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Toyota ends long World Endurance Championship pole drought

Toyota, Silverstone WEC 2017

Toyota claimed its first World Endurance Championship pole since 2014 by blocking out the top two positions in qualifying for the series opener at Silverstone.

Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway claimed the top spot with a 1m37.304s average to end up nearly three tenths clear of team-mates Kazuki Nakajima and Anthony Davidson in the sister Toyota TS050 HYBRID.

Why Toyota can make up for heartbreak in 2017

Fastest time of the session was a 1m36.793s set by Kobayashi during the first runs, which Conway followed up with a 1m37.816s after his faster first lap was deleted for a track-limits violation.

Nakajima has been nearly nine tenths slower in the second of the two high-downforce Toyotas, but Davidson improved on his team-mate's time to reduce the gap to the pole winning car.

Kobayashi said: "The car was brilliant and I think that was a good lap time, but my team-mate did well as well."

The best of the Porsche's low-downforce 919 Hybrids trailed the pole-winning Toyota by 1.311 seconds.

Nick Tandy set the fastest Porsche time with a 1m38.454s, which gave him and Neel Jani third place on the grid with a 1m38.615s average.

That put them four tenths up on the second Porsche in which Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard averaged 1m39.063s.

Alex Lynn and Pierre Thiriet took qualifying honours in LMP2 for the G-Drive Racing squad.

Lynn topped the times after the first runs aboard the Russian-entered ORECA-Gibson 07 with a 1m43.412s, which stood as the fastest time in class.

Thiriet followed it up with 1m45.3663s, which gave them a 1m44.387s average.

Second place went to the Signatech Alpine ORECA qualified by Matt Rao and Nicolas Lapierre with an average just under a tenth away from the pole-winning duo in class.

Ford, Silverstone WEC 2017

British duo Andy Priaulx and Harry Tincknell claimed pole position for Ford on home ground in GTE Pro.

Priaulx was the only driver in class to dip under the 1m56s barrier, his 1m55.858s aboard the #67 Ganassi-run Ford GT from the first runs standing as the session's best.

Tincknell followed it up with a 1m56.947s on the same set of tyres to give the car a 1m56.202s average, which put it nearly a second up on the second-placed Ferrari shared by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird.

Rigon was more than second away from Priaulx on the first runs aboard the factory AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE with a 1m56.905s, the car ending up eight tenths in arrears on the averages on a 1m57.011s.

That put the Ferrari just over a hundredth up on the #95 factory Aston Martin Vantage GTE shared by Nicky Thiim and Marco Sorensen.

The reigning champions were in turn a tenth up on the second Ganassi Ford driven by Stefan Mucke and Olivier Pla.

The two new mid-engined Porsche 911 RSRs qualified at the back of the pack in seventh and eighth positions, Frederic Makowiecki and Richard Lietz ending up less than a tenth ahead of team-mates Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.

Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana took qualifying honours in GTE Am for Aston Martin.

QUALIFYING RESULTS:

PosClassDriverTeamCarTimeGap
1LMP1M.Conway, K.Kobayashi, J.M.LopezToyota Gazoo RacingToyota1m37.304s-
2LMP1S.Buemi, A.Davidson, K.NakajimaToyota Gazoo RacingToyota1m37.593s0.289s
3LMP1N.Jani, A.Lotterer, N.TandyPorsche LMP TeamPorsche1m38.615s1.311s
4LMP1T.Bernhard, E.Bamber, B.HartleyPorsche LMP TeamPorsche1m39.063s1.759s
5LMP2R.Rusinov, P.Thiriet, A.LynnG-Drive RacingORECA/Gibson1m44.387s7.083s
6LMP2N.Lapierre, G.Menezes, M.RaoSignatech Alpine MatmutAlpine/Gibson1m44.433s7.129s
7LMP2H-Pin Tung, O.Jarvis, T.LaurentJackie Chan DC RacingORECA/Gibson1m44.591s7.287s
8LMP2J.Canal, N.Prost, B.SennaVaillante RebellionORECA/Gibson1m45.194s7.890s
9LMP1O.Webb, J.Rossiter, D.KraihamerByKOLLES Racing TeamENSO CLM/NISMO1m45.235s7.931s
10LMP2M.Beche, D.H.Hansson, N.Piquet Jr.Vaillante RebellionORECA/Gibson1m45.323s8.019s
11LMP2T.Graves, J.Hirschi, J-E.VergneCEFC Manor TRS RacingORECA/Gibson1m46.102s8.798s
12LMP2F.Perrodo, M.Vaxiviere, E.CollardTDS RacingORECA/Gibson1m46.183s8.879s
13LMP2R.Gonzalez, S.Trummer, V.PetrovCEFC Manor TRS RacingORECA/Gibson1m46.494s9.190s
14LMP2D.Cheng, A.Brundle, T.GommendyJackie Chan DC RacingORECA/Gibson1m47.250s9.946s
15GTE ProA.Priaulx, H.Tincknell, P.DeraniFord Chip Ganassi Team UKFord1m56.202s18.898s
16GTE ProD.Rigon, S.BirdAF CorseFerrari1m57.011s19.707s
17GTE ProN.Thiim, M.Sorensen, R.StanawayAston Martin RacingAston Martin1m57.117s19.813s
18GTE ProS.Mucke, O.Pla, B.JohnsonFord Chip Ganassi Team UKFord1m57.269s19.965s
19GTE ProD.Turner, J.Adam, D.SerraAston Martin RacingAston Martin1m57.414s20.110s
20GTE ProJ.Calado, A.P.GuidiAF CorseFerrari1m57.466s20.162s
21GTE ProR.Lietz, F.MakowieckiPorsche GT TeamPorsche1m58.003s20.699s
22GTE ProM.Christensen, K.EstrePorsche GT TeamPorsche1m58.066s20.762s
23GTE AmP.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.LaudaAston Martin RacingAston Martin1m59.562s22.258s
24GTE AmT.Flohr, F.Castellacci, M.MolinaSpirit of RaceFerrari2m00.608s23.304s
25GTE AmC.Ried, M.Cairoli, M.DienstDempsey-Proton RacingPorsche2m01.347s24.043s
26GTE AmMok W.S., K.Sawa, M.GriffinClearwater RacingFerrari2m01.621s24.317s
27GTE AmM.Wainwright, B.Barker, N.FosterGulf RacingPorsche2m01.925s24.621s

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