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No. 7 Toyota Loses 6H Fuji Pole

Speeding violation sees No. 7 Toyota demoted to back of grid…

Photo: MPS Agency

The No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid has lost its 6 Hours of Fuji pole position after Jose Maria Lopez was found to have exceeded the pit lane speed limit.

Lopez was clocked at 68.7 km/h (43 mph) while the maximum pit speed allowed is 60 km/h (37 mph).

The Argentinian had all his times deleted and was fined €900 for the offense, while the No. 7 car he shares with Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway will now start from the back of the 34-car grid.

This is because Lopez only completed one flying lap in Saturday afternoon’s two-driver qualifying session and didn’t have a reserve time to fall back on.

It marks the second time the Japanese manufacturer’s No. 7 car has been stripped of the top spot in qualifying – the previous occasion being when it was forced to start from the pit lane at Spa for a fuel flow irregularity.

The penalty means the No. 8 Toyota of Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima has inherited pole for round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

It will share the front row of the grid with the No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson which initially qualified third in the hands of Andre Lotterer and Neel Jani.

The ruling also promotes the No. 3 Rebellion to third, despite the Silverstone-winning car being penalized for a separate infraction.

Gustavo Menezes was found to have exceeded his car’s maximum fuel per lap usage on his third tour of the 2.8-mile circuit, resulting in the deletion of that lap and the next, although the U.S racer had already posted his fastest time and so does not lose a grid position.

The No. 3 Rebellion will now share row two of the grid with the No. 17 SMP Racing BR Engineering BR1 AER.

DragonSpeed’s No. 10 BR1 Gibson also breached the fuel quantity limit in qualifying which resulted in the deletion of six timed laps, including both fastest times set by James Allen and Ben Hanley.

The U.S team will now line up at the back of the LMP1 pack since both drivers completed backup laps during the session.

RESULTS: Qualifying (Revised)

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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