Kamui Kobayashi placed the No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing GR010 Hybrid in pole position during the 6 Hours of Fuji, the penultimate round of the 2023 WEC championship.
In slightly wet conditions, Kobayashi posted a best time of 1:27.794 to lead the No. 8 sister Toyota driven by Brendon Hartley by 0.624 seconds. A rain shower in the final moments of the 15-minute session wiped out any improvement. late in the session. This is an ideal opportunity for the Japanese manufacturer to take the break from Ferrari which, on paper, can still challenge for the title.
The two Porsche 963s entered by Penske will start in third and fourth position on the grid, with the No. 6 car of Kevin Estre ahead of his teammate Fred Makowiecki. Alex Lynn rounded out the top five in the No. 2 Chip Ganassi Racing Cadillac, which held the provisional pole entering the race. It is the only Cadillac present in Japan, but it allowed itself to be ahead of the two Ferrari 499Ps from AF Corse which qualified sixth and seventh, ahead of the Porsche n°38 Hertz Team JOTA and the Porsche n°99 Proton Competition. Ferrari expected to suffer on the Japanese track, especially in the final winding sector which is not the 499P’s cup of tea. You will have to grit your teeth during the race.
After the hopes of Monza and the podium obtained in the race, Peugeot came down from its cloud because Mikkel Jensen, the fastest Peugeot 9X8, could not do better than tenth position, and with a gap of 0.5 seconds on 9th. The other Peugeot is even 4 seconds from pole.
Phil Hanson took the LMP2 pole in the No. 22 United Autosports Oreca 07 Gibson, putting both cars in the top three in the class. Hanson’s lap time of 1:32.182 was 0.091 seconds faster than that of Team WRT’s No. 41 Louis Deletraz, with United’s Oliver Jarvis in third place.
GTE-Am pole position went to Ben Keating in the No. 33 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R, who beat Sarah Bovy’s Porsche 911 RSR-19 Iron Lynx by 0.035 seconds. The No. 777 D’station Racing Aston Martin Vantage GTE will start third in class, followed by The Heart of Racing’s Aston, qualified by Ian James in fourth position.
The 6 Hours of Fuji will begin on Sunday at 11:00 a.m. local time.