Toyota and Ford Claim Pole in Top LMP and GTE Classes at Spa
Toyota claimed a front-row lockout in an incident-filled qualifying session. Ford continued their GTE Pro dominance, taking the fastest time in the GTE session.
Red flags will be what we remember from the LMP qualifying session. Early on, the #17 SMP Racing BR1 ground to a halt, and despite Stephane Sarrazin's best efforts, the car had to be recovered, ending their session. Not long after going green again, Pietro Fittipaldi in the #10 Dragonspeed had a big off at Eau Rouge, bringing out the second red flag. But ultimately it was Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi in the #7 Toyota who took pole with an average lap time of 1:54.583. Kazuki Nakajima and Fernando Alonso in the #8 came in just under four-tenths behind them. The two Rebellions will fill the second row of the grid, the #1 car ahead of the #3. Bruno Senna and Neel Jani set an average half a second ahead of Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent. SMP Racing's second BR1 entry starts tomorrow's race in fifth, and the ByKolles will start sixth. Having not gone out in qualifying, it has now been confirmed that the two Ginettas of CEFC TRSM will not be starting tomorrow.
For the first time this weekend, the #31 Dragonspeed is not at the top of the LMP2 timesheets. Starting tomorrow on pole (eighth on the grid) will be the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut thanks to a 2:02.405 average lap time from Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet. Jean-Eric Vergne and Andrea Pizzitola will start second on the LMP2 grid, with the G-Drive's average being just a couple of hundredths behind the Alpine. Third belongs to the 'Mighty 38' Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca with Ho-Pin Tung and Gabriel Aubry having taken qualifying duties. The second Jackie Chan DC Racing car lines up alongside them in fourth. Dragonspeed managed fifth in the session and ended the session facing the #50 Larbre competition (who finished at the bottom of the times) as the two came together at La Source. TDS Racing will start tomorrow in sixth and Racing Team Nederland seventh in class.
It was a session full of track limit warnings and lap time deletions, but it’s pole in GTE Pro for Ford Chip Ganassi Racing as Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell managed an average lap time of 2:12.947, continuing their dominance from this morning. From the start of the session there was little doubt that Ford would take the top spot, but despite Olivier Pla setting the fastest lap of the session, the #66 couldn’t quite beat the #67. Porsche took third and fourth, with the #91 finishing just four-thousandths of a second behind the #66. The two AF Corse Ferraris sit together in sixth and seventh, while Aston Martin in the first qualifying session for the new Vantage ended up eighth and tenth. BMW had a mixed session with the M8 of Da Costa and Blomqvist in fifth and the sister car in ninth.
Two out of the top three in GTE Am were Porsches, with the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing car claiming pole, thanks to a 2:16.357 average from Ried and Campbell. Meanwhile, the sister car, #88, finished with an average time of 2:16.768, good enough for fifth in class. The black and yellow 911 of Team Project 1 took third fastest, with Egidio Perfetti and Jorg Bergmeister aboard. Second place on the grid went the way of Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy in the #98 Aston Martin Racing. Gulf Racing gave qualifying duties to Michael Wainwright and Ben Barker - the pair qualified the car in fourth. TF Sport, MR Racing, Spirit of Race and Clearwater Racing will finish off the grid.
The 6 Hours of Spa will start tomorrow at 13.30 local time.
This article was originally published on Overtake Motorsport.
Shared with permission from the author.
Cover Image: Toyota Gazoo Racing