The Alley

Porsche sweep Fuji qualifying

It was Porsche all the way in a rain-soaked qualifying for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Fuji.

Championship leaders, and the winners of the last four races, Earl Bamber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley took pole in the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

The point for pole position stretches their lead over the No. 8 Toyota machine to 52 points, with just 77 up for grabs for the remainder of the season. So long as the Porsche trio finishes ahead of Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima in the No. 8 TS050 Hybrid, Bamber, Bernhard and Hartley will take the crown.

Porsche not only took the pole, but locked out the front row, with the No. 1 crew of Nick Tandy, Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer turning a time just 0.071 of a second slower than the pole-sitting sister car.

The pair of Toyotas locked out the second row, with the championship-battling No. 8 squad beating out the No. 7 lineup of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez.

Porsche also took pole position in GTE-Pro, with the No. 91 car of Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz taking their first pole of the season in the 911 RSR.

Though Makowiecki and Lietz sit second in the championship standings, behind Andy Priaulx and Harry Ticknell in the No. 67 Ford GT, they beat them in qualifying by one spot, topping the Ford pair by 0.441.

“It was a bit of a step into the unknown today,” Tincknell said of qualifying in the Fuji rain.

“I pushed hard on the out lap to get a feel for the track and I just drove to the grip we had, using the references from the last practice session.

“The track was changing all the time though so I had to take an educated guess on the braking points for each corner but I managed to put a clean first lap together.

“It’s great to be on the front row so we’re very happy with that.”

The Michelin-shod Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE also took pole position in the GTE-Am category. Matt Griffin and Weng Sun Mok combined to put their No. 61 at the top of the class.

 

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