Toyota Gazoo Racing claimed a front-row lockout for the first race of its new Le Mans Hypercar as Kamui Kobayashi beat Kazuki Nakajima to the Total 6 Hours of Spa pole.
Kobayashi reeled off a time of 2:00.747 in the No. 7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid to lead Friday’s qualifying session which was held to the WEC’s new 10-minute, single-driver format.
Nakajima’s time of 2:01.266 in the sister No. 8 Toyota came up 0.519 seconds short of the pole number. The two Toyota drivers registered their fast laps early in the session.
Just over one and a half seconds off Kobayashi’s pace in third was LMP2 pole-sitter Filipe Albuquerque, who beat the other Hypercar entry from Alpine Endurance Team.
Albuquerque set the initial LMP2 pace before pitting and returning to the track to shave his first time down by almost half a second to a 2:02.404.
This enabled Albuquerque to undercut the 2:02.652 from Alpine’s Nicolas Lapierre, who waited until the latest opportunity to embark on his only flying lap attempt.
Nyck de Vries qualified fifth overall and second in LMP2 for G-Drive Racing, ahead of Racing Team Nederland’s Giedo van der Garde who took pole for the Pro-Am sub-class.
Norman Nato finished seventh for Realteam Racing, from G-Drive’s Roberto Merhi and the two JOTA cars with Stoffel Vandoorne and Anthony Davidson at the controls.
Estre Over a Second Clear in GTE-Pro
Kevin Estre demolished the Spa GTE lap record with a time of 2:11.219 that put the Porsche factory driver over a second clear of his competitors in the Pro category.
The 2019 Total 24 Hours of Spa winner’s flying lap in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 undercut former Ford GT driver Olivier Pla’s previous Spa record from 2018 by a second.
Miguel Molina qualified alongside Estre on the front row with a time of 2:12.351 in the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo, which came after the Spaniard’s first attempt was deleted for exceeding track limits.
Richard Lietz came through in third driving the No. 91 Porsche, ahead of Alessandro Pier Guidi in the No. 51 Ferrari.
Antonio Garcia rounded out the Pro order after producing a 2:13.106 in the No. 63 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R in the car’s first qualifying session outside North America.
In GTE-Am, Ben Keating claimed the top spot for his first outing in a TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GTE.
Keating, who filed a 2:14.660, led by almost a second from NorthWest AMR Aston Martin driver Paul Dalla Lana, while Dempsey-Proton Racing’s Andrew Haryanto was third.
The GTE session was red-flagged twice for accidents at Raidillon involving Am-class Porsches.
Christian Ried lost control of his No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Porsche three minutes into the session, while shortly after the restart Team Project 1’s Egidio Perfetti experienced a near-identical accident, spinning up the hill and into the right-side tire barriers.