A storming lap by Kamui Kobayashi has given Toyota Gazoo Racing pole for Sunday’s Six Hours of Shanghai, the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Kobayashi and co-driver Mike Conway combined for a best two-lap average of 1:42.832 in their No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, which has topped every session so far this weekend.
The average time was 0.440 seconds quicker than the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, qualified by Nick Tandy and Andre Lotterer, who had his initial lap disallowed due to exceeding track limits in Turn 16.
It marked the fourth pole of the season for Kobayashi and Conway, and the first for the Japanese manufacturer since the Nürburgring in July.
The No. 8 Toyota will start third on Sunday, six-tenths slower than their teammates, with championship leaders Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber qualifying fourth, following a spin by Bamber on his hot lap, who got held up by a LMP2 car.
Vaillante Rebellion inched closer in the LMP2 title race with the championship-contending No. 31 entry taking class pole, and earning a crucial point.
Bruno Senna and Julien Canal’s 1:49.217 edged out the No. 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca of Nico Mueller and Leo Roussel by less than three-tenths.
It’s put Senna, Canal and Nico Prost now only nine points behind the No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing trio of Oliver Jarvis, Ho-Pin Tung and Thomas Laurent, who qualified fourth after the Frenchman’s initial lap was disallowed, also for track limits.
The Six Hours of Shanghai is set for Sunday at 11 a.m. local time (Saturday 11 p.m. ET).