Toyota Gazoo Racing has captured an unlikely pole for Sunday’s Six Hours of Nürburgring, with Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez securing the No. 7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid’s second straight pole of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.
Lopez and Kobyashi combined for a best two-lap average of 1:38.118, edging out the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, qualified by Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard, by 0.154 seconds.
The pair of Porsches, which dominated the time sheets on Friday and appeared to hold the upper hand with its new high downforce kit, will start second and third after being unable to match the Toyota on two-lap average pace.
Reigning World Champion Neel Jani and ex-Audi LMP1 ace Andre Lotterer could only muster a 1:28.278 average in their No. 1 Porsche, which was still a half-second quicker than the No. 8 Toyota in fourth.
Lotterer’s 1:37.886 lap time, however, was the quickest of the session, by nearly two-tenths over Lopez, who scored his maiden WEC pole in his first qualifying attempt.
All four LMP1 hybrids completed minimal laps, with only one timed lap from each driver in the 20-minute session, likely in a move to conserve tires for tomorrow’s fourth round of the season.
G-Drive Racing, meanwhile, kept its perfect pole streak intact in LMP2 with super sub Ben Hanley and Pierre Thiriet putting the No. 26 Oreca 07 Gibson on top yet again.
Hanley, subbing for the Formula E-occupied Alex Lynn, recorded a best lap of 1:44.331 in the TDS Racing-run Oreca, with his and Thiriet’s average some two-tenths quicker than the 24 Hours of Le Mans class-winning No. 38 Jackie Chan DC Racing Oreca in second.
The No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca, rebounding from an accident on Friday, was third quickest in the hands of Bruno Senna and Julien Canal.
Rebellion’s sister No. 13 car and the No. 35 Signatech Alpine Matmut Alpine A470 Gibson completed the top-five in class.
The Six Hours of Nürburgring is set for Sunday at 1 p.m. local time.