Nyck de Vries narrowly misses pole with Toyota in Qatar, Porsche first

Nyck de Vries narrowly misses out on pole in Qatar, Porsche P1 in WEC

1 March at 20:05
  • Ludo van Denderen

Porsche have given themslevs the best starting position for the first race in the World Endurance Championship (WEC). The trio of Campbell, Christensen and Makowiecki put the number 5 hypercar on pole for the 1812-kilometre Qatar race, which is to be held on Saturday. Nyck de Vries achieved the second-fastest time with his Toyota.

Of course they were 'only' test days. And of course they were then 'only' free practice sessions. Surely, the fact that Porsche showed speed each time - even was often the best - suggested to some extent that the German team had taken a big step forward in the World Endurance Championship. Did that also mean that Toyota and Ferrari could be beaten? Were they throwing sand in the eyes of the competition (such as Porsche) all along?

Toyota and De Vries come out on top

The answer to that question is a partial 'yes', at least when it comes to Toyota. After three free practice sessions, in which reigning world champions, Toyota, could be found in the middle of the pack each time, the team from Cologne managed to perform as usual at the moment suprême. It resulted in a second place on the grid for the car with Nyck de Vries at the wheel. But the Japanese narrowly missed out on first place: that honour went to Porsche (lap time 1.39.347), which indeed seems to be a serious candidate for the world title this season.

It was Matt Campbell who put the number 5 Porsche on the first starting spot, with a margin of 0.164 seconds over De Vries. Callum Ilott finished third, with a time of 1.39.622 for Jota, Porsche's customer team. Incidentally, the second car Jota, in which Jenson Button drives among others, did not get further than spot nine. Antonio Fuoco was the best of the Ferrari drivers in fourth place. Reigning champion Brendon Hartley fell just outside the top 10 with the second Toyota.

Schumacher (Alpine) and BMW at the back

BMW makes their debut in hypercars in WEC this weekend. The German missed out on participating in the hyperpole - in which the best 10 cars compete for pole - by a wide margin. The best BMW (with Vanthoor, Marciello and Wittmann) could be found in spot 15, one place better than Robin Frijns, Rene Rast and Sheldon van der Linde (also BMW). Mick Schumacher reached fourteenth place in his first qualifying session in his Alpine.

WEC qualifying results in Qatar