Maiden Class Poles Claimed at 6 Hours of Fuji

by Alice Holloway
Toyota Gazoo Racing have taken their fourth front row lock out of the season.

Toyota Gazoo Racing have claimed pole for the 2018/19 FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Fuji despite EoT alterations. In a surprising surge of performance, Aston Martin Racing have claimed their first pole position with their new Vantage and DragonSpeed have claimed their first WEC pole position in LMP2.

WEC tried to bring the competition closer together before qualifying by making some final changes to the EoT in LMP1. The pace difference between the Privateers and the Hybrids was closer than it has been in the past, but it still wasn’t enough to beat the Toyotas.

The race will reveal how much of an effect the new EoT will have on the LMP1 grid.

It had been advantage #8 Toyota, driven by Fernando Alonso and Sébastien Buemi, but due to a violation of track limits from the Spaniard, his fastest lap was deleted, giving pole to the sister #7 car.

However, post qualifying, the #7 was found to have sped in the pit lane and was disqualified from the final result. This puts the #8 at the front of the grid for tomorrow’s race, with the Rebellion Racing #1 alongside them. The #7 will start at the back of the LMP1 grid in eighth.

The Privateers lined up two-by-two, with Rebellion finishing ahead of the two SMP Racing cars.

The first of two teams to take their maiden pole position this year was LMP2’s DragonSpeed entry. Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez both took the fastest times in their sessions of qualifying, giving them an average of 1:28.906 and a half a second advantage on the rest of the LMP2 field.

Keeping up their second-in-class appearence, the Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 took second place on tomorrow’s grid. Championship contenders #38 qualified third in class, whilst the class Championship leaders Signatech Alpine will line up behind them in fourth.

A incredible performance by Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen saw the DaneTrain take the maiden pole position for the new Aston Martin Vantage. It was close at the front, with the duo beating BMW MTEK Team‘s Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Felix da Costa to class pole by two-tenths of a second.

It was a twist in expected performance, as Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin put the second Aston Martin third, ahead of the fastest Ford. Fifth place was claimed by AF Corse’s Davide Rigon and Sam Bird.

Porsche GT Team couldn’t make it any higher than eighth, meaning they were the only manufacturer not to feature in the top six.

The LM GTE Am class gave Porsche something to smile about as Matteo Cairoli and WEC debutant Satoshi Hoshino put the #77 DempseyProton Racing on class pole. The #98 Aston Martin Racing lines up second in class, with class Championship leader #88 Dempsey Porsche capping off the top three.

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