Fuji WEC: Alonso/Buemi track limits error hands sister Toyota pole

A track limits violation meant Fernando Alonso and Sebastien Buemi were pipped to pole by Toyota team-mates Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi for Sunday's Fuji World Endurance Championship event

Fuji WEC: Alonso/Buemi track limits error hands sister Toyota pole

Alonso topped the times in the #8 Toyota TS050 HYBRID after the first runs with a 1m23.203s that put him just over two tenths up on the 1m23.437s from Lopez.

Kobayashi then went quickest during the second runs with a 1m23.678s, which fell six thousandths short of ousting the sister car from pole.

But when Buemi lost his 1m23.900s to a track limits infringement and could only follow it up with a 1m24.094s his and Alonso's average dropped below that of their team-mates.

Lopez and Kobayashi ended up on 1m23.557s, which put them a shade under a tenth up on Alonso and Buemi's 1m23.648s.

Lopez said: "My lap was OK. I didn't have maximum confidence, but I new I was close enough for Kamui to do his job because he is always quick around here."

The two Rebellion-Gibson R-13 privateers LMP1s both ended up within a second of the Toyota hybrids following the latest Equivalence of Technology changes in the lead-up to the event.

The series also took the unusual step of tweaking the EoT further after the first two Friday practice sessions.

Andre Lotterer's best privateer lap in the #1 Rebellion Racing entry was only eight tenths off Alonso's pace.

He and team-mate Neel Jani ended up a similar margin off the pole with a 1m24.359s average.

That put them just under two tenths up on the 1m24.533s average of the second Rebellion qualified by Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent.

SMP Racing took fifth and sixth positions with its pair of AER-engined BR Engineering BR1s.

Jenson Button just pipped Stephane Sarrazin on the first runs, but Egor Orudzhev then went a second quicker than Vitaly Petrov to reverse the positions in the final qualifying order.

Anthony Davidson and Roberto Gonzalez took LMP2 pole aboard the DragonSpeed ORECA-Gibson 07 on Michelin tyres.

Davidson set the fastest P2 time of the session with a 1m28.011s, which Gonzalez followed up on with a 1m29.802s.

That was enough to give them a 1m28.906s average and a half second advantage over the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA qualified by Jazeman Jaafar and Nabil Jeffri.

The second of the Dunlop-shod Chan/DC ORECAs qualified third in the hands of Stephane Richelmi and Gabriel Aubry.

The new Aston Martin Vantage GTE claimed its first class pole position in GTE Pro with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen (above).

Thiim topped the times after the first runs with a session-best 1m35.884s, before Sorensen followed it up with a 1m36.302s.

That gave the Danish duo an 1m36.093s average, which gave them the pole by nearly two tenths from the MTEK BMW M8 GTE shared by Tom Blomqvist and Antonio Felix da Costa.

Blomqvist was the only driver other than Thiim to break the 1m36s barrier. His 1m35.930s combined with da Costa's 1m36.621s to give them a 1m36.275s average.

Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin in the second Aston were a further tenth back.

Matteo Cairoli and WEC debutant Satoshi Hoshino took GTE Am pole for the Dempsey Proton Porsche team.

Qualifying result

Pos Class Driver Car Gap
1 LMP1 S.Buemi, K.Nakajima, F.Alonso Toyota 1m23.648s
2 LMP1 N.Jani, A.Lotterer, B.Senna Rebellion/Gibson 0.711s
3 LMP1 M.Beche, T.Laurent, G.Menezes Rebellion/Gibson 0.885s
4 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, E.Orudzhev, M.Isaakyan BR Engineering/AER 1.096s
5 LMP1 M.Aleshin, V.Petrov, J.Button BR Engineering/AER 1.498s
6 LMP1 O.Webb, T.Dillmann, J.Rossiter ENSO CLM/NISMO 2.931s
7 LMP1 J.Allen, B.Hanley BR Engineering/Gibson 4.559s
8 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, P.Maldonado, A.Davidson ORECA/Gibson 5.258s
9 LMP2 J.Jaafar, W.Tan, N.Jeffri ORECA/Gibson 5.555s
10 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, G.Aubry, S.Richelmi ORECA/Gibson 5.646s
11 LMP2 N.Lapierre, A.Negrao, P.Thiriet Alpine/Gibson 5.784s
12 LMP2 F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, J-E.Vergne ORECA/Gibson 7.147s
13 LMP2 F.van Eerd, G.van der Garde, N.de Vries Dallara/Gibson 7.792s
14 LMP2 E.Creed, R.Ricci, K.Ihara Ligier/Gibson 9.029s
15 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, N.Thiim Aston Martin 12.445s
16 GTE Pro T.Blomqvist, A.F.da Costa BMW 12.627s
17 GTE Pro A.Lynn, M.Martin Aston Martin 12.714s
18 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford 12.805s
19 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird Ferrari 12.894s
20 GTE Pro A.P.Guidi, J.Calado Ferrari 12.896s
21 GTE Pro M.Tomczyk, N.Catsburg BMW 13.089s
22 GTE Pro R.Lietz, G.Bruni Porsche 13.128s
23 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford 13.319s
24 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche 13.461s
25 GTE Am S.Hoshino, G.Roda, M.Cairoli Porsche 14.688s
26 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin 14.752s
27 GTE Am C.Ried, J.Andlauer, M.Campbell Porsche 14.876s
28 GTE Am J.Bergmeister, P.Lindsey, E.Perfetti Porsche 14.930s
29 GTE Am S.Yoluc, J.Adam, C.Eastwood Aston Martin 14.950s
30 GTE Am Mok W.S., K.Sawa, M.Griffin Ferrari 15.682s
31 GTE Am M.Wainwright, B.Barker, T.Preining Porsche 15.707s
32 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, G.Fisichella Ferrari 15.723s
33 GTE Am M.Ishikawa, O.Beretta, E.Cheever Ferrari 16.237s
34 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota 0.030s

Watch the WEC 6 Hours of Fuji live on Motorsport.TV

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Lopez speeding in pitlane hands Fuji WEC pole back to Alonso/Buemi

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About this article

Series WEC
Drivers Fernando Alonso , Sébastien Buemi
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Gary Watkins
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