Toyota Gazoo Sweep Front Row during Fuji Qualifying
Toyota Gazoo Racing swept the front-row of the grid during qualifying for its home race after a dominant qualifying performance for the 6 Hours of Fuji. The race is the penultimate round of the 2023 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). Toyota Gazoo Racing leads the championship ahead of Ferrari heading into the race.
Kamui Kobayashi set a new Hypercar lap record of 1min 27.794secs on his way to pole position in the #7 GR010. By securing pole Toyota Gazoo Racing now holds a 27 point lead over Ferrari in the manufacturers championship. The No. 07 car led the team, finishing 6 tenths faster than than the No. 08 sister car driven by Brendon Hartley. The pair offered their thoughts on the session.
Kamui Kobayashi (Team Principal and driver, car #7):
“It’s great to get a result like this at our home track. This is an important weekend for us and to show our performance like this is very special. Due to the rain, we have had very limited running in dry conditions, but the team did a great job to put everything together for qualifying and I did a pretty good lap on my first attempt. The car felt really strong compared to practice; it improved a lot. I was not expecting a lap time like that, and I was a bit shocked when I saw it.
To have a fast car today is a good indication for the race but it will not be easy. We expect it to be a dry race and it could be hot, so we need to judge the tyre choice well and, as always, we need some luck. We are ready, we will work hard, and I hope we can finish one-two.”
Brendon Hartley (Driver, car #8):
“This is a really good team result. I wasn’t totally happy with the balance on our car, which shifted a bit since final practice when it had felt better. In qualifying I struggled a bit, although we are still second so it’s a strong performance. The rain was starting towards the end and even on my fast lap I had some spots of my windscreen. Qualifying in Hypercar is always a big fight and it was a tricky session for everyone, with the conditions and the challenge to find track position. Kamui did an amazing lap, bravo to him. It’s great to lock out the front row, now let’s go for the win.”
The No. 22 United Autosports car secured in class pole position. Hanson finished with a best 1m32.182s to lead the No.41 WRT entry driven by Louis Deletraz and take his first WEC pole of the season. United Autosports sister car driven by Oliver Jarvis claimed P3 with a lap of 1m32.453.
The in class championship has already been decided. Crowned champion Ben Keating takes his third pole position of the 2023 season as he sets a 1m38.338s lap in a mix condition session. Sara Bovy piloted the No. 85 Iron Dames Porsche to P2 ahead of the D’Station Aston Martin in third position with Satoshi Hoshino setting a 1m38.875s lap.