Porsche has swept the front row for Sunday’s Six Hours of Fuji, following a rain-soaked qualifying session for the seventh round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.
The championship-leading No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid jumped to the top of the time sheets, thanks to a two-lap average of 1:35.160 by Earl Bamber and Brendon Hartley.
The 20-minute session, which began in a drizzle, quickly deteriorated, and saw times unchanged in the closing moments, despite some attempts to improve.
Bamber and Hartley edged out teammates Andre Lotterer and Nick Tandy by 0.071 seconds for the car’s second pole of the year, inching them close to locking up the drivers’ title, alongside Timo Bernhard.
The pair of Toyota TS050 Hybrids, which entered the weekend as favorites, were unable to match the German manufacturer in the wet.
The No. 8 Toyota, qualified by Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, were 0.195 seconds behind in third, followed by the sister No. 7 car, which was a distant fourth, nearly 1.5 seconds adrift.
It’s believed all four LMP1 hybrids opted to remain on Michelin wet tires throughout, although a number of LMP2 teams gambled with intermediates in the session with mixed results.
Vaillante Rebellion, meanwhile, locked out the front row in the class, with the No. 13 Oreca 07 Gibson of Nelson Piquet Jr. and David Heinemeier Hansson taking their first class pole of the season.
The pairing’s 1:44.196 average edged out the No. 31 Rebellion entry by 0.729 seconds.
The No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca of class championship leaders Thomas Laurent, Ho-Pin Tung and Oliver Jarvis will roll from third on the grid.
Rain is again in the forecast for tomorrow, with the race set to get underway at 11 a.m. local time.