Toyota Gazoo Racing has claimed a dominant 1-2 qualifying run for Saturday’s FIA World Endurance Championship season-opening Total Six Hours of Spa, eclipsing the best of the LMP1 non-hybrids by nearly two seconds.
Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway combined to complete a best two-lap average of 1:54.583 in the incident-filled session, which included a heavy crash for the DragonSpeed BR Engineering BR1 Gibson of Pietro Fittipaldi.
The No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid edged out the sister No. 8 entry, qualified by Fernando Alonso and Kazuki Nakajima, by 0.379 seconds.
It marked a 1.6-second improvement from Kobayashi’s best time compared to Conway’s pace-setting lap from the free practice sessions combined.
Kobayashi and Conway will be joined by Jose Maria Lopez in tomorrow’s race.
The No. 1 Rebellion R13 Gibson will line up third overall, thanks to a 1:56.425 average from Bruno Senna and Neel Jani, with the team’s sister No. 3 entry qualifying fourth with Gustavo Menezes and Thomas Laurent at the wheel.
Mikhail Aleshin and Vitaly Petrov completed the top-five in the No. 11 SMP BR1 AER.
The two other BR1s hit trouble in the 25-minute session, first with Stephane Sarrazin, who crawled to a halt on the Kemmel Straight in his No. 17 SMP entry.
Moments after the session resumed, Fittipaldi, in the No. 10 DragonSpeed BR1, appeared to have bottomed out and drove head-on into the barriers at Eau Rouge resulting in a lengthy red flag period for the driver’s extraction and circuit cleanup.
Fittipaldi was airlifted to a hospital in Liege with suspected broken legs but is in stable condition.
The clock, which was stopped during both reds, resumed with 16 minutes remaining.
Both of the CEFC TRSM Racing Ginetts G60-LT-P1 Mecachromes, as expected, did not set any laps, with Ginetta having since confirmed the team’s withdrawal from the event due to lack of payment.
Signatech Alpine on LMP2 Pole
Nico Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet, meanwhile, took Signatech Alpine Matmut to pole in LMP2, in a class that was most affected by the two stoppages.
The duo combined for a 2:02.405 in their Alpine A470-badged Oreca to edge out the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca 07 Gibson by 0.024 seconds.
The pair of Jackie Chan DC Racing Orecas will roll off from third and fourth on the class grid, with the Free Practice pace-setting No. 31 DragonSpeed Oreca in fifth.
It suffered a spin on its in-lap after getting turned around by the No. 50 Larbre Competition Ligier JS P217 Gibson, which qualified last in class.
The Total Six Hours of Spa gets underway Saturday at 1:30 p.m. local time.