Ford has ended Aston Martin Racing’s streak of three consecutive class poles by dominating GTE-Pro class qualifying for tomorrow’s FIA WEC Six Hours of Fuji.
Stefan Muecke and Olivier Pla combined for a best two-lap average of 1:37.681 in the No. 66 Ford GT, which was only 0.044 seconds clear of the sister car of Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell.
It’s the first pole for the UK-based Ford Chip Ganassi Racing after the IMSA team’s class pole and win at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
The American manufacturer already dominated all three practice sessions this weekend.
AF Corse claimed the second starting row in GTE-Pro, but was already more than three-tenths of the Ford’s pace.
The No. 71 Ferrari 488 GTE of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird put in the third time, one-tenth quicker than the No. 51 entry of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado.
Following class poles at Nürburgring, Mexico City and Circuit of The Americas, AMR had to settle for fifth and sixth on the grid, with the No. 95 Aston Martin Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen a half-second slower than the class pole-sitting Ford.
Meanwhile, Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy claimed their fifth class pole of the season in GTE-Am in the No. 98 Aston Martin.
They set an average time of 1:39.490, which put them more than three-tenths clear from the No. 83 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT of championship leaders Francois Perrodo, Rui Aguas and Emmanuel Collard.
Lamy and Dalla Lana will share driving duties with Mathias Lauda on Sunday, with the race getting underway at 11 a.m. local time.