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Qualifying report
WEC Portimao

WEC Portimao: Hartley leads Toyota 1-2 in qualifying; Ferrari third

Toyota claimed a first World Endurance Championship pole position of the season for this weekend’s Portimao round.

Polesitter #8 Toyota Gazoo Racing - Toyota GR010 - Hybrid: Brendon Hartley

Brendon Hartley led a qualifying 1-2 for the Japanese manufacturer, outpacing team-mate and team principal Kamui Kobayashi by nearly three tenths of a second.

Hartley’s 1m30.171s aboard the #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar compared with Kobayashi’s 1m30.444s in #7.

Toyota had a clear margin over Ferrari, which took pole in the Sebring season-opener last month, in the 15-minute Hypercar qualifying session.

Nicklas Nielsen was nearly a second and a half off the pace in third spot aboard the best of the Italian manufacturer’s 499P LMHs.

His 1m31.596s gave hm a four-tenth margin over team-mate James Calado’s 1m31.923s in the sister car.

Hartley said: “We put a bit of effort into qualifying this time because we were a little bit annoyed at Sebring.

“I knew the lap was good, but I also knew that I would have Kamui right behind me.

“We’re expecting a big fight tomorrow, especially with the red cars [Ferraris].”

Porsche took fifth position with Kevin Estre aboard the best of its 963 LMDhs.

His 1m32.404s was just a tenth quicker than the best of the Peugeot 9X8s in which Nico Muller posted a 1m32.517s.

Frederic Makowiecki took seventh position in the second of the Porsche Penske Motorsport entries just ahead of Richard Westbrook in the Ganassi-run Cadillac V-Series.R LMDh.

Glickenhaus got the better of Vanwall in the battle of the garagistes at the rear of the 11-car Hypercr field, Romain Dumas outpacing Tom Dillmann by half a second.

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

#50 Ferrari AF Corse Ferrari 499P: Antonio Fuoco, Miguel Molina, Nicklas Nielsen

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Mirko Bortolotti snatched a first LMP2 pole position for the Prema team by just one thousandth of a second.

The factory Lamborghini driver put in a 1m34.303s in the best of the Italian team’s pair of ORECA-Gibson 07s on his final flying lap to knock Vector Sport’s Gabriel Aubry off the top stop.

Bortolotti bounced back from losing an even faster time — a 1m34.284s — on his previous lap to a track limits infraction.

Prema’s pole remains provisional: an investigation was underway after the #63 ORECA was worked on in the fast lane in the pits at the start of the session.

Aubry’s 1m34.304s set early in the session gave him a margin of a tenth over United Autosports driver Phil Hanson, whose late improvement to a 1m34.451s promoted him to third.

Yifei Ye was also a late-improver and jumped to fourth aboard the best of the two Jota ORECASs.

Ben Keating claimed pole position in GTE Am right at the end of the session from regular qualifying sparring partner Sarah Bovy.

The Corvette Racing driver found four tenths on his final lap to jump from third to the top of timesheets aboard his Chevrolet Corvette C8.R and deprive Bovy of a third consecutive class pole for the Iron Dames team.

Keating’s final lap of 1m41.362s was two tenths up on Bovy’s 1m41.579s at the wheel of the Iron Lynx-run Porsche 911 RSR.

Diego Alessi claimed third with a 1m41.628s in the best of the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evos.

The Portimao 6 Hours, round two of the 2023 WEC, starts at 12:00 local time on Sunday.

Full WEC Portimao Qualifying results:

Cla # Drivers Car Class Time Gap
1 8 Switzerland Sébastien Buemi
New Zealand Brendon Hartley
Japan Ryo Hirakawa
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 1'30.171
2 7 United Kingdom Mike Conway
Japan Kamui Kobayashi
Argentina Jose Maria Lopez
Toyota GR010 - Hybrid HYPERCAR 1'30.444 0.273
3 50 Italy Antonio Fuoco
Spain Miguel Molina
Denmark Nicklas Nielsen
Ferrari 499P HYPERCAR 1'31.596 1.425
4 51 Italy Alessandro Pier Guidi
United Kingdom James Calado
Italy Antonio Giovinazzi
Ferrari 499P HYPERCAR 1'31.923 1.752
5 6 France Kevin Estre
Germany Andre Lotterer
Belgium Laurens Vanthoor
Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 1'32.404 2.233
6 94 France Loic Duval
United States Gustavo Menezes
Switzerland Nico Müller
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 1'32.517 2.346
7 5 United States Dane Cameron
Denmark Michael Christensen
France Frédéric Makowiecki
Porsche 963 HYPERCAR 1'32.560 2.389
8 2 New Zealand Earl Bamber
United Kingdom Alex Lynn
United Kingdom Richard Westbrook
Cadillac V-Series.R HYPERCAR 1'32.582 2.411
9 93 United Kingdom Paul di Resta
Denmark Mikkel Jensen
France Jean-Eric Vergne
Peugeot 9X8 HYPERCAR 1'32.703 2.532
10 708 France Romain Dumas
Australia Ryan Briscoe
France Olivier Pla
Glickenhaus 007 HYPERCAR 1'33.343 3.172
11 4 France Tom Dillmann
Argentina Esteban Guerrieri
Canada Jacques Villeneuve
Vanwall Vandervell 680 HYPERCAR 1'33.836 3.665

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