The Qualifying for the 6 Hours of Shanghai FIA World Endurance Championship was run Saturday morning, European time.
The GTE cars were first to have 20 minutes of track time.
A rainy Friday turned into a dry Saturday, which gave the 11 GTE Pro cars and 9 GTE Am cars ideal conditions.
Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #67 had to pit early, with the mechanics making a few adjustments to the car, before Andy Priaulx headed back on track.
After the first drivers had done their times, we had BMW Team MTEK #82 with Antonio Felix da Costa fastest ahead of Aston Martin Racing #95 with Nicki Thiim and Porsche #92 with Michael Christensen.
In GTE AM we had Spirit of Race Ferrari #54 ahead of Gulf Racing Porsche #86 and Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77.
The qualifying in the FIA WEC is however an average of two drivers, so their teammates would have to try and match, if not better, the times set.
And that made a huge turnaround in the standings.
Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK #66 with Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla ended up on Pole Position in GTE Pro ahead of BMW Team MTEK #81 with Martin Tomczyk and Nicky Catsburg in second, followed by Aston Martin Racing #97 with Alex Lynn and Maxime Martin. Championship leaders Michael Christensen and Kevin Estre in Porsche #92 will have to start the race from fourth.
While the first 8 cars were separated by just 0,659 of a second, AF Corse Ferrari and especially Corvette Racing were far of those times, finishing 9th, 10th and 11th.
Aston Martin Racing #98 with Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda grabbed GTE Am Pole Position, ahead of Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche #77 with Christian Ried, Julien Andlauer and Matt Campbell, with Spirit of Race Ferrari #54 drivers Thomas Flohr, Francesco Castellacci and Giancarlo Fisichella in third.
The top 7 was just split by 0,545 of a second, split between AMR, Porsche and Ferrari. Gulf Racing Porsche #86 and MR Racing Ferrari #70 were far off the average times, since Michael Wainwright ad Motoaki Ishikawa were more than 3 seconds slower than any other driver in the qualifying.
Then it was time for the LMP cars, to have their 20 minutes session.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 with Kamui Kobayashi was initially fastest, followed by Bruno Senna in Rebellion Racing #1 and Fernando Alonso in Toyota Gazoo Racing #8.
LMP2 had Nicolas Lapierre in Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 leading Gabriel Aubry in Jackie Chan DC Racing #38 and Pastor Maldonado in DragonSpeed #31.
Larbre Competition #50 with Erwin Creed and Signatech Alpine Matmut #36 with Pierre Thiriet both had spins all by themselves, making the conditions a bit harder, having to set their qualifying times on slightly square tires.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #7 ended up on Pole Position with Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez, ahead of Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 with Fernando Alonso, Sebastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, while Rebellion Racing #1 with Bruno Senna, Neel Jani and Andre Lotterer got themselves into third. Rebellion Racing #1 was just 0,287 from Pole Position, so if they can keep that pace up in the race, there might be some excitement coming up tomorrow.
Then we have a big cluster consisting of SMP Racing #17, Rebellion Racing #3, DragonSpeed #10 and SMP Racing #11, who were all within a second of each other – but about a second from the three leaders…
ByKolles Racing Team #4 was way slower than all the other LMP1 competitors, being almost 4 seconds off the Pole Position time.
Local heroes Jackie Chan DC Racing grabbed a 1-2 with #38 (Ho-Pin Tung, Gabriel Aubry, Stephane Richelmi) ahead of #37 (Jazeman Jaafar, Weiron Tan, Nabil Jeffri), while DragonSpeed #31 with Pastor Maldonado, Roberto Gonzalez and Anthony Davidson were 3rd fastest.
But we might end up with today’s qualifying giving no indications of the results tomorrow – the weather forecasts say rain… But #7, #38, #66 and #98 can at least be happy about the bonus point for their respective Pole Positions today.
The race starts Sunday morning at 04.00 CET.