Kobayashi leads all-Toyota front row in Fuji qualifying

WEC Hypercar

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Toyota took a home pole for the Six Hours of Fuji thanks to Kamui Kobayashi in the number seven ahead of its sister car.

Toyota secured a front row lockout ahead of the two Porsche Penskes as Ferrari qualified down in sixth and seventh as rain interrupted the end of Hypercar qualifying.

Rain at the start of the final practice session in the morning had left the track slightly damp for qualifying, but the track was fully dry for GTE and LMP2 qualifying. However, before the Hypercar session got underway, Race Director Edoardo Freitas declared the track wet, meaning teams could run on wet tyres should they wanted with a hint of drizzle still in the air.

With drivers more concerned with getting temperature in their tyres, many cars were weaving to warm up their slicks. Heading down the long main straight, Loic Duval in the number 94 Peugeot started weaving directly in front of the two Ferraris, who had to move out of the way. Duval was placed under investigation for his antics after the session.

The number two Cadillac set the provisional pole time of a 1’28.770 thanks to Alex Lynn, but that was comfortably beaten by Kamui Kobayashi in the number seven Toyota. The number six Porsche Penske moved second with a time by Kevin Estre, but was almost nine tenths slower than the Toyota’s time.

On his second push lap, Kobayashi improved over his first two sectors but could not hold that pace over the final sector and failed to beat his own time. The sister Toyota then moved into second place with Brendon Hartley’s first effort for the number eight Toyota six tenths slower than his team mate.

With under four minutes of qualifying remaining, the drizzle over the circuit had now evolved to light rain. The rain appeared localised to the final sector, with drivers losing seconds in the technical third part of the course even if they could maintain pace in the early part of the lap.

With the wet conditions preventing anyone from improving on their times. That assured pole position for Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez in the number seven Toyota with a Toyota front row secured by Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirawaka in the number eight car.

The two Porsche Penskes of number six and number five will start third and fourth, respectively. The number two Cadillac took fifth ahead of the two Ferraris of number 51 and number 50.

In LMP2, the number 22 United Autosports car took pole courtesy of Phil Hanson, with the world champion Corvette team securing pole for the GTE AM category.

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Qualifying result

17Hypercar (H)Toyota Gazoo RacingToyota GR010Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Jose Maria LopezToyota GR010 HYBRID
28Hypercar (H)Toyota Gazoo RacingToyota GR010Sebastien Buemi/Brendon Hartley/Ryo HirakawaToyota GR010 HYBRID
36Hypercar (H)Porsche Penske MotorsportPorsche 963Kevin Estre/Andre Lotterer/Laurens VanthoorPorsche 963
45Hypercar (H)Porsche Penske MotorsportPorsche 963Dane Cameron/Michael Christensen/Frederic MakowieckiPorsche 963
52Hypercar (H)Cadillac RacingCadillac V-Series.REarl Bamber/Alex Lynn/Richard WestbrookCadillac V-Series.R
651Hypercar (H)Ferrari AF CorseFerrari 499PAlessandro Pier Guidi/James Calado/Antonio GiovinazziFerrari 499P
750Hypercar (H)Ferrari AF CorseFerrari 499PAntonio Fuoco/Miguel Molina/Nicklas NielsenFerrari 499P
838Hypercar (H)Hertz Team JOTAPorsche 963Antonio Felix Da Costa/Will Stevens/Yifei YePorsche 963
999Hypercar (H)Proton CompetitionPorsche 963Gianmaria Bruni/Harry Tincknell/Neel JaniPorsche 963
1093Hypercar (H)Peugeot TotalenergiesPeugeot 9X8Paul di Resta/Mikkel Jensen/Jean-Eric VergnePeugeot 9X8
1194Hypercar (H)Peugeot TotalenergiesPeugeot 9X8Loic Duval/Gustavo Menezes/Nico MuellerPeugeot 9X8
124HypercarFloyd Vanwall Racing TeamVanwall Vandervell 680Esteban Guerrieri/Tristan Vautier/Joao Paulo de OIiveiraVanwall Vandervell 680

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Author information

Will Wood
Will has been a RaceFans contributor since 2012 during which time he has covered F1 test sessions, launch events and interviewed drivers. He mainly...

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3 comments on “Kobayashi leads all-Toyota front row in Fuji qualifying”

  1. Would be nice if you put the complete qualifying results up, not just the hypercar. Much of the better racing and interest in tge series is in lmp2 and gte classes, while hypercar is mpre boring than f1.

  2. Coventry Climax
    9th September 2023, 10:52

    And the BoP first prize for this round goes to…

  3. Kobayashi and toyota onn top, seems so strange as someone who only ever watched f1 and no other sports!

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