A dramatic opening qualifying session at the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps has concluded with the #7 Toyota – which qualified on pole – being excluded from the final classification.
The decision stems from stewards post-qualifying finding that the pole-sitting Toyota TS050 Hybrid had run the session with the fuel flow meter on the car not complying with the equipment declaration form, breaching Article 6.1.4 of the sporting regulations.
This means the #7 Toyota of Mike Conway, former F1 driver Kamui Kobayashi and José María López will start from the pit lane and be released to race after the last car completes one lap of the 7-kilometre Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps.
Following the stewards’ decision, this promotes sister car the #8 Toyota of current and former F1 drivers Fernando Alonso, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima to pole position.
Alonso – who has raced at top-level at the Belgian Grand Prix fifteen times in his Formula 1 career without ever winning at the Ardennes circuit – now has a fantastic opportunity to win his first ever race in the World Endurance Championship ahead of a tilt at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in July.
The #1 Rebellion Racing entry of German André Lotterer, Neel Jani and former F1 driver Bruno Senna now joins the #8 Toyota on the front row.
Meanwhile, Pietro Fittipaldi – grandson of former Formula 1 World Champion Emerson Fittipaldi – broke both of his legs during his 20-minute qualifying run up at the uphill section of Eau Rouge. The Brazilian lost control of his #10 DragonSpeed LMP1 entry at the famous high-speed corner, losing control and spearing into the left side barriers head first.
The 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps is the first round of the fourteen-month WEC Super season with the 2019 Le Mans 24 Hour concluding the championship in June next year.
Image via Toyota Racing