Toyota made the perfect start to the 2018-19 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) season by taking pole position for the season-opening 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps. Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, in the #7 TS050 Hybrid they share with José María López, took pole position with a 1min 54.583secs average of their fastest laps during a qualifying session which was delayed by 45 minutes due to two red flag periods.
Fernando Alonso took part in his first WEC qualifying session alongside team-mate Kazuki Nakajima and they completed a Toyota clean sweep. They will start second on the grid in the #8 TS050 Hybrid shared with Sébastien Buemi.
That result means Toyota will start from pole position for the 15th time as it attempts to win a fourth consecutive WEC race and 17th in total.
Mike and Fernando were first in their respective cars, eventually setting a lap time after a five-minute delay caused by a stranded LMP1 car. But Kamui and Kazuki had to wait even longer to set their lap times; a heavy accident for another LMP1 car took 40 minutes to clear but they kept their concentration and ultimately the #7 car took pole position by 0.379secs.
Toyota took pole position for the season-opening Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps
“They were a strong couple of laps between me and Kamui. The car felt good on my lap so I just let it do its thing really. It’s nice to get that point on the board for pole position and to start from the front row. Our team-mates kept us honest as always and it’s great for the team to be one-two in qualifying; we’ll try to convert it into a win tomorrow”, Conway said.
Fernando Alonso commented: “It was a good qualifying session and I enjoyed every single corner. I’m happy with the lap and the experience. There was a little bit of lap time to find, especially in the middle sector where I had some moments in turn eight and nine but I put a clean lap together then Kazuki did a great job with his lap. One-two for the team in the first qualifying of the season is good. There are a long six hours ahead of us but definitely, we want to stay at the front.”
— TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WEC (@Toyota_Hybrid) May 4, 2018