Kobayashi claims Hypercar pole; Estre stars for Porsche in LMGTE Pro

Kamui Kobayashi took pole position for tomorrow’s opening round the 2021 FIA World Endurance Championship, the TOTAL 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, while Kevin Estre starred with a brilliant lap in LMGTE Pro.

The action-packed qualifying sessions ushered in a new era of endurance racing that witnessed Kobayashi taking the first-ever pole position and point for a Hypercar categorized entry.

The No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing entered GR010-Hybrid set a best lap of 2m00.747s to head the sister No. 8 car of Kazuki Nakajima by 0.519s.

#8 Toyota, 2nd quick

The third Hypercar entered package of Alpine Elf Matmut didn’t set a time after a technical issue compromised Andre Negrao during the new 10-minute qualifying format.

Kevin Estre took a brilliant pole position in the No. 92 Porsche GT Team entered Porsche 911 RSR-19 after scorching to a best lap of 2m11.219s. This sealed pole by a staggering 1.1s and saw the fastest ever WEC lap in the LMGTE Pro category.

Kevin Estre and Neel Jani

In Estre’s wake was the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE EVO driven by Miguel Molina, who was compromised initially by having his first push lap effort struck off for a track limit violation.

Richard Lietz claimed third place driving the No.91 Porsche, ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No. 51 Ferrari.

Antonio Garcia completed the Pro class order after setting a 2m13.106 lap in the No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R he will share with Oliver Gavin.

In LMP2, Filipe Albuquerque continued his scintillating free practice form to take a clear pole position in the United Autosports USA entered Oreca-Gibson.

The reigning champions lapped 0.5s faster than the No.26 G-Drive Racing Aurus 01 driven by Nyck de Vries, although the Dutch ace looked to be mounting a challenge on his final lap but ultimately had to settle for a front-row start.

The LMGTE Am class fell to Ben Keating in the No. 33 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage after he put in a superb performance with a 2m14.660 best lap. That beat No.98 Aston Martin Racing entry of Paul Dalla Lana by just under a second.

#33 Aston Martin

Two separate incidents at Raidillon saw red flags fly with the No. 77 Dempsey Proton causing the first, while Egidio Perfetti’s Team Project 1 Porsche had a similar off. Both drivers were able to walk away unharmed from the sizeable impacts.

#77 Dempsey Porsche

Pole Quotes

Kamui Kobayashi (GR010 HYBRID #7): “I am very proud to take the first Hypercar pole. It’s not been an easy road to get here, we have had some problems this week, so it was not the perfect week up to now. But in qualifying we put everything together and the car was really good. I was really happy with my first lap on proper low fuel here, so I want to say thank you to the TOYOTA GAZOO Racing team, they have done a really great job with this car. It is a very difficult challenge to build a brand-new car to the Hypercar rules and I think to achieve that lap time is pretty good, so I am pleased to be a part of the story of this car. I think tomorrow is going to be more challenging, particularly with tire degradation, so there are still a lot of things to overcome. First of all we need to achieve reliability, and we need to finish the race cleanly, that is the priority.”

Kazuki Nakajima (GR010 HYBRID #8): “I have to say my lap wasn’t very clean. The car was quite good and I was happy with the handling on the new tires so it was an enjoyable lap, but I could have done a little better. Compared to the beginning of the Prologue we are happier with the car and also the track conditions. We have a better feeling, but still, I think the race will be quite difficult, especially double-stinting the tires. Hopefully, we can make the right decisions and fight for victory; that’s our target. Depending on the sessions through the weekend, sometimes we’ve had better pace on the long run and sometimes it has been car #7, so it’s difficult to predict, but of course we want to race hard and fight with the other GR010 HYBRID for the win.”

