24h Le Mans
FIA WEC – The #7 Toyota takes the pole at Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
Thanks to Kamui Kobayashi, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing's #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid is in pole position at the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps, the first race of the new Hypercar class. The start of the round will be given on Saturday 1 May at 13:30 local time.
For the first qualifying session of the Hypercar era, TOYOTA GAZOO Racing sent its two Japanese drivers out on the track: Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 GR010 Hybrid and Kazuki Nakajima in the #8. In the end, Kobayashi clinched the pole in a time of 2:00.747 followed by the #8 in 2:01.266 and Alpine Elf Matmut's #36 Alpine A480-Gibson driven by Nicolas Lapierre in 2:02.652.
Kamui Kobayashi: "I am very happy with our time because we had expected it to be more difficult. We've done good work since the Prologue. With every session and every lap, we learn more about this car. I feel like a pupil. Tire wear management is the key to this race. Our job is also not to make any mistakes."
The fight for pole position in the LMP2 class was fierce between Filipe Albuquerque (#22 ORECA 07-Gibson), Nyck de Vries (#26 Aurus 01-Gibson) and Giedo van der Garde (#29 ORECA 07-Gibson). Albuquerque scored the pole, and third position overall, for the United Autosports team. Filipe Albuquerque: "It was really great and I'm happy with the lap I did. To get the pole is good for our ego, but for a six-hour race, it doesn't mean a great deal. I love driving this circuit is cool weather because it allows the car to deliver all of its power. I want to thank the entire team because I didn't achieve this performance alone."
LMP2 Top 3:
- #22 ORECA 07-Gibson – United Autosports – 2:02.404
- #26 Aurus 01-Gibson – G-Drive Racing – 2:02.984
- #29 ORECA 07-Gibson – Racing Team Nederland – 2:03.435
Kevin Estre set a new time record for an LMGTE Pro at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit, scoring the pole in 2:11.219 at the wheel of a Porsche 911 RSR-19. AF Corse's #52 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo trailed by 1.2 seconds. The #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 rounded out the top 3 and Corvette Racing's #63 Corvette C8.R qualified in fifth position.
LMGTE Pro Top 3:
- #92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Porsche GT Team – 2:11.219
- #52 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo – AF Corse – 2:12.351
- #91 Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Porsche GT Team – 2:12.370
In LMGTE Am, the session was marked by separate incidences for Christian Ried (#77 Porsche) and Egidio Perfetti (#56 Porsche ) in the Raidillon. Many hours of repairs are now underway within the Dempsey-Proton Racing and Team Project 1 garages. The Aston Martin Vantage AMRs had particularly good showings during qualifying. Ben Keating of TF Sport's #33 nabbed pole position ahead of Aston Martin Racing's #98 driven by Paul Dalla Lana.
LMGTE Am Top 3:
- #33 Aston Martin Vantage AMR – TF Sport – 2:14.660
- #98 Aston Martin Vantage AMR – Aston Martin Racing – 2:15.615
- #88 Porsche 911 RSR-19 – Dempsey-Proton Racing – 2:16.319
The start at the Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will be given on Saturday 1 May at 13:30 local time. Download the Spotter Guide.