Kamui Kobayashi: “I’m really pleased even if the lap itself wasn’t perfect”

Credit: Marcel Langer

Kamui Kobayashi secured pole position for Toyota Gazoo Racing for the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Saturday with a new LMP1 lap record at the Shanghai International Circuit, but the Japanese racer felt that there was still more time to be found.

Mike Conway started the session by setting a time of 1:43.139s, with Kobayashi then taking over the #7 TS050 Hybrid to set a new track record lap of 1:42.526s, with their average of 1:42.832s enough to deny the #1 Porsche LMP1 Team of Neel Jani, Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy pole by 0.440 seconds.

Toyota has been the manufacturer to beat this weekend in China, but even with a lap record-breaking lap, Kobayashi felt that with a perfect lap, he could have gone even faster, which is ominous for the rest of the field.

“I’m really pleased even if the lap itself wasn’t perfect,” said Kobayashi. “I didn’t try new tyres 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.”

Conway, who shares the car with Kobayashi and José María López, hopes they have enough in hand to be able to remain in front during Sunday’s race, with the threat of Porsche always there.

“We have topped every session so far this weekend so I’m really happy,” said Conway. “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.”