Toyota locked out the front row at Silverstone, the opening round of the World Endurance Championship. The No.7 Toyota Gazoo Racing car driven by Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi combined to set average of 1m36.015s, with Kobayashi setting the fastest lap of weekend so far with a time of 1m35.992s.
Kamui Kobayashi – No.7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID said: “Big thanks to the team for fixing the car last night as I had contact with a car in free practice and there was some damage to the chassis so thanks for the work.
The No.8 Toyota of Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima start second with an average time 0.3s behind pole sitters. The No.1 Rebellion Racing entry driven by Bruno Senna and Gustavo Menezes placed third ahead of the sister No.3 R13-Gibson of Berthon and Derani. British constructor Ginetta took fifth and sixth for their WEC debut outside of Le Mans with Team LNT cars.
In LMGTE Pro the AF Corse team took a 1-2 as No.51 Ferrari 488 GTE Evo claimed pole position.
Alessandro Pier Guidi took the overall best lap time of 1m54.019s as he combined with team-mate James Calado to set an unbeatable average of 1m54.171.
Alessandro Pier Guidi – No.51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Am said:“It was a good lap and the car felt amazing on the new tarmac and the team gave us a super car and so far it goes very well. But we know it is just qualifying and we know the race is another story and sometimes you don’t start in front but you win races so it was important and I like to start the new season like this but it is really a small part of the weekend.”
The No.71 Ferrari of Davide Rigon and Miguel Molina joins their stablemates on the front row as their average of 1m54.302 is just 0.131s behind.Third in class is the No.97 Aston Martin of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin ahead of No.91 Porsche of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni which is classified fourth.
The session was red flagged with ten minutes remaining after Bruni scatters debris on Hangar Straight after the earlier spin of the No.91 Porsche 911 RSR.
In LMP2, Racing Team Nederland took their first WEC pole position as Giedo Van Der Garde and Job van Uitert set an average of 1m40.948s with Van Uitert taking overall quickest lap of 1m40.850s.
Job Van Uitert – No.29 Racing Team Nederland Oreca 07-Gibson said: “It was a decent lap and basically I made no mistakes but that is what you have to do in qualifying. The car felt great and the Michelin tyres that were supplied were great as was the ORECA car. The team did a super job and Giedo did a stunning lap at the beginning and the track came my way later.”
Second in LMP2 is the United Autosports Oreca-Gibson qualified by Paul di Resta and Phil Hanson with theird place going to the No.37 Jackie Chan DC Racing car qualified by Will Stevens and Gabriel Aubry.
TF Sport dominated in LMGTE Am as Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc combined to set average of 1m56.034s. Eastwood took overall class fastest lap with a time of 1m55.277s.
Charlie Eastwood – No.90 TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage said: “It was really good and obviously it is the perfect start to the season. Last year we were all new to everything in the WEC so without knowing it there is always extra learning to do and this year we have hit the ground running. Obviously having the new Aston Martin underneath us completely transforms the likes of qualifying so it was a great start and hopefully we can keep it this way until the end of the weekend. The qualifying lap itself was pretty good and I tried to maximise what I could do and you can always say of the lap you could gain a couple of tenths but the car felt really great.”
