Porsche will start Sunday’s Six Hours of Shanghai from the pole, following a hard-fought qualifying for the eighth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship that’s gone in favor of the defending World Champions.
Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley combined for a best two-lap average of 1:44.462 in their No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid to claim their second pole of the season and Porsche’s first since the 24 Hours of Le Mans.
It came in a dramatic final few minutes that saw Hartley get back into the car to complete his qualifying lap after his first lap was disallowed due to exceeding track limits.
The pairing, who will share driving duties with Timo Bernhard in tomorrow’s race, edged out the No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima by 0.060 seconds, following a late improvement by the Swiss driver.
Both cars that will start on the front row utilized three sets of tires for their qualifying runs.
Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval qualified the No. 8 Audi R18 in third, ahead of the Fuji race-winning No. 6 Toyota TS050 Hybrid of Stephane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi.
The championship-leading No. 2 Porsche continued its struggles, qualifying sixth in the hands of Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb, and nearly six-tenths off the pace from the sister pole-sitting 919 Hybrid.
Manor scored its first pole in LMP2, with Matt Rao and Alex Lynn combining for a 1:54.225 in their No. 44 Oreca 05 Nissan.
Their average time edged out the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460 Nissan of class championship leaders Gustavo Menezes and Nico Lapierre by 0.157 seconds.
The No. 30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2 Nissan qualified a season-best third with Tom Blomqvist and Sean Gelael, with the G-Drive Racing and RGR Sport entries completing the top-five in class.
LMP1 Privateer saw the No. 13 Rebellion Racing R-One AER of Dominik Kraihamer and Alexandre Imperatori outpace the ByKolles CLM P1/01 AER by nearly 1.5 seconds for class pole.
The Six Hours of Shanghai gets underway on Sunday at 11 a.m. local time.