Nurburgring WEC: Toyota beats Porsche in close pole fight

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

Nurburgring WEC: Toyota beats Porsche in close pole fight

They combined to take Toyota's third WEC 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 initially on a 1m38.292s, while Bernard went 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 Porsche 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 within six tenths of the pole despite Nakajima setting his time on his third lap on the tyres.

G-Drive Racing again took LMP2 qualifying honours with its ORECA-Gibson 07 shared by Ben Hanley and Pierre Thiriet.

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

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

Third place went to the best of the Rebellion ORECAs qualified by Bruno Senna and Julien Canal.

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 their #91 Porsche 911 RSR a 1m54.007s average.

That gave them a three-tenths magin 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 with Olivier Pla and Stefan Mucke in the #66 Ganassi entry.

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 their AMR-run Vantage.

PROVISIONAL STARTING GRID:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time Gap
1 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m38.118s -
2 LMP1 T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.Hartley Porsche LMP Team Porsche 1m38.272s 0.154s
3 LMP1 N.Jani, A.Lotterer, N.Tandy Porsche LMP Team Porsche 1m38.278s 0.160s
4 LMP1 S.Buemi, A.Davidson, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m38.703s 0.585s
5 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.Laurent Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 1m45.197s 7.079s
6 LMP2 J.Canal, B.Senna, F.Albuquerque Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 1m45.649s 7.531s
7 LMP2 M.Beche, D.H.Hansson, P.Derani Vaillante Rebellion ORECA/Gibson 1m45.690s 7.572s
8 LMP2 P.Ragues, A.Negrao, N.Panciatici Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 1m45.777s 7.659s
9 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, S.Trummer, V.Petrov CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 1m45.861s 7.743s
10 LMP2 N.Lapierre, G.Menezes, M.Rao Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 1m45.940s 7.822s
11 LMP2 D.Cheng, A.Brundle, T.Gommendy Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 1m46.690s 8.572s
12 LMP2 F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, E.Collard TDS Racing ORECA/Gibson 1m46.714s 8.596s
13 LMP2 T.Graves, J.Hirschi, R.Merhi CEFC Manor TRS Racing ORECA/Gibson 1m47.325s 9.207s
14 LMP1 O.Webb, D.Kraihamer, M.Bonanomi ByKOLLES Racing Team ENSO CLM/NISMO 1m47.485s 9.367s
15 LMP2 N.Moore, P.Hanson Tockwith Motorsports Ligier/Gibson 1m48.104s 9.986s
16 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 1m54.007s 15.889s
17 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 1m54.352s 16.234s
18 GTE Pro R.Lietz, F.Makowiecki Porsche GT Team Porsche 1m54.518s 16.400s
19 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 1m54.694s 16.576s
20 GTE Pro D.Rigon, T.Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 1m54.757s 16.639s
21 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 1m54.807s 16.689s
22 GTE Pro J.Calado, A.P.Guidi AF Corse Ferrari 1m55.037s 16.919s
23 GTE Pro D.Turner, J.Adam, D.Serra Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 1m55.382s 17.264s
24 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 1m56.721s 18.603s
25 GTE Am C.Ried, M.Cairoli, M.Dienst Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 1m57.129s 19.011s
26 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, M.Molina Spirit of Race Ferrari 1m57.958s 19.840s
27 GTE Am M.Wainwright, B.Barker, N.Foster Gulf Racing Porsche 1m58.027s 19.909s
28 GTE Am Mok W.S., K.Sawa, M.Griffin Clearwater Racing Ferrari 1m58.335s 20.217s
- LMP2 R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet, B.Hanley G-Drive Racing ORECA/Gibson - -

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