The Aston Martin duo are 0.2s clear of the category opposition which is led by No.56 Team Project 1 Porsche driven by Egidio Perfetti and Matteo Cairoli. Third is No.98 Aston Martin Racing and fourth No.83 AF Corse Ferrari. By Melissa Warren
1 #7 M. CONWAY / K. KOBAYASHI / J. LOPEZ Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 H 1:36.015 1:36.015
2 #8 S. BUEMI / K. NAKAJIMA / B. HARTLEY Toyota Gazoo Racing LMP1 H 1:36.315 1:36.315 0.300 0.300
3 #1 B. SENNA / G. MENEZES / N. NATO Rebellion Racing LMP1 1:36.560 1:36.560 0.545 0.245
4 #3 N. BERTHON / P. DERANI / L. DUVAL Rebellion Racing LMP1 1:37.024 1:37.024 1.009 0.464
5 #6 M. SIMPSON / O. JARVIS / G. SMITH Team LNT LMP1 1:37.220 1:37.220 1.205 0.196
6 #5 C. ROBERTSON / B. HANLEY / E. ORUDZHEV Team LNT LMP1 1:37.464 1:37.464 1.449 0.244
7 #29 F. VAN EERD / G. VAN DER GARDE / J. VAN UITERT Racing Team Nederland LMP2 1:40.948 1:40.948 4.933 3.484
8 #22 P. HANSON / F. ALBUQUERQUE / P. DI RESTA United Autosports LMP2 1:41.683 1:41.683 5.668 0.735
9 #37 H. TUNG / G. AUBRY / W. STEVENS Jackie Chan DC Racing LMP2 1:41.976 1:41.976 5.961 0.293
10# 42 N. LAPIERRE / A. BORGA / A. COIGNY Cool Racing LMP2 1:42.017 1:42.017 6.002 0.041
1#1 36 T. LAURENT / A. NEGRÃO / P. RAGUES Signatech Alpine ELF LMP2 1:42.216 1:42.216 6.201 0.199
12 #33 M. PATTERSON / K. YAMASHITA / A. FJORDBACH High Class Racing LMP2 1:42.414 1:42.414 6.399 0.198
13 #38 R. GONZALEZ / A. DA COSTA / A. DAVIDSON JOTA LMP2 1:42.885 1:42.885 6.870 0.471
14 #47 R. LACORTE / A. BELICCHI / G. SERNAGIOTTO Cetilar Racing LMP2 1:43.363 1:43.363 7.348 0.478
15 #51 J. CALADO / A. PIER GUIDI AF Corse LMGTE Pro 1:54.171 1:54.171 18.156 10.808
16 #71 D. RIGON / M. MOLINA AF Corse LMGTE Pro 1:54.302 1:54.302 18.287 0.131
17 #97 A. LYNN / M. MARTIN Aston Martin Racing LMGTE Pro 1:54.992 1:54.992 18.977 0.690 18 #91 G. BRUNI / R. LIETZ Porsche GT Team LMGTE Pro 1:55.067 1:55.067 19.052 0.075
19 #95 M. SØRENSEN / N. THIIM Aston Martin Racing LMGTE Pro 1:55.149 1:55.149 19.134 0.082
20 #92 M. CHRISTENSEN / K. ESTRE Porsche GT Team LMGTE Pro 1:55.493 1:55.493 19.478 0.344
21 #90 S. YOLUC / C. EASTWOOD / J. ADAM TF Sport LMGTE Am 1:56.034 1:56.034 20.019 0.541
22 #56 E. PERFETTI / D. KOLKMANN / M. CAIROLI Team Project 1 LMGTE Am 1:56.371 1:56.371 20.356 0.337
23 #98 P. DALLA LANA / D. TURNER / R. GUNN Aston Martin Racing LMGTE Am 1:56.469 1:56.469 20.454 0.098
24 #83 F. PERRODO / E. COLLARD / N. NIELSEN AF Corse LMGTE Am 1:56.489 1:56.489 20.474 0.020
25 #54 T. FLOHR / F. CASTELLACCI / G. FISICHELLA AF Corse LMGTE Am 1:56.742 1:56.742 20.727 0.253
26 #77 C. RIED / M. CAMPBELL / R. PERA Dempsey - Proton Racing LMGTE Am 1:57.351 1:57.351 21.336 0.609
27 #88 T. PREINING / G. GIRAUDI / R. SANCHEZ Dempsey - Proton Racing LMGTE Am 1:57.507 1:57.507 21.492 0.156
28 #62 B. GRIMES / J. MOWLEM / C. HOLLINGS Red River Sport LMGTE Am 1:57.934 1:57.934 21.919 0.427
29# 86 M. WAINWRIGHT / A. WATSON / B. BARKER Gulf Racing LMGTE Am 1:58.199 1:58.199 22.184 0.265
30 #70 M. ISHIKAWA / O. BERETTA / K. COZZOLINO MR Racing LMGTE Am 1:58.336 1:58.336 22.321 0.137
31 #57 B. KEATING / F. FRAGA / J. BLEEKEMOLEN Team Project 1 LMGTE Am