Silverstone Pole For Toyota Gazoo Racing

From left, Kobayashi, Lopez and Conway
From left, Kobayashi, Lopez and Conway

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will start the 6 Hours of Silverstone from pole position after a one-two in qualifying for the first round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi earned pole position with a combined average lap time of 1min 37.304secs in the #7 TS050 HYBRID they share with Jose Maria Lopez. That was achieved via the fastest lap ever recorded by an LMP1 car at Silverstone in WEC.

The pole-sitting #7 crew will start next to their sister car after Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson set the second quickest time, in the #8 they race alongside Sebastien Buemi.

That meant TOYOTA locked out the front of the grid for the first time since Bahrain in 2013, while the team’s 11th pole position in WEC is its first since Fuji in 2014.

Qualifying took place in sunny but cool conditions, with track temperatures of just 17°C. Kamui and Kazuki took the wheel of their respective cars at the start, with Kamui setting the fastest lap of the session at his first attempt.

Mike took over the #7 but needed two flying laps to secure pole position, and the World Championship point that comes with it, after his first lap was disallowed due to a track limits violation. Like Mike, Anthony also took on new tires and delivered a tidy lap to complete an all-TOYOTA front row.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]The best of the Porsche's low-downforce 919 Hybrids trailed the pole-winning Toyota by 1.311 seconds.

Nick Tandy set the fastest Porsche time with a 1m38.454s, which gave him and Neel Jani third place on the grid with a 1m38.615s average.

That put them four tenths up on the second Porsche in which Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard averaged 1m39.063s.

Alex Lynn and Pierre Thiriet took qualifying honors in LMP2 for the G-Drive Racing squad.

Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx took GTE-Pro pole position for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing .

The Ford drivers qualified by a margin of 0.809 seconds ahead of the No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE of Sam Bird and Davide Rigon.

Tincknell, Priaulx and Pipo Derani will therefore start the No. 67 Ford GT from the front of the GTE field in Sunday’s race, with a combined lap time of 1:56.202 from the two qualifying drivers.

A decision to change one side of tires of the Aston Martin Vantage GTEs didn’t pay off, with Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim only managing third in the No. 95 car, while the sister car was fifth.

Olivier Pla and Stefan Muecke slotted in fourth in the No. 66 Ford.

Aston Martin Racing did manage to secure the GTE-Am class pole however, with Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy setting an average lap time of 1:59.562 in the No. 98 Aston Martin.

This put them over one second clear of the Spirit of Race Ferrari of Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Miguel Molina.

The Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR will start from third in GTE-Am, in a poor qualifying session for the Pro-class Porsches which left the two mid-engined cars last in their category.

Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana took qualifying honours in GTE Am for Aston Martin.

Pole winning #7 Toyota
Pole winning #7 Toyota

TS050 HYBRID #7 (Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose María Lopez)

Free practice 3: 4th (1min 40.656secs). 20 laps

Qualifying: 1st (1min 37.304secs average)

Mike Conway (TS050 HYBRID #7): “I am happy to get pole. It’s a strong start. Hopefully we can keep that pace in the race but it will not be an easy battle I’m sure. I was disappointed with the first lap which got deleted, but that’s the way qualifying goes sometimes. The second lap was enough to get pole by a decent margin, I just made it a little harder for myself."

Kamui Kobayashi (TS050 HYBRID #7): “I am really pleased with my lap; it’s difficult to see how we could have gone quicker. The car was brilliant today and everyone in the team did a great job. Thanks to the team for their hard work over the winter to prepare a very quick car; I just did the final part of the job with my lap today. To have pole position for the start of the season is fantastic; it’s the best position to start the race."

TS050 HYBRID #8 (Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson, Kazuki Nakajima)

Free practice 3: 1st (1min 39.476secs). 27 laps

Qualifying: 2nd (1min 37.593secs average)

Anthony Davidson (TS050 HYBRID #8): “It’s been a good day and great to see both TOYOTAs on the front row. It’s been a long time since we saw that. It was a great performance and a testament to the team’s hard work over the winter in Higashi-Fuji and Cologne so a big thanks to them. Now we have the hard work tomorrow when we expect a tougher challenge."

Kazuki Nakajima (TS050 HYBRID #8): “It has been a very positive day for the team. It was an amazing lap from Kamui; I don’t know how he managed it. Personally it was nice to drive in qualifying, especially here at Silverstone which is one of my favourite circuits. Tomorrow is the day that counts so that has been our focus all weekend. We have been quite happy with the long runs so hopefully we are strong."

Results

POS CLASS DRIVER CAR TIME GAP
1 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota 1m37.304s 0.000s
2 LMP1 S.Buemi, A.Davidson, K.Nakajima Toyota 1m37.593s 0.289s
3 LMP1 N.Jani, A.Lotterer, N.Tandy Porsche 1m38.615s 1.311s
4 LMP1 T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley Porsche 1m39.063s 1.759s
5 LMP2 R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet, A.Lynn ORECA/Gibson 1m44.387s 7.083s
6 LMP2 N.Lapierre, G.Menezes, M.Rao Alpine/Gibson 1m44.433s 7.129s
7 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent ORECA/Gibson 1m44.591s 7.287s
8 LMP2 J.Canal, N.Prost, B.Senna ORECA/Gibson 1m45.194s 7.890s
9 LMP1 O.Webb, J.Rossiter, D.Kraihamer ENSO CLM/Nissan 1m45.235s 7.931s
10 LMP2 M.Beche, D.H.Hansson, N.Piquet Jr. ORECA/Gibson 1m45.323s 8.019s
11 LMP2 T.Graves, J.Hirschi, J-E.Vergne ORECA/Gibson 1m46.102s 8.798s
12 LMP2 F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, E.Collard ORECA/Gibson 1m46.183s 8.879s
13 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, S.Trummer, V.Petrov ORECA/Gibson 1m46.494s 9.190s
14 LMP2 D.Cheng, A.Brundle, T.Gommendy ORECA/Gibson 1m47.250s 9.946s
15 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell, L.Derani Ford 1m56.202s 18.898s
16 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird Ferrari 1m57.011s 19.707s
17 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen, R.Stanaway Aston Martin 1m57.117s 19.813s
18 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla, B.Johnson Ford 1m57.269s 19.965s
19 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam, D.Serra Aston Martin 1m57.414s 20.110s
20 GTE Pro J.Calado, A.P.Guidi Ferrari 1m57.466s 20.162s
21 GTE Pro R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki Porsche 1m58.003s 20.699s
22 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche 1m58.066s 20.762s
23 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin 1m59.562s 22.258s
24 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, M.Molina Ferrari 2m00.608s 23.304s
25 GTE Am C.Ried, M.Cairoli, M.Dienst Porsche 2m01.347s 24.043s
26 GTE Am W.Sun Mok, K.Sawa, M.Griffin Ferrari 2m01.621s 24.317s
27 GTE Am M.Wainwright, B.Barker, N.Foster Porsche 2m01.925s 24.621s

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