Campbell bags Qatar 1812 KM WEC pole for Porsche Penske

Campbell bags Qatar 1812 KM WEC pole for Porsche Penske

Alkass Digital

Matt Campbell in the No. 5 Porsche Penske 963 Hybrid Hypercar took the pole position for today’s Qatar 1812 KM – the first ever for Porsche at the World Endurance Championship.

The Australian produced a stunning 1m39.347s lap in the dying seconds of a thrilling Hyperpole session at the Lusail International Circuit. Campbell eclipsed the No. 7 Toyota Gazoo Racing entry driven by Nyck de Vries by 0.164s in a session that went right to the chequered flag. Today the race is scheduled to begin at 11am.

The first ever Hyperpole session outside of the 24 Hours of Le Mans witnessed Porsche’s first WEC top class pole since Bahrain 2017, their last race with the Porsche 919 LMP1 Hybrid. “It’s fantastic to get our first pole with the 963. We’ve made some really good tuning before qualifying and it’s paid off. I struggled in my qualifying simulation on Friday but we turned it around,” Campbell said.

De Vries’ return to the WEC was memorable as he sealed a front-row start for the Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 Hybrid Hypercar with a best lap of 1m39.511s.

Third on the grid will be the No.12 Hertz Team JOTA Porsche 963 as Callum Ilott made an excellent WEC debut in the gold liveried customer Porsche Hypercar.

Fourth was the No. 50 Ferrari AF Corse 499P of Antonio Fuoco, while the Kevin Estre driven No 6 Porsche Penske 963 Hybrid Hypercar claimed a fifth placed start. Peugeot rounded out the top six courtesy of a 1m40.067s from Jean-Eric Vergne in the #93 9X8 LMH.

Cadillac failed to live up to its form through the Prologue and free practice, Alex Lynn ending up seventh on 1m40.103s. Antonio Giovinazzi was eighth in the second AF-run factory Ferrari, Jenson Button ninth in the #38 Jota Porsche and Stoffel Vandoorne 10th in the #94 Peugeot. Brendon Hartley was bumped out of the top 10 in the dying moments of qualifying in the #8 Toyota.

LMGT3 pole for TF Sport Corvette

Meanwhile, TF Sport run No. 81 Corvette ZO6 LMGT3 car driven by Tom van Rompuy took the first ever LMGT3 pole position in Qatar by setting pole lap of 1m54.372s. The Belgian took a conclusive Hyperpole beating the Aliaksander Malykhin driven No. 92 Manthey PureRxcing Porsche 911 LMGT3 by 0.8s.

“I’m very happy to be on pole for my first WEC race, I couldn’t have dreamed of this!” A delighted Van Rompuy said.

The pole was not only the 10th qualifying success for TF Sport in the WEC but it also meant that Corvette became the first brand to claim a pole in all three GT classes that have raced in the WEC.

The No. 54 Vista AF Corse machine will start third as Thomas Flohr qualified the Ferrari 296 LMGT3 with best lap set just 0.003s off the second placed Porsche.

Starting the outside of the second row will be the No. 777 D’Station Aston Martin as Clement Mateu qualified the Japanese entered Vantage on his WEC debut.

Aston Martin will also start fifth after Ian James, who was quickest in the initial qualifying session, placing fifth in Hyperpole on a 1m55.320s lap in the Heart of Racing Aston Martin Vantage.

The remaining five places on the grid are made up of: 6th No. 85 Iron Dames Lamborghini; 7th No. 59 United Autosports McLaren; 8th No. 95 United Autosports McLaren; 9th Team WRT BMW; 10th No. 55 VISTA AF Corse Ferrari

Grid Slots 11 to 17 will be set as: 11th No. 82 TF Sport Corvette; 12th No. 88 Proton Ford Mustang; No. 91 Manthey EMA Porsche; 14th No. 31 WRT BMW; 15th No. 78 Akkodis ASP Lexus; 16th No. 87 Akkodis ASP Lexus; 17th No. 60 Iron Lynx Lamborghini; 18th No. 77 Proton Ford Mustang.