WEC front row lock-out for Toyota Gazoo Racing at Monza

World Champions TOYOTA GAZOO Racing locked out the front row after a dramatic and incident-packing qualifying session for the 6 Hours of Monza.

José María López, who shares the #7 GR010 HYBRID with Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, took pole position with a lap of 1min 35.899secs. He was fastest in every session at the Italian circuit, which is hosting a WEC race for the first time this weekend.

Brendon Hartley, in the #8 sister car he drives alongside Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima, lapped just 0.062secs slower for a qualifying one-two, as TOYOTA GAZOO Racing fights for a third consecutive Hypercar victory.

“It was a great team effort to get a one-two,” commented Brendon Hartley. “There was just six hundredths of a second between us so it was really close.

“It was tricky out there; Jose went straight on a couple of times and I made a mistake at Ascari on my first lap. Obviously there was track limits to respect after we saw laps getting deleted in the GT qualifying, so we had to be cautious of that. But there is always a lot of pressure in these moments and that’s what makes it interesting.

“We didn’t go for another run at the end, in order to save a set of tyres for the race, and I think this was the right decision. I am happy with qualifying. It would have been nice to be 0.062secs faster and on pole, but we are in a great position.”

With a combined 1,419km completed throughout the three practice sessions at Monza so far, the team was well prepared when qualifying for the third round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) began under the early evening sun.

The session began with two aborted laps for José after locking the brakes going into the first chicane and taking the escape route. Meanwhile, Brendon improved on his second lap to consolidate his provisional hold on top spot.

Under pressure, José delivered the quickest lap of the week on his third timed run, demoting the sister car to second, moments before an LMP2 crashed, causing a red flag.

When the session resumed, just under three minutes remained, which was sufficient time for one final flying lap. But the team chose to keep the two GR010 HYBRIDs in the pit lane and conserve tyres for Sunday’s race, when tyre degradation in the summer heat will be a key factor.

Qualifying results:
1st#7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing1min 35.899secs
2nd#8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing+0.062secs
3rd#36 Alpine (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxivierre)+0.222secs
4th#708 Glickenhaus (Derani/Menezes/Pla)+0.787secs
5th#709 Glickenhaus (Dumas/Mailleux/Westbrook)+2.424secs
6th#31 WRT (Frijns/Habsburg/Milesi)+2.628secs

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