Audi has scored pole for Sunday’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji, in a hard-fought qualifying session that saw each of the LMP1 manufacturers separated by less than two-tenths of a second.
Lucas Di Grassi and Loic Duval combined for a best two-lap average of 1:23.570 in the No. 8 Audi R18, just barely edging out the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, qualified by Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley, by 0.025 seconds.
The No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima was third, just 0.169 seconds slower than the Audi.
It marked the fifth pole of the season for Audi and the second for the No. 8 crew, which will be completed by Oliver Jarvis in tomorrow’s seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi made it both Toyotas in the top-four, in the Japanese manufacturer’s home race, with the No. 7 Audi completing the top-five. Kobayashi’s 1:23.239 lap was the quickest of qualifying.
The championship-leading No. 1 Porsche of Neel Jani, Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas will roll off from sixth on the grid.
G-Drive Racing claimed its fifth LMP2 class pole of the season, with Roman Rusinov and super sub Will Stevens handling qualifying duties.
The pairing’s 1:31.698 combined time in the No. 26 Oreca 05 Nissan edged out the championship-leading No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460 Nissan of Nicolas Lapierre and Gustavo Menezes by 0.221 seconds.
Rusinov and Stevens, subbing for Rene Rast this weekend, will be joined by Alex Brundle on Sunday.
The No. 30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2 Nissan qualified a season-best third with its all-new lineup of Antonio Giovanazzi and Sean Gelael, who bumped the No. 42 Strakka Racing Gibson 015S Nissan to fourth.
The Six Hour of Fuji gets underway Sunday at 11 a.m. local tine.