Toyota swept to a one-two finish in qualifying for the FIA World Endurance Championship season-opening 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps on Friday in a session interrupted following a big crash for Pietro Fittipaldi at Eau Rouge.

Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi teamed up in the #7 Toyota TS050 Hybrid to produce a combined average of 1:54.583, giving them pole position by three-tenths of a second over the sister #8 Toyota that featured Fernando Alonso.

Alonso finished over half a second back from the fastest time of the session on his qualifying run, leaving him and co-driver Kazuki Nakajima 0.379s back from the pole average at the end of the session.

LMP qualifying was interrupted by two red flag periods, the first coming early following a stoppage for the #17 SMP Racing entry on the Kemmel Straight.

A second was sparked with 16 minutes remaining following a heavy crash at Eau Rouge for Pietro Fittipaldi behind the wheel of DragonSpeed’s #10 BR Engineering BR1 Gibson. Fittipaldi was taken away in an ambulance following the crash, with no further updates provided regarding his condition at the time of writing.

A lengthy delay followed while the crash site was cleared and the barrier at Eau Rouge was repaired, with the session eventually resuming more than 30 minutes after the red flag came out.

Rebellion Racing led the privateer charge in LMP1 as it finished P3 and P4, albeit more than 1.8 seconds back from Toyota’s pole position time.

The sole remaining SMP Racing entry, the #11 BR Engineering BR1 AER, finished fifth ahead of the #4 ByKolles entry.

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After only completing six outlaps across the course of all three practice sessions, Manor did not feature in qualifying at all, leaving the team to sit out the season-opening race at Spa.

Signatech Alpine Matmut took pole position in LMP2 courtesy of Nicolas Lapierre and Pierre Thiriet in the #36 Alpine A470 Gibson. After a slow initial hot lap, Lapierre improved on a second run to put the team in contention for pole, beating the #26 G-Drive Racing entry by less than one-tenth of a second at the chequered flag.

Ford Chip Ganassi Racing won a tight battle for pole position in GTE-Pro, taking a one-two finish as the top three positions in class were separated by less than one-tenth of a second.

An impressive first run from Andy Priaulx sent the #67 Ford GT on its way to pole position, with co-driver Harry Tincknell’s lap giving the pair an average time of 2:12.947. Olivier Pla set the quickest time overall in the session in the sister #66 Ford GT, but a slower time from Stefan Mücke left the pair 0.083 seconds back in second place. Gianmaria Bruni and Richard Lietz combined in the #91 Porsche 911 RSR to finish third-quickest, albeit just 0.087s off the pole time.

Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen took fourth in class in the #92 Porsche ahead of the new #82 BMW M8 GTE, which will make its WEC debut from fifth on the grid with Antonio Felix da Costa and Tom Blomqvist.

AF Corse had a tough start to the season as its pair of Ferrari 488 GTE Evos could only finish sixth and seventh in class, beating only the two Aston Martins in eighth and 10th, plus the second BMW which split the Vantages in ninth.

GTE-Am saw Dempsey-Proton Racing take pole position by just two-thousandths of a second thanks to a rapid late lap from Christian Ried in the #77 Porsche. The lap denied defending champions Paul Dalla Lana and Pedro Lamy pole in the #98 Aston Martin Vantage, with the #56 Team Project 1 Porsche rounding out the top three in class.

The WEC 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps gets underway at 12:30pm BST on Saturday.

 

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