Toyota and Kobayashi snatch first ever Hypercar pole

Toyota was wary of its LMP2 rivals ahead of qualifying for this weekend's opening round of the 2021 World Endurance Championship, but the Japanese manufacturer enjoyed a historical first at Spa.

Toyota Gazoo Racing's Kamui Kobayashi offered his employer the first ever pole for a Hypercar, the new category put on its rails this year by the WEC.

The former F1 driver edged the #8 Toyota sister car by 0.519s, but 1.667s clear of the third-placed car and closest LMP2 entrant, the Oreca of United Autosports.

"I am very proud to take the first Hypercar pole," said Kobayashi. "It’s not been an easy road to get here, we have had some problems this week, so it was not the perfect week up to now.

"But in qualifying we put everything together and the car was really good.

"I was really happy with my first lap on proper low fuel here, so I want to say thank you to the Toyota Gazoo Racing team, they have done a really great job with this car.

"It is a very difficult challenge to build a brand-new car to the Hypercar rules and I think to achieve that lap time is pretty good so I am pleased to be a part of the story of this car."

Saturday's Total 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps will kick off at 1:30 pm CET, or 12:30 pm UK time.