Toyota lock out front row in Fuji qualifying, Porsche P3 and P4

Toyota Gazoo Racing secured pole position at Fuji International Speedway ahead of Sunday’s six-hour race. The Japanese manufacturer locked out the front row for the second year in succession. Porsche Penske Motorsport put together a fine session to secure third and fourth positions on the grid.

Hypercar qualifying began in overcast conditions in Fuji, with a high risk of rain at some point in the session. As a result, all of the 12-strong Hypercar field took to the track early to try and set their fastest times. Indeed the rain did come, dashing teams’ hopes of improving their times at the end of the short session.

Kobayashi sets pole time for home race

Kamui Kobayashi was the fastest man in the field, posting a 1:27.794 on lap four of a seven-lap run. The Japanese driver was 0.6s fastest than Kiwi teammate Brendon Hartley in the championship-leading #8 GR010 Hybrid.

Despite initial issues raising tyre temperatures to a sufficient level, Porsche Penske Motorsport posted the third- and fourth-fastest times in Fuji qualifying. Kévin Estre put the #6 Porsche 963 third on the grid with a 1:28.687, while Frédéric Makowiecki finished fourth-fastest in the #5 machine with a 1:28.717.

Cadillac will start tomorrow’s race in fifth, ahead of the pair of Ferraris in P6 and P7 and the privateer Porsches on row four and five. Peugeot could only muster the tenth and eleventh fastest times, with Floyd Vanwall bringing up the rear in P12.

The unsettled conditions are set to continue on Sunday, with a threat of rain and even thunderstorms throughout the day. The race is due to begin at 11:00am local time, 4:00am Central European Summer Time.

The full list of qualifying results is available here.

Title image © Toyota Gazoo Racing press material