The Audi Sport Team Joest R18 with the driver line-up of Lucas Di Grassi, Loïc Duval and Oliver Jarvis took pole position for Round Seven of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship at Fuji Speedway. Di Grassi took the first qualifying stint and put in a 1:23.854, improved by over half a second by his team-mate Duval who lapped in 1:23,286.
The average lap-time of 1:23.570 was enough to put them on pole for Sunday’s six-hour race by .025 seconds ahead of the #1 Porsche team 919 Hybrid. Mark Webber, who recently announced his retirement from professional driving, lapped in 1:23.525 while his team-mate Timo Bernhard put in a 1:23.665 on his second lap out of three.
To make it three different manufactures occupying the first three slots on the grid, Toyota Gazoo Racing’s #5 TS050-Hybrid will occupy third place after Kazuki Nakajima and Sebastian Buemi lapped in an average of 1:23.79.
Having last raced for G-Drive Racing at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Will Stevens returned to the team to put in the fastest lap time from the LMP2 field in qualifying to help the #26 car earn the class pole for the 6 Hours of Fuji. Stevens lapped in 1:31.332 while his team-mate Roman Rusinov put in a 1:32.064 to earn the Kent-based team pole position by .221 seconds ahead of the #36 Signatech-Alpine A460. Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre lapped in an average of 1:31.919.
Third on the LMP2 class grid will be the #30 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier JS P2 in which Antonio Gioviazzi and Sean Galael lapped in an average of 1:32.482.
In LMGTE Pro Ford Chips Ganassi Racing team UK locked out the front row in class with the #66 Ford GT taking pole, closely followed by the #57 car. AF Corse, with its #71 Ferrari F488 GTE, will line up third on the class grid after David Rigon and Sam Bird lapped in an average of 1:38.010.
In LMGTE Am the #98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 will start on class pole, followed by the #83 AF Corse Ferrari F458 Italia and the #50 Larbre Compétition Chevrolet Corvette C7 –Z06
The lights go out for the start of the 6 Hours of Fuji at 11:00 local time, which, for British-based enthusiasts, is 8 hours ahead of UK time.