Toyota Gazoo Racing dominates qualifying as Brendon Hartley and Kamui Kobayashi claim the front row lockout for the 6 Hours of Portimao.
Hartley set a best time of 1:30.171 aboard the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, leading teammate Kobayashi by 0.273 seconds.
The pair of Ferrari 499Ps secured the second row, with Nicklas Nielsen’s No. 50 car securing third place with a 1:31.596.
James Calado was fourth, followed by Kevin Estre’s No. 6 Porsche 963 and Nico Mueller aboard the No. 94 Peugeot 9X8.
Frederic Makowiecki placed seventh with Cadillac Racing’s Richard Westbrook and Peugeot driver Paul di Resta in eighth and ninth, respectively. Romain Dumas completed the overall top ten for Glickenhaus, with Tom Dillmann eleventh in the No. 4 Vanwall Vandervell 680 Gibson.
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Bortolotti, Keating Secure LMP2, GTE-Am Poles
Mirko Bortolotti overcame early issues and a lap time deletion to claim the LMP2 pole position. The Italian charged to a best lap of 1:34.303, putting the No. 63 Prema Oreca 07 Gibson atop the timesheets in class, just 0.001 seconds clear of Vector Sport’s Gabriel Aubry. However, the No. 63 car remains under investigation for “behavior in the pit lane before the start of qualifying.”
In GTE-Am, Ben Keating beat Sarah Bovy and Diego Alessi to pole position. A late flyer from the No. 33 Chevrolet Corvette C8.R saw Keating reel off a best lap of 1:41.362, claiming his first pole of the season.
Bovy’s No. 85 Iron Dames Porsche 911 RSR-19 qualified second, 0.217 seconds down, while Alessi dropped to third after briefly holding provisional pole aboard the No. 21 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE Evo.
Toyota’s 20th WEC Front Row Lockout
The Kiwi driver Brendon Hartley scorched to a best lap of 1m30.171 in the No. 8 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, beating his stablemate and boss Kobayashi by 0.273 seconds.
This marks Toyota’s 20th ever WEC front row lockout, ensuring they start 1-2 for the 6 Hours of Portimao, the second round of the 2023 FIA WEC.
Ferrari secured the second row of the grid, with Nielsen in third place and Calado in fourth.
Porsche placed fifth and seventh with Estre and Makowiecki working the wheel in qualifying, while Mueller’s No. 94 Peugeot 9X8 took sixth place.
High-Drama in LMP2
The LMP2 category saw high-drama as Mirko Bortolotti fought back from technical issues and a lap deletion to take the category pole by 0.001s, the smallest margin ever for pole in WEC history. Bortolotti’s No. 63 Prema car was placed under investigation for the team working on the car in the fast lane of the pits as the session started.
LMGTE Am fell to Ben Keating, who avenged losing a Sebring pole to the Iron Dames Porsche by claiming the top spot in Portugal. Keating’s 1m41.362s lap wrested the top spot from Sebring pole sitter Sarah Bovy, with Iron Dames Porsche placing second as Bovy missed out by just 0.217s to Keating.
Looking Forward to the Race
With the intense qualifying sessions behind us, we’re expecting a big fight on race day, especially between Toyota and Ferrari. The 6 Hours of Portimao starts Sunday at 12:00 p.m. local time (7 a.m. ET). As teams prepare to tackle the challenging circuit, we’re sure to see some thrilling battles and unexpected moments throughout the race. Will Toyota Gazoo Racing maintain their dominance, or will Ferrari or another team rise to the occasion? Only time will tell, so be sure to catch all the action!
Full 2023 Portimao WEC Qualifying Table
Circuit Best Laps by Category