TOYOTA Racing took a popular pole position for its home race following a close qualifying session at Fuji Speedway in Japan, venue for the penultimate round of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the Six Hours of Fuji.
Kazuki Nakajima, who returned to the #7 TS030 HYBRID this week alongside Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre, set the fastest lap of the afternoon, 0.140secs faster than the nearest challenger.
That result delivered the second pole position for TOYOTA Racing in its first five races and comes just a few kilometres away from the Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre where the TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing is developed.
TOYOTA Racing’s home race saw a large and enthusiastic crowd cheering on the #7 TS030 HYBRID, and Kazuki answered the challenge with a brilliant second flying lap, having encountered traffic on his first effort.
After warm-up at 07.55 tomorrow morning, TOYOTA Racing will therefore be at the front of the pack for the rolling start, at 11.00.
TS030 HYBRID #7 (Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre, Kazuki Nakajima)
Free practice 3: 1st (1min 27.567secs), 29 laps
Qualifying: 1st (1min 27.499secs), 6 laps
Kazuki Nakajima: “I am really happy to get this pole position at Fuji Speedway; it means a lot to me and the team. It was cool to see the reaction of everyone in the garage at the end of the session because we had big support and also big expectations as this is our home country, our home track. We saw this morning that the car was quick enough to fight for pole position and, even though I had a bit of traffic at the start of qualifying, I managed to get a clean lap. It is a good achievement but it is still Saturday; the race means a lot more than qualifying. It will be a tricky race, particularly because it is difficult to cope with traffic in the last sector. So we will have to be careful and make no mistakes. Our aim is to win the race; we will push hard.”
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: “This is a fantastic result; we are so happy to be on pole position for our home race. Our TOYOTA HYBRID System – Racing was born very close to Fuji Speedway so we are delighted to deliver this result in front of our colleagues from Higashi-Fuji Technical Centre and under the shadow of beautiful Mount Fuji. We are all happy to see Kazuki back in the team and he did an incredible job; it was a really quick lap and he thoroughly deserves this pole position. I am very proud we could deliver such a strong result but we must remember this is only qualifying; our main target is to win the race tomorrow. We have made the best possible start and now we have to complete the job.”