Shanghai WEC: Toyotas lock out front row but face privateer pressure

Toyota edged the best of the LMP1 privateers to lockout the front row in qualifying for the Shanghai round of the World Endurance Championship

Shanghai WEC: Toyotas lock out front row but face privateer pressure

Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway claimed pole at the end of a session in which the Japanese manufacturer came under qualifying pressure for the first time in the 2018/19 WEC superseason.

Kobayashi and Conway ended with a 1m42.931 seconds average in the #7 Toyota TS050 HYBRID, which was only three tenths up on the Rebellion-Gibson R-13 qualified by Bruno Senna and Andre Lotterer.

Kobayashi's first-run time of 1m43.329s beat team-mate Fernando Alonso by three tenths before Conway posted a 1m43.155s to go just two hundreths quicker than Kazuki Nakajima.

Both Kobayashi and Alonso then went again, Kobayashi going four tenths quicker than his team-mate on the way to the fastest time of the session with a 1m42.708s.

That meant Kobayashi and Conway finished with a 1m42.931s average, four tenths up on Alonso and Nakajima's 1m43.139s.

Lotterer also went again on a fresh set of rubber and found 0.7s to improve to 1m42.869s and lowered the #1 Rebellion's average to 1m43.218s.

Kobayashi said: "The track was improving and Mike did a great lap, so I went again, which was important because it was quite tight at the end."

The #17 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 qualified by Stephane Sarrazin and Egor Orudzhev took fourth with a 1m43.879s, three tenths up on the fifth-placed Rebellion of Mathias Beche and Thomas Laurent.

The DragonSpeed BRE-Gibson driven by Ben Hanley and Renger van der Zande edged out the second of the AER-engined SMP cars qualified by Jenson Button and Vitaly Petrov for sixth.

The Jackie Chan DC Racing squad took the LMP2 pole with Gabriel Aubry and Ho-Pin Tung.

They ended up on a 1m48.888s average aboard, which put them 0.25s up on the sister car of Nabil Jeffri and Jazeman Jaafar.

Nicolas Lapierre set the fastest P2 time of the session in the Signatech ORECA on a 1m48.598s, but Pierre Thiriet ended up more than three seconds slower after a spin.

That dropped them to fourth behind the DragonSpeed ORECA qualified by Pastor Maldonado and Roberto Gonzalez.

Ford claimed a last-gasp pole position in GTE Pro after Stefan Mucke went out for a second run in the car he shares with Olivier Pla.

The German found over a second with a 1m56.464s lap aboard the #66 Ganassi Ford GT to snatch pole away from the MTEK BMW M8 GTE of Nicky Catsburg and Martin Tomczyk.

The Ford duo ended up on 1m58.627s average, 0.2s clear of the BMW drivers' 1m58.874s.

Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn took third in the best of the Aston Martin Vantage GTEs with a 1m59.000s.

The two factory AF Corse Ferraris took ninth and 10th, qualifying only ahead of the Chevrolet Corvette C7.R, which ended up nearly a second and a half off the pace.

Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana claimed their fifth consecutive GTE Am pole position at Shanghai for Aston Martin.

Result

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP1 M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.Lopez Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m42.931s
2 LMP1 S.Buemi, K.Nakajima, F.Alonso Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 0.228s
3 LMP1 N.Jani, A.Lotterer, B.Senna Rebellion Racing Rebellion/Gibson 0.287s
4 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, E.Orudzhev, M.Isaakyan SMP Racing BR Engineering/AER 0.939s
5 LMP1 M.Beche, T.Laurent, G.Menezes Rebellion Racing Rebellion/Gibson 1.248s
6 LMP1 J.Allen, B.Hanley, R.van der Zande DragonSpeed BR Engineering/Gibson 1.681s
7 LMP1 M.Aleshin, V.Petrov, J.Button SMP Racing BR Engineering/AER 1.858s
8 LMP1 O.Webb, T.Dillmann, J.Rossiter ByKOLLES Racing Team ENSO CLM/NISMO 3.422s
9 LMP2 H-Pin Tung, G.Aubry, S.Richelmi Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 5.957s
10 LMP2 J.Jaafar, W.Tan, N.Jeffri Jackie Chan DC Racing ORECA/Gibson 6.207s
11 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, P.Maldonado, A.Davidson DragonSpeed ORECA/Gibson 6.926s
12 LMP2 N.Lapierre, A.Negrao, P.Thiriet Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine/Gibson 7.275s
13 LMP2 F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, L.Duval TDS Racing ORECA/Gibson 8.075s
14 LMP2 F.van Eerd, G.van der Garde, N.de Vries Racing Team Nederland Dallara/Gibson 8.726s
15 LMP2 E.Creed, R.Ricci, E.Guibbert Larbre Competition Ligier/Gibson 8.994s
16 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 15.696s
17 GTE Pro M.Tomczyk, N.Catsburg BMW Team MTEK BMW 15.943s
18 GTE Pro A.Lynn, M.Martin Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 16.069s
19 GTE Pro M.Christensen, K.Estre Porsche GT Team Porsche 16.100s
20 GTE Pro T.Blomqvist, A.F.da Costa BMW Team MTEK BMW 16.124s
21 GTE Pro M.Sorensen, N.Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 16.226s
22 GTE Pro A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 16.347s
23 GTE Pro R.Lietz, G.Bruni Porsche GT Team Porsche 16.355s
24 GTE Pro A.P.Guidi, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 16.523s
25 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 16.758s
26 GTE Pro O.Gavin, T.Milner Corvette Racing Chevrolet 17.297s
27 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 18.953s
28 GTE Am C.Ried, J.Andlauer, M.Campbell Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 19.020s
29 GTE Am T.Flohr, F.Castellacci, G.Fisichella Spirit of Race Ferrari 19.159s
30 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, R.Pera, M.Cairoli Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 19.184s
31 GTE Am S.Yoluc, J.Adam, C.Eastwood TF Sport Aston Martin 19.280s
32 GTE Am Mok W.S., K.Sawa, M.Griffin Clearwater Racing Ferrari 19.469s
33 GTE Am J.Bergmeister, P.Lindsey, E.Perfetti Team Project 1 Porsche 19.498s
34 GTE Am M.Wainwright, B.Barker, T.Preining Gulf Racing Porsche 21.310s
35 GTE Am M.Ishikawa, O.Beretta, E.Cheever MR Racing Ferrari 21.717s
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Series WEC
Teams Toyota Racing
Author Gary Watkins
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