Nurburgring WEC: Toyota beats Porsche to pole

Toyota took pole position for the Nurburgring round of the World Endurance Championship with Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi.

They combined to take the Japanese manufacturer’s third pole of the year by just over a tenth from Porsche’s new high-downforce version of the latest 919 Hybrid.

Lopez was fastest after the first runs aboard the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid on a 1m38.083s, which Kobayashi followed up on with a 1m38.153s.

That gave them a 1m38.118s average and pole by just over a tenth of a second from Porsche drivers Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.

Hartley was second-fastest after the first runs on a 1m38.292s, while Bernhard was a shade quicker on a 1m38.252s to lower their average to 1m38.272s.

Lopez, who has returned to the #7 car after driving Toyota’s third entry at last month’s Le Mans 24 Hours, said: “It was a good lap, but a bit of a surprise because Porsche had been so strong in free practice.

“It was my first qualifying attempt on quali settings, low fuel and new tyres, so I wasn’t expecting to be so competitive.”

Hartley and Bernhard ended up just six thousandths quicker on aggregate than the sister #1 car qualified by Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer.

Jani posted a 1m38.671s on his run, before Lotterer set the fastest time of the session with a 1m37.886s.

The second Toyota qualified by Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson was six tenths off pole, the Japanese driver setting his time on his third lap on the tyres.

G-Drive Racing again took LMP2 qualifying honours with its #26 Oreca shared by Ben Hanley and Pierre Thiriet.

Hanley, standing in for Alex Lynn, was fastest on the first runs with 1m44.331s before Thiriet posted a 1m45.671s to give them a 1m45.001s average.

That put them two tenths ahead of the #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca qualified by Thomas Laurent and Oliver Jarvis.

Third place when to the best of the Rebellion Orecas, the #31 car qualified by Bruno Senna and Julien Canal.

The #35 Signatech Alpine squad, which qualified fifth, has been handed a 30-second stop-and-go penalty in Sunday’s race for dangerous driving.

Nelson Panciatici impeded Nakajima’s Toyota during a hot lap, almost forcing the Japanese driver off the road at the fast Turn 12 right-hander as he swerved to warm up his tyres.
Porsche heads GTE qualifying

Porsche claimed its first GTE Pro pole position of the season with Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre.

Christensen led the times on his run with a 1m53.779s, before Estre posted a 1m54.235s to give the #91 Porsche 911 RSR a 1m54.007s average.

That gave them a three-tenths margin on the #95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE shared by Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim, who ended up with a 1m54.352s average.

The second Porsche qualified third in the hands of Richard Lietz and Frederic Makowiecki on 1m54.518s despite using only one set of tyres.

Ford took fourth on 1m54.691s with Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke in the #66 Ganassi Ford GT.

The best of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTEs was a further tenth behind in fifth with Davide Rigon and Toni Vilander.

Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana took their third GTE Am pole position of the season in the #98 Aston Martin.


LMP qualifying results:

Pos. # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 7 japan Kamui Kobayashi
united_kingdom Mike Conway
argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1’38.118
2 2 germany Timo Bernhard
new_zealand Brendon Hartley
new_zealand Earl Bamber
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 1’38.272 0.154
3 1 germany Andre Lotterer
switzerland Neel Jani
united_kingdom Nick Tandy
Porsche 919 Hybrid LMP1 1’38.278 0.160
4 8 united_kingdom Anthony Davidson
japan Kazuki Nakajima
switzerland Sébastien Buemi
Toyota TS050 Hybrid LMP1 1’38.703 0.585
5 26 russia Roman Rusinov
france Pierre Thiriet
united_kingdom Ben Hanley
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’45.001 6.883
6 38 united_kingdom Oliver Jarvis
china Ho-Pin Tung
france Thomas Laurent
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’45.197 7.079
7 31 brazil Bruno Senna
france Julien Canal
portugal Filipe Albuquerque
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’45.649 7.531
8 13 brazil Pipo Derani
denmark David Heinemeier Hansson
switzerland Mathias Beche
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’45.690 7.572
9 35 france Nelson Panciatici
france Pierre Ragues
brazil Andre Negrao
Alpine A470 LMP2 1’45.777 7.659
10 25 russia Vitaly Petrov
switzerland Simon Trummer
mexico Roberto Gonzalez
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’45.861 7.743
11 36 france Nicolas Lapierre
united_states Gustavo Menezes
united_kingdom Matt Rao
Alpine A470 LMP2 1’45.940 7.822
12 37 china David Cheng
france Tristan Gommendy
united_kingdom Alex Brundle
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’46.690 8.572
13 28 france François Perrodo
france Emmanuel Collard
france Matthieu Vaxivière
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’46.714 8.596
14 24 spain Roberto Merhi
switzerland Jonathan Hirschi
thailand Tor Graves
Oreca 07 LMP2 1’47.325 9.207
15 4 italy Marco Bonanomi
united_kingdom Oliver Webb
austria Dominik Kraihamer
ENSO CLM P1/01 LMP1 1’47.485 9.367
16 34 united_kingdom Nigel Moore
united_kingdom Philip Hanson
Ligier JSP 217 LMP2 1’48.104 9.986

GT qualifying results:

Pos. # Drivers Car Class Avg Time Gap
1 92 denmark Michael Christensen
france Kevin Estre
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1’54.007
2 95 denmark Marco Sorensen
denmark Nicki Thiim
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE PRO 1’54.352 0.345
3 91 austria Richard Lietz
france Frédéric Makowiecki
Porsche 911 RSR LMGTE PRO 1’54.518 0.511
4 66 germany Stefan Mücke
france Olivier Pla
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1’54.694 0.687
5 71 finland Toni Vilander
italy Davide Rigon
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 1’54.757 0.750
6 67 united_kingdom Harry Tincknell
guernsey Andy Priaulx
Ford GT LMGTE PRO 1’54.807 0.800
7 51 united_kingdom James Calado
italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE PRO 1’55.037 1.030
8 97 united_kingdom Darren Turner
united_kingdom Jonathan Adam
brazil Daniel Serra
Aston Martin Vantage LMGTE PRO 1’55.382 1.375
9 98 portugal Pedro Lamy
canada Paul Dalla Lana
austria Mathias Lauda
Aston Martin Vantage V8 LMGTE AM 1’56.721 2.714
10 77 germany Christian Ried
italy Matteo Cairoli
germany Marvin Dienst
Porsche 911 RSR (991) LMGTE AM 1’57.129 3.122
11 54 italy Francesco Castellacci
spain Miguel Molina
switzerland Thomas Flohr
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 1’57.958 3.951
12 86 united_kingdom Michael Wainwright
united_kingdom Ben Barker
australia Nick Foster Jr.
Porsche 911 RSR (991) LMGTE AM 1’58.027 4.020
13 61 ireland Matt Griffin
singapore Mok Weng Sun
japan Keita Sawa
Ferrari 488 GTE LMGTE AM 1’58.335 4.328