The #7 Toyota crew return to Spa with a score to settle. Having lost their pole position time last year, Kobayashi and Conway took on qualifying once more, and are back on top.
This time last year we were expecting a Toyota front row lockout with the #7 crew leading the #8. But late Friday night the stewards decision came through – due to a fuel flow meter issue, the stewards stripped the #7 of it’s pole position. Toyota admitted fault, and Fernando Alonso, Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi would start on pole. A good headline for the Spaniard’s debut.
But, fast forward twelve months and it’s the #7 back on top. A mega effort for Kamui Kobayashi and Mike Conway puts their car on pole for the 2019 6 Hours of Spa. Intermittent rain gave the team something to think about, but despite showers on his lap, Kamui clocked a 1:53.812. A great benchmark for Conway to go with.
Into the pits, and in jumps Mike, ready for his attempt to secure pole. He clearly did an excellent job, putting in a 1:53.683. Faster than his teammate, and faster than the rest of the LMP1 field. Conway put in a lap that according to the WEC, is the fastest lap of Spa in the championship’s history. Their combined efforts amounted to a 1:53.747 – just under half a second clear of the sister car, and faster than the average time they lost last year.
“We knew that during my lap probably it was going to shower,” said Kobayashi. “But at least we tried to take the opportunity with the dries still, so we went there. Unfortunately on the last corner there was a little bit of shower. It’s not like a perfect lap, but still that was enough for me. I think the car was great, and Mike did a great job. Thanks to the team too, great job.”
“Yeah, it was a nice lap,” Conway added. “But obviously Kamui was quick and laid a really good lap down this morning in FP3, and then obviously again in qualifying, so I was like ‘OK, pressure’s on! Got to lay one down here!’ It was all looking good during the lap and the car was pretty hooked up, so I was happy to get across the line and go a bit quicker. Had a good gap to the sister car. But all credit to the engineers and all the guys on Car #7 for doing a great job all weekend. Tomorrow’s going to be pretty tricky I think, the conditions, so it’s good to start in the right position.”
So that’s their score partially settled. They’ve set a time more than worthy of the pole position they missed out on last year. Let’s hope the #7 is still on top come the race start – the crew more than deserves it.