1-2 at Silverstone for Toyota in qualifying for round one of WEC

Track action (photo by Melissa Warren)Toyota Gazoo Racing will start the 6 Hours of Silverstone from pole position after a one-two in qualifying for the first round of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

Qualifying requires each team to designate two drivers to take part in the 20 minute session which includes a pit stop to change driver. The two drivers from each crew each set at least one timed lap and the average of the two best lap times (the best from each driver) will be used to establish the grid. Qualifying took place in sunny but cool conditions, with track temperatures of 17°C.

Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway combined to open up a slight gap to Toyota Gazoo Racing teammates Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima to lock out the front row of the grid for the first time since Bahrain in 2013, while the team’s 12th pole position in WEC is its first since Fuji in 2014.

Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota said: “I am really pleased with my lap; it’s difficult to see how we could have gone quicker. The car was brilliant today and everyone in the team did a great job. Thanks to the team for their hard work over the winter to prepare a very quick car; I just did the final part of the job with my lap today. To have pole position for the start of the season is fantastic; it’s the best position to start the race.”

Mike Conway said: “I am happy to get pole. It’s a strong start. Hopefully we can keep that pace in the race but it will not be an easy battle I’m sure. I was disappointed with the first lap which got deleted, but that’s the way qualifying goes sometimes. The second lap was enough to get pole by a decent margin, I just made it a little harder for myself.”

The Toyota TS 050 HYBRID, which is utilising its higher downforce aero package this weekend, held a 0.289s advantage over the sister #8 machine. Kobayashi set the best overall best lap time of 1m36.793s, the fastest lap ever recorded by an LMP1 car at Silverstone in WEC.

The #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Jani and Tandy set a combined time of 1m38.615s and will start third on the grid with Bernhard and Hartley tfourth in #2 Porsche.

The new era of LMP2 competition started with a pole position for G-Drive Racing as Alex Lynn and Pierre Thiriet combined in the new-look and more powerful ORECA-Gibson. Signatech Alpine were only 0.1s behind in second, with TDS Racing third and #38 Jackie Chan DC Racing fourth.

Harry Tincknell and Andy Priaulx took a popular home pole for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as they held off the Ferrari threat in the LMGTE Pro class.

They achieved a combined time of 1m56.202s in the #67 Ford GT 0.8s ahead of the #71 AF Corse Ferrari of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird. Reigning champion #95 Aston Martin makes it three manufacturers in top three of LMGTE Pro. The new Porsche 911 RSR entries will start seventh and eighth.

The LMGTE Am class saw a close battle with the #98 Aston Martin of Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana taking class pole position by 1.3 seconds from #54 Spirit of Race Ferrari and #77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche third.

Track action (photo by Melissa Warren) Track action (photo by Melissa Warren) Track action (photo by Melissa Warren) Track action (photo by Melissa Warren)




Dalla Lana said, “It’s fantastic to be in the championship in 2017 and to take pole in both the first race and Aston Martin’s home round is a dream. I’m so happy to start the season off on the right foot and I’m looking forward to tomorrow. It’s going to be a big fight and it seems like there’s some good new competitors out there, but we’re going to have to see after six hours how that’s going to play out”.

Lamy added, “That was a good lap but Paul really made the difference. We have a quick car here this weekend but the Ferrari was a tiny bit faster than me in the opening laps of the session. Once I handed over to Paul, he was able to keep our average lap time very strong and I’m just looking forward to racing now”.

Qualifying results:

1 7 M. CONWAY / K. KOBAYASHI / J. LOPEZ Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 H 1:37.304 1:37.304

2 8 S. BUEMI / A. DAVIDSON / K. NAKAJIMA Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 H 1:37.593 1:37.593 0.289 0.289

3 1 N. JANI / A. LOTTERER / N. TANDY Porsche LMP Team LMP1 H
1:38.615 1:38.615 1.311 1.022

4 2 T. BERNHARD / E. BAMBER / B. HARTLEY Porsche LMP Team LMP1 H 1:39.063 1:39.063 1.759 0.448

5 26 R. RUSINOV / P. THIRIET / A. LYNN G-Drive Racing LMP2
1:44.387 1:44.387 7.083 5.324

6 36 N. LAPIERRE / G. MENEZES / M. RAO Signatech Alpine Matmut LMP2 1:44.433 1:44.433 7.129 0.046

7 38 H. TUNG / O. JARVIS / T. LAURENT Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2
1:44.591 1:44.591 7.287 0.158

8 31 J. CANAL / N. PROST / B. SENNA Vaillante Rebellion LMP2
1:45.194 1:45.194 7.890 0.603

9 4 O. WEBB / D. KRAIHAMER / J. ROSSITER Bykolles Racing Team LMP1 1:45.235 1:45.235 7.931 0.041

10 13 M. BECHE / D. HEINEMEIER HANSSON / N. PIQUET JR Vaillante Rebellion LMP2
1:45.323 1:45.323 8.019 0.088

11 24 T. GRAVES / J. HIRSCHI / J. VERGNE CEFC Manor TRS Racing LMP2 1:46.102 1:46.102 8.798 0.779

1:46.183 1:46.183 8.879 0.081

13 25 R. GONZALEZ / S. TRUMMER / V. PETROV CEFC Manor TRS Racing LMP2 1:46.494 1:46.494 9.190 0.311

14 37 D. CHENG / A. BRUNDLE / T. GOMMENDY Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2 1:47.250 1:47.250 9.946 0.756

15 67 A. PRIAULX / H. TINCKNELL / L. DERANI Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK LMGTE Pro
1:56.202 1:56.202 18.898 8.952

16 71 D. RIGON / S. BIRD AF Corse LMGTE Pro
1:57.011 1:57.011 19.707 0.809

17 95 N. THIIM / M. SØRENSEN / R. STANAWAY Aston Martin Racing LMGTE Pro 1:57.117 1:57.117 19.813 0.106

18 66 S. MÜCKE / O. PLA / B. JOHNSON Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK LMGTE Pro 1:57.269 1:57.269 19.965 0.152

19 97 D. TURNER / J. ADAM / D. SERRA Aston Martin Racing LMGTE Pro
1:57.414 1:57.414 20.110 0.145

1:57.466 1:57.466 20.162 0.052

21 91 R. LIETZ / F. MAKOWIECKI Porsche GT Team LMGTE Pro
1:58.003 1:58.003 20.699 0.537

22 92 M. CHRISTENSEN / K. ESTRE Porsche GT Team LMGTE Pro
1:58.066 1:58.066 20.762 0.063

23 98 P. DALLA LANA / P. LAMY / M. LAUDA Aston Martin Racing LMGTE Am 1:59.562 1:59.562 22.258 1.496

24 54 T. FLOHR / F. CASTELLACCI / M. MOLINA Spirit of Race LMGTE Am 2:00.608 2:00.608 23.304 1.046

25 77 C. RIED / M. CAIROLI / M. DIENST Dempsey-Proton Racing LMGTE Am 2:01.347 2:01.347 24.043 0.739

26 61 W. MOK / K. SAWA / M. GRIFFIN Clearwater Racing LMGTE Am
2:01.621 2:01.621 24.317 0.274

27 86 M. WAINWRIGHT / B. BARKER / N. FOSTER Gulf Racing UK LMGTE Am 2:01.925 2:01.925 24.621 0.304 By Melissa Warren

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