Toyota Back To The Top In Final Fuji Practice


Kazuki Nakajima put the #7 TS030 Hybrid fastest in the final practice (Credit: Frederic le Floch/DPPI)

The quartet of works LMP1 cars finished the final free practice session for the Six Hours of Fuji FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) race with best times split by less than half a second.

Kazuki Nakajima, star of last year’s race was the fastest man of the Saturday morning session in the Toyota TS030 Hybrid he shares with Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre. He took top spot after just 17 minutes of the 60 minute session with a lap of 1:27.117.

Having been scaled back to a single car since the 24 Hours of Le Mans Toyota have again brought a pair of cars for their home race. The #8 TS030 – the car which has remained part of the series in the races since June – was fourth fastest, Swiss driver Sebastien Buemi faster than co-drivers Anthony Davidson and Stephane Sarrazin.

Nakajima’s lap pushed Benoit Treluyer and the #1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro back to second, Treluyer himself having taken the top spot away from Allan McNish in the #2 car. Neither of the Audi teams were able to improve upon their early times, the cars’ best times 1:27.263 and 1:27.298 remaining until the checkered flag the top four split by just 0.419 seconds.

Rebellion Racing’s Lola-Toyota of Andrea Belicchi and Mathias Beche was fifth fastest overall, the privateers 2.3 seconds off the overall pace.

Olivier Pla was the fastest man of the OAK Racing Morgan versus G-Drive Oreca battle in LMP2 – the two teams locking out the top four spots between them.

Pla took the #24 Morgan-Nissan around in 1:32.282 with James Walker and Mike Conway second and third fastest in the pair of G-Drive liveried, Walker faster in the DeltaADR entered car. Greaves Motorsport’s normal entry – officially entered under the Gainer International banner for the Japanese weekend – was fifth fastest in class.

Porsche teams led both the LMGTE classes. Patrick Pilet was fractionally faster than Aston Martin Racing’s Stefan Mucke in the Porsche AG Team Manthey car he shares with Joerg Bergmeister. Marc Lieb was third fastest in the second works Porsche.

The LMGTE pro class was reduced to five cars for the session, the #71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 sidelined with a fuel system problem that looks set to keep the duo of Toni Vilander and Kamui Kobayashi out of qualifying while a part is flown to the track from Italy.

Paolo Ruberti led the Proton Competition team to the top of the Am ranks, his lap more than half a second faster than Davide Rigon’s effort in the 8Star Motorsports Ferrari that was second best in the class.