Both Toyota TS030 Hybrids qualified in the top five on their Le Mans debut, a result their Team President hailed as “a real achievement”.
Anthony Davidson placed the #8 challenger third on the grid, only just over a second away from pole position. Kazuki Nakajima recorded the fastest time for the #7 at the end of the final session, putting it fifth on the grid for the twice round-the-clock epic.
“I am really proud of the whole team; Toyota Motorsport GmbH in Cologne, Motor Sport Division in Higashifuji and the Toyota Motor Corporation Hybrid Department,” declared the man in charge Yoshiaki Kinoshita.
“Everyone has worked so hard to get here and at times it has been challenging; but we really pushed to be here and it was certainly worth the effort. Two cars in the top five is a real achievement for this team's first race, on only our third day on track at Le Mans.
“Now we can't wait for the race, when we expect a tough but exciting challenge. Congratulations to Audi for a hard-fought pole position which highlights how difficult they will be to beat in the race.”
Davidson feels that the team has the chance to do well in the race, as he expects their car to be better in race trim.
“After this qualifying session, I feel that we almost got everything possible from the car,” said the man from Hemel Hempstead. “I did a good lap and I think we can be happy with what we achieved. I am still very new at the wheel of the TS030 Hybrid and I am going faster and faster; the car is nicely balanced and I feel comfortable with it.
“I am really looking forward to the race, to see what we can do; I hope we will have a reliable car. I think we surprised some people as we are so close to pole position and I actually still think that we have a stronger race car than a qualifying car. Le Mans is very a tough race but if we have no problems, if all is going well, we can be on the podium.”
Nakajima added: “It was a fantastic experience for me to have the chance to attack with the new tyres. I was a good feeling and I really enjoyed it, apart from the traffic. But we knew the traffic would be less at the end because the others started to pit.
“Our strategy was really good; I only had one car to deal with in the last sector and I only lost a little time. It's great to see Anthony getting into the top three, as well as having both TS030 HYBRIDs in the top six for our very first race.
“I think we can have a good race tomorrow and hopefully we can finish it with no problems. Big thanks to the team because we got over some difficult times to get here. We had a bit of problem in between the qualifying sessions but we got back on the track and could compete hard with Audi. It was a big, big team effort.”