It was a dry qualifying for the 6-hour race at Fuji International Speedway, as the second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The GTE Pro and Am cars were the first to start.
The GTE Am teams were quick to be out on the track, while the Pro teams took a bit more time.
Amongst the Am cars was Gulf Racing UK Porsche #86 the first one to set a fast laptime, but it quickly got beaten by Aston Martin Racing #98. Nicklas Nielsen in AF Corse Ferrari #83 managed to set the second fastest time before he handed the car over to Francois Perrodo.
AF Corse Ferrari #51 and #71 were fast in GTE Pro, ahead of Porsche #92, before Michael Christensen took over the car from Kevin Estre. Nicki Thiim set the second fastest time before he handed over the car to Marco Sørensen.
Paul Dalla Lana in #98 had a spin on his first lap, but he quickly recovered.
It wasn’t as easy for Michael Christensen, who hit the curb and crashed into the armco hard. Luckily, he could pull away, but it was also impossible to improve from his P6.
Porsche #91 with Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni had the best average time for the two drivers, which gave them the Pole Position, ahead of James Calado and Alessandro Pier Guidi in AF Corse Ferrari #51, and Aston Martin Racing #95 with Nicki Thiim and Marco Sørensen was third.
Team Project 1 Porsche #57 with Jeroen Bleekemolen, Ben Keating and Felipe Fraga took Pole Position in GTE Am, followed by TF Sport Aston Martin #90 with Salih Yoluc, Charlie Eastwood and Jonny Adam, while AF Corse Ferrari #83 with Nicklas Nielsen, Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard would start from P3.
David Heinemeier Hansson finally got to drive in Team Project 1 Porsche #56, together with Matteo Cairoli and Egidio Perfetti, and they would start from fifth.
After that it was the LMP cars’ turn to have their qualifying.
Team LNT Ginetta #6 had done an engine change, and they were barely finished when it was time for the car to be on the track.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 was the first to set a fast time, and they even got a bit of slipstream from Rebellion Racing #1, down the long start-finish straight.
Racing Team Nederland #29 was the fastest car in LMP2 after the first driver, before they changed Nyck de Vries to Frits van Eerd.
Nothing would be decided before the second drivers got in the cars.
Team LNT Ginetta #6 spun with Charlie Robertson behind the wheel, and stalled on the track, not being able to restart the car. It triggered a red flag, so all the cars had to drive slowly back to the pits, with three and a half minutes left.
It took a really long time before the Japanese marshals got the stranded car removed, and the other cars were soon back on the track for a last attempt.
Toyota Gazoo Racing #8 with Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Brendon Hartley took Pole Position, ahead of the sister car #7 with Jose Maria Lopez, Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway, while Rebellion Racing #1 with Bruno Senna, Gustavo Menezes and Norman Nato was third.
Jackie Chan DC Racing #37 with Gabriel Aubry, Will Stevens and Ho-Pin Tung had the best average time in the LMP2 class, followed by United Autosports #22 with Filipe Albuerquerque, Phil Hanson and Oliver Jarvis, JOTA #38 with Anthony Davidson, Roberto Gonzalez and Antonio Felix da Costa in P3.
The weather forecast for tomorrow’s race says everything from dry to rain, so there’s nothing we can do but wait until eleven o’clock local time – or 04.00 CET, and see how the weather is at Fuji International Speedway.