Photo: WEC


WEC: Toyota ease to victory over Porsche in Fuji


Toyota showed their usual pace at their home circuit of Fuji as they dominantly filled out the front row for the next day’s race.

Kamui Kobayashi was the faster Toyota in the #7 car followed by Brendon Hartley in the #8 Toyota in p2 and +0.624s off Pole.

Porsche Penske Motorsport seemed to have found their rhythm as they locked out the second row with their best Qualifying result of the year.

Kevin Estre led the Porsches Penske line-up in the #06, only 0.083s faster than Frederic Makowiecki in the #05.

The highest off the Ferrari’s was James Calado in sixth, and over a second behind in fastest Toyota as Ferrari lacked the pace this weekend in Fuji.

In LMP2 Philip Hanson for United Autosport in the #22 snatched Pole position by just 0.091s from Louis Deletraz in the #41 Team WRT car.

Deletraz found himself in a United Autosport sandwich as Oliver Jarvis finished the session in third position in the #23, +0.271s off the number one starting spot.


LMGTE AM as usual came down to a straight shoot-off between Sarah Bovy for Iron Dames and Ben Keating for Corvette Racing. The American came out on top with a 1m:38.338s just +0.035s faster than Bovy in her #85 Porsche.

Third and Aston Martins’s best hope was the #777 Vantage driven by Satoshi Hoshino as Aston Martin hunt for their first win in the class of the season.



Heading into turn one the Toyota’s got caught off guard by Laurens Vanthoor in the #6 Porsche who squeezed the 963 down the inside of Mike Conway into turn one as they both ran wide off the circuit with Vanthoor rejoining the circuit as the leader.

The #5 Porsche 963 didn’t have the same luck as Michael Christensen returned to the pits with a rear right puncture after contact with the #51 Ferrari.

They weren’t the only ones who overshot the first corner with half the field joining them in sympathy except the #50 Ferrari, driven by Miguel Molina who just stayed on the circuit after nudging into the rear of the #8 Toyota. This allowed the Spaniard to move from seventh to second by the exit of turn one.

Meanwhile, further back in the LMGTE AM field Perez Companc L. found himself breaking on the grass entering turn one which sent him backwards into the corner as he had run out of room on the inside while trying to overtake the Iron Dames Porsche, everyone was able to avoid the Argentinean, as he rolled backward across the circuit and into the gravel bringing out the first safety car.

Mike Conway led Toyota’s recovery as with just under 50 minutes gone in the race the #7 Toyota was up to second after he passed the #50 Ferrari, as they went side by side all the way from turn one to turn three with the Brit prevailing as he held the inside for turn three.

In hour two of the race, Ben Keating was rewarded a 30-second stop/go penalty for moving across to the right of the circuit under braking and bashing doors with the #50 AF Corse Ferrari driven by David Rigon, which sent the Ferrari across the grass at Dunlop and skipping turn 11.

Proton’s 963 had some issues with its seatbelts during the race with the team needing to wheel the car into the garage to sort out the problems they were facing with them.

Kevin Estre in the #06 963 was able to hold on to the lead until his in lap with just over two hours to go when the #8 Toyota of Ryo Hirakawa popped out the slipstream into Dunlop and dove down the inside and through with Estre having no answer for the Toyota.

The Toyotas led the race one-two with two hours to go but the two swapped positions when at turn one the #8 moved to the inside to allow the #7 of Kobayashi to go past for a move that would hand the Japanese driver the race win.

In the fourth hour of the race, the LMP2 battle between the #23 United Autosports car and the #41 WRT car was decided when Louis Delétraz made his way past Phil Hanson into turn one which led to WRT’s eventual win.

Kamui Kobayashi in the #8 took a not-so-straightforward but dominant win over Brendon Hartley who was +39.119s down the road in a Toyota one-two on home ground.

Andre Lotterer brought the #06 Porsche Penske 963 home in an impressive third position, and just +47.768s back from Kobayashi.

Robert Kubica brought the win home for WRT in the #41 car, with Filipe Albuquerque in the #22 United Autosport car finishing second.

In the opposite of the day before, it was a Team WRT sandwich as the #31 finished third with Robin Frijns at the wheel.

David Rigon took the win in LMGTE AM for AF Corse in their #54 Ferrari with the other Ferrari run by Kessel Racing finishing second with Ritomo Miyata in the car.

Nicky Catsburg finished in third for Corvette Racing in the #33 with them already having wrapped up the championship at the last round in Monza.

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