Toyota Gazoo Racing continued its strong late-season form in the FIA World Endurance Championship as Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway teamed up to grab pole position for the 6 Hours of Shanghai on Saturday.
Entering the penultimate round of the WEC season after a one-two finish in Fuji three weeks ago, Toyota picked up its fourth pole of the season with its No. 7 TS050 Hybrid, finishing four-tenths of a second clear of the rival Porsche team.
Kobayashi’s time of 1:42.526 proved crucial in securing the No. 7 Toyota pole after Conway lapped some six-tenths of a second slower, giving the duo an average of 1:42.832.
Nick Tandy and Andre Lotterer finished 0.440 seconds behind in the No. 1 Porsche 919 Hybrid, with Lotterer losing his first flying lap after being adjudged to have exceeded track limits.
The duo were left to settle for second, with the No. 8 Toyota and No. 2 Porsche cars finishing two-tenths of a second further back in P3 and P4 respectively.
The No. 2 Porsche crew of Brendon Hartley, Timo Bernhard and Earl Bamber will clinch the WEC drivers’ title in Shanghai with a top-four finish on Sunday.
The No. 31 Vaillante Rebellion Oreca 07 Gibson took pole position in LMP2 through Bruno Senna and Julien Canal, beating the No. 26 G-Drive Racing crew by two-tenths of a second.
GTE-Pro pole went to the ‘Dane Train’ No. 95 Aston Martin Racing crew, with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen combining to finish two-tenths of a second clear of Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre in the No. 92 Porsche 911 RSR. Class championship leaders James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi will start third in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE.
Aston Martin also topped the timesheets in GTE-Am as Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana grabbed pole by four-tenths of a second in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage GTE, beating the No. 77 Dempsey-Proton Racing team by four-tenths of a second.