Toyota over Porsche in Shanghai qualifying

The pole winning #7 Toyota
The pole winning #7 Toyota

Toyota took pole position for the 6 Hours of Shanghai in qualifying for the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in China today.

The #7 TS050 HYBRID of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez had been fastest in all three practice sessions and kept up the pace in qualifying, earning their fourth pole of the season by 0.440secs.

After a difficult qualifying session the two Porsche 919 Hybrids will start from positions two and four on the grid.

The trio of Neel Jani (CH), Andre Lotterer (DE) and Nick Tandy (GB) qualified in second position.

Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima will start tomorrow’s race from third position after a more challenging qualifying session in the #8 TS050 HYBRID.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Championship leaders Earl Bamber (NZ), Timo Bernhard (DE) and Brendon Hartley (NZ) had to be satisfied with qualifying fourth. At the end of the 20-minute qualifying session, a puncture prevented Bamber from a further attempt to improve.

Saturday saw Shanghai in bright sunshine with an ambient temperature of around 16 degrees Celsius. Race day is also expected to be dry. The six-hour race will start at 11:00 hrs local time (04:00 hrs in Central Europe)

LMP2 pole went to Bruno Senna and Julien Canal in the Rebellion ORECA-Gibson 07.

Senna posted the fastest P2 lap of a session with a 1m48.509s, which Canal followed up on with a 1m49.926s to give the car a 1m49.217s average.

The #1 Porsche will start 2nd
The #1 Porsche will start 2nd

That put them a whopping two seconds up on the G-Drive ORECA qualified by Nico Muller and Leo Roussel.

The second Rebellion car driven by Nelson Piquet Jr and David Heinemeier Hansson was third, while the championship-leading Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA ended up fourth in the hands of Oliver Jarvis and Thomas Laurent.

Reigning champions Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim took their first GTE Pro pole of 2017 in their Aston Martin Vantage GTE.

The Danish duo ended up on 1m59.697s average, which put them just over two tenths up on the 2nd quick Porsche of 1m59.916s.

James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi were third in their AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE.

The two Ganassi Ford GTs ended up in a disappointing fourth and fifth position.

“Qualifying didn't quite go to plan," said Dave Pericak, global director, Ford Performance. “I thought we had a better run in us. The Ferrari got in front of the #67 when it was on fresh tires, which didn’t help but it’s going to be a long race tomorrow. We have strong cars and we’ll be ready for the race."

#67 Ford GT with Priaulx at the wheel
#67 Ford GT with Priaulx at the wheel

“That was a disappointing session for us as I came across a Ferrari parked in the middle of the first corner on my flying lap," Priaulx said. “That took the peak out of my lap so I managed a reasonable time but obviously not a pole position time. Harry then went out and did a great job to get us up to fourth place, which really saved us. We’ve got a lot of work to do tomorrow but as always we’ll give it everything we’ve got.

The focus for the #66 Ford GT during the practice sessions was to work towards the perfect set up for the race. Fifth place in qualifying sets Mucke and Pla up for an assault on the podium tomorrow.

“We have been concentrating on race strategy so we only used one set of tires and did the minimum number of laps in qualifying," Mucke said. “I’m sure we could have sneaked out a quicker time but our focus is on the race as tire drop off is a significant factor here. We need to be on the best rubber to maximize our potential and we should also remember that anything can happen at the start of this race."

“Our long race simulation runs have been strong so we’re looking forward to the race," said WEC Team Principal, George Howard-Chappell. “It’s interesting that some of the cars ahead of us chose to use two sets of tires in qualifying, which may have an effect in the race."

Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana took a sixth pole of the year aboard their Aston Martin in GTE AM.


#7 pole winning drivers
#7 pole winning drivers

Mike Conway (Toyota TS050 #7): “We have topped every session so far this weekend so I’m really happy. My lap was okay but I felt I could have been a little quicker because there was a lot of grip. I was expecting Kamui to go quicker and he did. It’s a great start; hopefully we can stay at the front through the race."

Kamui Kobayashi (Toyota TS050 #7): “I’m really pleased even if the lap itself wasn’t perfect. I didn’t try new tires before qualifying so it was tricky to adjust. But overall the car was really good and I was 100% confident in it. We have been strong all week; the team has done a great job so far."

Andre Lotterer (Porsche 919 #1): “To start second on the grid is good for tomorrow’s race. Initially we wanted to fight for pole position, but the Toyota was really strong. Nick did a good lap before I jumped into the car. My first lap was deleted because of track limits. On my second attempt I had less traffic and could improve, despite the tires not being in ideal conditions anymore."

Nick Tandy (Porsche 919 #1): “It is obviously good to be on the front row and have a clear look at turn one at the start. We don’t like the fact that we are behind one Toyota but the good thing is we are in front of the other. It is clear that it will be a big fight and a tough race between the four LMP1-H cars. We look forward to it and congratulations to Toyota for today."

Qualifying Results

1 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m42.832s
2 LMP1 N.Jani, A.Lotterer, N.Tandy Porsche LMP Team Porsche 0.440s
3 LMP1 S.Buemi, A.Davidson, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 0.613s
4 LMP1 T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley Porsche LMP Team Porsche 0.665s
5 LMP2 J.Canal, N.Prost, B.Senna Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 6.385s
6 LMP2 R.Rusinov, L.Roussel, N.Muller G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson 6.640s
7 LMP2 M.Beche, D.H.Hansson, N.Piquet Jr. Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 6.862s
8 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 6.911s
9 LMP2 N.Lapierre, G.Menezes, A.Negrao Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 7.051s
10 LMP2 M.Rao, B.Hanley, J-E.Vergne CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 7.585s
11 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, S.Trummer, V.Petrov CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 7.895s
12 LMP2 F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, E.Collard TDS Racing ORECA/Gibson 8.245s
13 LMP2 D.Cheng, A.Brundle, T.Gommendy Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 8.339s
14 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 16.865s
15 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 17.084s
16 GTE Pro J.Calado, A.P.Guidi AF Corse Ferrari 17.415s
17 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 17.467s
18 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 17.500s
19 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 17.922s
20 GTE Pro R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki Porsche GT Team Porsche 17.951s
21 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 18.309s
22 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 19.525s
23 GTE Am C.Ried, M.Cairoli, M.Dienst Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 19.933s
24 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, M.Molina Spirit of Race Ferrari 20.230s
25 GTE Am Mok W.S., K.Sawa, M.Griffin Clearwater Racing Ferrari 20.663s
26 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, B.Barker, N.Foster Gulf Racing Porsche 34.205s

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