The pair of New Zealanders, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber, have secured the pole position in their No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid for Sunday’s FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Fuji.
Bamber hadn’t yet won an FIA WEC overall pole and shared qualifying duties with Hartley, the pair posting an average lap time of 1:35.160.
Qualifying took place under wet conditions in advance of a potential wet race on Sunday.
If Bamber, Hartley and Timo Bernhard end ahead of the No. 8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid, they wrap the driver’s championship.
“Due to the bad weather forecast for tomorrow it is very important to have both Porsches starting from the front row – this could be an advantage for us. We have again collected another point in the defence of both world championship titles,” Fritz Ensinger, vp of Porsche’s LMP1 program, said. “As expected, Toyota was very fast. A huge compliment to our whole team for a tremendous concerted effort. Now we are looking forward to an endurance race that will be the third last for us with the 919 Hybrid.”
Porsche also scored the GTE-Pro pole courtesy of Richard Lietz and Fred Makowiecki in the No. 91 Porsche 911 RSR.
Other class polesitters included the No. 13 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson (Nelson Piquet Jr. and David Heinemeier Hansson qualifying) in LMP2 and the No. 61 Clearwater Racing Ferrari 488 GTE (Weng Mok Sun and Matt Griffin qualifying) in GTE-Am.
The race starts at 10 p.m. ET Saturday night, which is 11 a.m. Sunday local time in Fuji.