Alonso and Nakajima pipped to pole at Silverstone

Fernando Alonso (ESP) TOYOTA GAZOO Racing.
© XPB 

Fernando Alonso and his #8 Toyota TS050 Hybrid team mate Kazuki Nakajima have been pipped to pole position for this weekend's Six Hours At Silverstone endurance race.

It's the first outing for the Le Mans winners since their success in June's race, and the first since Fernando Alonso announced he was quitting Formula 1 at the end of 2018.

Alonso had earlier set the best time in Saturday morning's final qualifying session. His time of 1:37.677s had been set on a nearly traffic-free track and was over a second and a half faster than SMP Racing pair Stéphane Sarrazin and Egor Orudzhev.

But it was a different story when it came to qualifying. This time it was their Toyota team mates Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez who between them were able to set the fastest time in the sister #7 car.

Conway and Lopez set an average laptime of 1:36.895s, which proved to be four tenths faster than the combined lap times of Alonso and Nakajima.

Conway's personal time of 1:36.769s was the best of anyone in the session. It was nonetheless only two hundredths of a second faster than Alonso in the initial runs. However Lopez was subsequently eight tenths faster than Nakajima to put the matter of the top spot beyond doubt

It's the #7 team's first pole of the current FIA World Endurance Championship superseason, after their top time at Spa in May was disallowed for a technical infringement.

"It's nice to get a pole after losing one at Spa," said Conway. "I made a mistake starting the lap and another in turn 4, so I aborted the lap and went again. I was conservative on track limits, but fortunately it was enough."

Jose Maria Lopez (ARG)  and Mike Conway (GBR)

Starting from third place on the grid for Sunday's race will be the #11 SMP Racing entry piloted by Jenson Button and Vitaly Petrov. Their combined time of 1:38.932s was two seconds off Toyota's pole.

Sarrazin and Orudzhev were seven tenths slower and are set to start from fourth place alongside their SMP stable mates. Rebellion Racing locked out the third row of the grid followed by the #10 DragonSpeed and the #4 ByKOLLES Racing Team.

LMP2 qualifying was dominated by Jota's Jackie Chan DC Racing entries which claimed a 1-2 success in class ahead of the #36 Signatech Alpine Matmut and the #28 TDS Racing entry.

The #29 Racing Team Nederland car starts fifth in class despite triggering a brief red flag during the session. Owner-driver Frits van Eerd went off at Corpse and got stuck in the gravel, requiring a stoppage while marshalls extricated the Dallara from its predicament.

Pastor Maldonado entertained the crowd with two spins and will start from sixth in LMP2 for DragonSpeed, despite having two lap times deleted for exceeding track limits.

Stefan Mücke and Olivier Pla took pole in GTE-Pro in the #66 Ford GT, while GTE-Am saw Team Project 1 top the class for the first time ever thanks to the efforts of Egidio Perfetti and Jörg Bergmeister in the #56 Porsche 911 RSR.

The 6 Hours of Silverstone itself gets underway at 12pm BST on Sunday.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing. World Endurance

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