Qualifying Results

Pos No. Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 7 Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria Lopez Toyota GR010 – Hybrid HYPERCAR 2m00.747s 0.000s
2 8 Sébastien Buemi/Kazuki Nakajima/Brendon Hartley Toyota GR010 – Hybrid HYPERCAR 2m01.266s 0.519
3 22 Philip Hanson/Fabio Scherer/Filipe Albuquerque Oreca 07 LMP2 2m02.404s 1.657
4 36 Andre Negrao/Nicolas Lapierre/Matthieu Vaxiviere Alpine A480 HYPERCAR 2m02.652s 1.905
5 26 Roman Rusinov/Franco Colapinto/Nyck de Vries Aurus 01 LMP2 2m02.984s 2.237
6 29 Frits van Eerd/Giedo van der Garde/Job Van Uitert Oreca 07 LMP2 2m03.435s 2.688
7 70 Esteban Garcia/Loic Duval/Norman Nato Oreca 07 LMP2 2m03.475s 2.728
8 25 John Falb/Rui Andrade/Roberto Merhi Aurus 01 LMP2 2m03.485s 2.738
9 28 Sean Gelael/Stoffel Vandoorne/Tom Blomqvist Oreca 07 LMP2 2m03.516s 2.769
10 38 Roberto Gonzalez/Antonio Felix da Costa/Anthony Davidson Oreca 07 LMP2 2m03.625s 2.878
11 21 Henrik Hedman/Juan Pablo Montoya/Ben Hanley Oreca 07 LMP2 2m03.816s 3.069
12 24 Patrick Kelly/Gabriel Aubry/Simon Trummer Oreca 07 LMP2 2m03.869s 3.122
13 31 Robin Frijns/Ferdinand Habsburg/Charles Milesi Oreca 07 LMP2 2m03.915s 3.168
14 34 Jakub Smiechowski/Renger van der Zande/Alex Brundle Oreca 07 LMP2 2m04.207s 3.460
15 1 Tatiana Calderon/Sophia Flörsch/Beitske Visser Oreca 07 LMP2 2m05.284s 4.537
16 20 Jan Magnussen/Anders Fjordbach/Dennis Andersen Oreca 07 LMP2 2m05.522s 4.775
17 44 Miro Konopka/Tom Jackson/Darren Burke Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 2m07.051s 6.304
18 92 Kevin Estre/Neel Jani Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE PRO 2m11.219s 10.472
19 52 Daniel Serra/Miguel Molina Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2m12.351s 11.604
20 91 Gianmaria Bruni/Richard Lietz Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE PRO 2m12.370s 11.623
21 51 Alessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE PRO 2m12.443s 11.696
22 63 Antonio Garcia/Oliver Gavin Chevrolet Corvette C8.R LMGTE PRO 2m13.106s 12.359
23 33 Ben Keating/Dylan Pereira/Felipe Fraga Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2m14.660s 13.913
24 98 Paul Dalla Lana/Augusto Farfus/Marcos Gomes Aston Martin Vantage AMR LMGTE AM 2m15.615s 14.868
25 88 Andrew Haryanto/Marco Seefried/Alessio Picariello Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 2m16.319s 15.572
26 54 Thomas Flohr/Francesco Castellacci/Giancarlo Fisichella Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2m16.367s 15.620
27 83 François Perrodo/Nicklas Nielsen/Alessio Rovera Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2m17.560s 16.813
28 47 Roberto Lacorte/Giorgio Sernagiotto/Antonio Fuoco Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2m17.719s 16.972
29 85 Rahel Frey/Katherine Legge/Manuela Gostner Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2m18.452s 17.705
30 86 Michael Wainwright/Benjamin Barker/Tom Gamble Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM 2m18.813s 18.066
31 60 Claudio Schiavoni/Andrea Piccini/Matteo Cressoni Ferrari 488 GTE EVO LMGTE AM 2m20.356s 19.609
32 56 Egidio Perfetti/Matteo Cairoli/Riccardo Pera Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM
33 77 Christian Ried/Jaxon Evans/Matt Campbell Porsche 911 RSR – 19 LMGTE AM