TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will start the fourth round of the 2022 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) from second and fourth positions after qualifying for the 6 Hours of Monza.
Brendon Hartley secured a front-row start for the #8 GR010 HYBRID he shares with fellow 2022 Le Mans winners Sébastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa. His lap of 1min 36.335secs earned second place, 0.919secs away from the Glickenhaus on pole position.
Kamui Kobayashi qualified in the #7 GR010 HYBRID, which he drives alongside Mike Conway and José María López, and took fourth place. Kamui’s best lap was 0.584secs behind the #8 in a shortened session at the historic 5.793km Monza circuit, which celebrates its 100th anniversary this year.
The team prepared for qualifying with two practice sessions earlier in the day. In second practice, the crews worked on mechanical set-up options to optimise the cars for Sunday’s race, with Brendon setting the quickest time of a session which saw the six Hypercars separated by just 0.424secs.
Third practice was initially used to tune qualifying set-ups. Kamui and Brendon tried their cars on new Michelin rubber and low fuel loads to prepare for the 10-minute pole position contest, before the programme reverted to race set-up and tyre work.
When qualifying began at 5.50pm local time, track temperatures were 50°C and the competition on track was expected to be equally as hot.
The GR010 HYBRIDs waited briefly in the pits to ensure a clear track ahead, but both encountered issues on their first flying laps. Kamui’s lap was deleted due to a track limits violation, although this did not ultimately affect the final standings, while Brendon locked his front tyres and lost time.
Kamui used his second lap to prepare for a final attempt and took fourth place shortly before a red flag, caused by a problem for the #93 Peugeot. Brendon improved over his final two laps and eventually moved to within a second of the Glickenhaus, which benefits from a Balance of Performance adjustment this weekend.
Only 90 seconds remained when the red flags flew so qualifying did not resume and the grid was set. That leaves TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in a promising position to challenge for its third consecutive win of the season when the race begins at midday local time on Sunday.
Kamui Kobayashi (Driver, car #7):
“Starting from second and fourth is quite good, considering everything. Coming from our wins at Spa and Le Mans, it’s obviously a little disappointing not to be on pole but the race is long and we will push hard to improve our positions. Well done to Glickenhaus for their pole; they have been quick all weekend. It’s great for the fans to have such a competitive Hypercar class and it looks like all four manufacturers are strong, so there will be close competition. We need to make sure we have a clean race and can get the maximum from our package. It’s nice to race against different cars and compete closely on track but we want to win and that will be our target tomorrow. Let’s see what we can do.”
Brendon Hartley (Driver, car #8):
“It felt nice to push the GR010 HYBRID to its limits at Monza. It was a tough qualifying and everyone was making little mistakes. This is a high-speed circuit with big, bumpy braking zones and it is very easy to lock brakes. I wouldn’t say my lap was perfect. It was a bit scrappy here and there, but I guess all drivers will say the same thing. Clearly the Glickenhaus is quicker than us here; congratulations to them for pole position. On one lap they had a big advantage but it’s not just about qualifying. We can be satisfied with second because we have a six-hour race tomorrow to try to gain one position. It’s been really close in Hypercar throughout free practice. It will be close between six cars and that’s exciting; I’m looking forward to this race.”
6 Hours of Monza – Free Practice 2
1st #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 1min 37.692secs 47 laps
2nd #93 Peugeot TotalEnergies (Di Resta/Jensen/Vergne) +0.083secs 37 laps
3rd #708 Glickenhaus Racing (Pla/Dumas/Derani) +0.269secs 48 laps
4th #94 Peugeot TotalEnergies (Duval/Menezes/Rossiter) +0.369secs 38 laps
5th #36 Alpine Elf Team (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxiviere) +0.390secs 48 laps
6th #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.424secs 46 laps
6 Hours of Monza – Free Practice 3
1st #708 Glickenhaus Racing (Pla/Dumas/Derani) 1min 36.813secs 24 laps
2nd #93 Peugeot TotalEnergies (Di Resta/Jensen/Vergne) +0.207secs 31 laps
3rd #94 Peugeot TotalEnergies (Duval/Menezes/Rossiter) +0.272secs 29 laps
4th #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.488secs 34 laps
5th #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.733secs 29 laps
6th #36 Alpine Elf Team (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxiviere) +0.831secs 33 laps
6 Hours of Monza – Qualifying
1st #708 Glickenhaus Racing (Pla/Dumas/Derani) 1min 35.416secs
2nd #8 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +0.919secs
3rd #36 Alpine Elf Team (Negrao/Lapierre/Vaxiviere) +1.073secs
4th #7 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1.503secs
5th #94 Peugeot TotalEnergies (Duval/Menezes/Rossiter) +1.837secs
6th #22 United Autosports USA (Hanson/Albuquerque/Owen) +2.987secs