering on the #7 TS030 Hybrid, and Kazuki answered the challenge with a brilliant second flying lap, having encountered traffic on his first effort.
Benoit Treluyer converted his track knowledge at Fuji into a good grid position. The Frenchman, who drove in Japan for twelve years in his career, missed pole position by just a very narrow margin on Saturday. In the end, with his lap time of 1m 27.639s, the 35-year-old two-time Le Mans winner was lacking merely 14 hundredths of a second behind Kazuki Nakajima, who managed to set the fastest time in the Toyota.
The number "1" Audi was directly trailed by Tom Kristensen in the sister car. The Le Mans record winner at the wheel of the hybrid vehicle designated as car number "2" set the third-fastest lap at 1m 28.370s.
Kazuki Nakajima: “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. 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.”
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