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#7 Toyota On Pole For Silverstone

Racing Team Nederland, AF Corse Ferrari and TF Sport Aston take class poles

LMP1

Toyota Gazoo Racing has locked out the front row of the grid for Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship race, with Rebellion Racing remaining close on one-lap speed in qualifying.

Mike Conway started off qualifying with a rapid first flying lap in the #7 Toyota, going top with a 1:36.038, and immediately pitting afterwards to hand over to Kamui Kobayashi. The Japanese racer promptly lapped faster than anyone else has this weekend, setting a 1:35.992, meaning a spectacular average time of 1:36.015.

Nakajima needed a second flying lap to leapfrog Bruno Senna’s 1:36.599 in the #1 Rebellion, getting the #8 TS050 Hybrid to a 1:36.307. Buemi took the second Toyota over, and a lap time of 1:36.323 was the result, leaving a 1:36.315 average.

A 1:36.560 was the average lap for the #1 Rebellion Racing squad, with Gustavo Menezes bettering Senna’s time fractionally with a 1:36.521. The #3 Rebellion averaged a 1:37.024 for fourth on the grid, ahead of the Team LNT Ginettas. Oliver Jarvis and Michael Simpson delivered an average of 1:37.220 for fifth on the grid in the #6, just clear of the #5 squad.

Pole was a big reward for the #7 Toyota crew, who had to replace the chassis of the TS050 Hybrid after a heavy altercation with the curbing during Free Practice 2 caused damage to the tub.

LMP2: Racing Team Nederland takes maiden pole

Racing Team Nederland ended the weekend-long dominance of the #22 United Autosports crew, with Job van Uitert and Giedo van der Garde piloting the #29 ORECA to a 1:40.948 average, with the silver-rated van Uitert achieving the fastest time of anyone in the class, a 1:40.850.

The Dutch outfit’s fellow ORECA newbies will not be far away when racing gets started tomorrow, though; Phil Hanson and Paul Di Resta will line up second in LMP2 courtesy of a 1:41.683 average.

The second row in LMP2 will be filled by the #37 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca, and the similar #42 car of Cool Racing.

GTE Pro: AF Corse to the fore

AF Corse locked out the front row in GTE Pro, with Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado topping the session in the #71 Ferrari with an average time of 1:54.171.

A big spin for Gianmaria Bruni (#91 Porsche) at Farm immediately after his first flying lap would ultimately disrupt the session with a red flag for debris removal. While the high-speed spin was harmless in its own right, it damaged the tyres. This then became a bigger problem at the end of the Hangar Straight, as the car shed its left-front quarter panel due to the rubber coming apart.

Once green-flag action resumed, Pier Guidi pulled out further pace in the #51 AF Corse Ferrari with a 1:54.019. This would be enough for the GTE Pro pole, with an average time of 1:54.171 between him and Calado.

Rigon and Miguel Molina complete an all-AF Corse front row, ahead of the recovering Bruni and Richard Lietz in the #91 Porsche (average time 1:55.067), and the #97 Aston Martin of Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin in the fourth spot, with a 1:55.133 average time.

The #95 Aston Martin and the #92 Porsche round out the GTE Pro grid.

GTE Am: TF Sport takes pole with new Vantage

Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc secured pole for TF Sport with the #90 Aston Martin Vantage AMR. Factory driver Jonny Adam elected to allow his team-mates the chance to handle qualifying, and it paid dividends.

Speaking shortly after his contribution to the 1:56.034 average time, Eastwood said: “It’s great working with Jonny. He has experience with the car from last year, so obviously, he brings a lot to the table.”

The second place in GTE Am went the way of Team Project 1’s #56 911 RSR, while the #98 Aston Martin beat the best of the Ferraris, the #83 AF Corse entry.

The World Endurance Championship teams and drivers will begin the 4 Hours of Silverstone at midday on Sunday.

QUALIFYING TIMES >>