TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will start round two of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) from the second row of the grid following a close qualifying session for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps.
Less than four tenths of a second separated the top four around the 7.004km circuit as the Hypercars did battle in Belgium. Kamui Kobayashi, in the #7 GR010 HYBRID he shares with Mike Conway and José María López, was third fastest, only 0.316secs behind the pole-position Glickenhaus.
Brendon Hartley was just 0.050secs behind the sister car as he finished fourth in the #8 GR010 HYBRID he drives alongside Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa.
The 10-minute qualifying session started in bright evening sunshine and both cars immediately left the pit lane when the green flags flew. With fuel for three flying laps, both cars used their first timed efforts to generate the optimal tyre temperature.
Their second flying laps turned out to be the fastest for both Kamui and Brendon. When no improvement was seen early in the third lap, the two GR010 HYBRIDs returned to the pits for the final moments of the session.
The chequered flag confirmed a second-row start for Saturday’s six-hour contest. The race begins at 1pm local time and TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will draw on its experience, strategy and fighting spirit to challenge for victory.
Kamui Kobayashi (Driver, car #7): “I think third was the best we could do today; unfortunately we didn’t have enough. We did our best and the gap between our two cars is very close. Congratulations to Glickenhaus for their first pole position. The lap times are very tight between the Hypercars so we can expect an exciting race tomorrow. It looks like it will be much closer than it was at Sebring so I am looking forward to it. Today was only qualifying; the race is long and that’s what we focused our preparations on. Race day is the most important day. The target is of course to win but it’s also important that we score a lot of points, because we missed points in Sebring.”
Brendon Hartley (Driver, car #8): “It’s great to see competition so close, and all the Hypercars covered by just 0.3secs. It’s obviously annoying to come out fourth but we are still aiming for the victory, no question. Set-up-wise we went a little bit the wrong way and had too much oversteer, which made it a tricky car to drive. It was also a scrappy session and I had to back off on my first lap when I got a little too close to another car in front. I think we could be in for a great race. If we can do a perfect race, with consistency, great pit stops and strategy, we can fight for victory.”
1st #708 Glickenhaus Racing (Pla/Dumas/Derani) 2min 2.771secs
2nd #36 Alpine (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxiviere) +0.228secs
3rd #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.316secs
4th #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.366secs
5th #83 AF Corse (Perrodo/Nielsen/Rovera) +1.475secs
6th #31 WRT (Gelael/Frijns/Rast) +1.519secs
Free Practice 2:
1st #5 Team Penske (Cameron/Collard/Nasr) 2min 4.443secs31 laps
2nd #708 Glickenhaus Racing (Pla/Dumas/Derani) +0.021secs31 laps
3rd #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.249secs34 laps
4th #23 United Autosports USA (Lynn/Jarvis/Pierson) +0.378secs30 laps
5th #9 Prema Orlen (Kubica/Deletraz/Colombo) +0.577secs32 laps
6th #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.685secs34 laps
Free Practice 3:
1st #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 2min 3.225secs24 laps
2nd #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.202secs25 laps
3rd #9 Prema Orlen (Kubica/Deletraz/Colombo) +1.029secs22 laps
4th #36 Alpine (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxiviere) +1.565secs22 laps
5th #31 WRT (Gelael/Frijns/Rast) +1.598secs21 laps
6th #22 United Autosports USA (Hanson/Albuquerque/Owen) +1.677secs19 laps
The 2022 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing WEC Media Kit has been published and, along with rights-free video material and photography of TOYOTA GAZOO Racing’s motorsport projects, can be found at https://www.tgr-dam.com