Ferrari enjoyed mixed fortunes in a qualifying session at Fuji made particularly treacherous by the weather conditions. Light rain made it very difficult to pick the right tyres. In the GTE-Pro class the 488 GTEs of AF Corse, car no. 71 crewed by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird, and no. 51 with Alessandro Pier Guidi and James Calado, will start respectively from fourth and seventh. However, in the GTE-Am class Matt Griffin and Weng Sun Mok took pole position in the 488 GTE of Clearwater Racing. The sister car of Spirit Of Race finished fifth with Francesco Castellacci and Thomas Flohr at the wheel.
GTE-Pro. In GTE-Pro class Davide Rigon started the session in no. 71 with Alessandro Pier Guidi in no. 51. AF Corse decided to fit full wet tyres for both drivers on what was a single flying lap strategy: Davide recorded 1:48:719 while Alessandro stopped the clock at 1:49:097. At that point both cars returned to the pits, but while Bird set off again in no. 71 with wet tyres, no. 51 took a chance on carved slicks. Sam needed several laps to make a time before recording an excellent 1:47:671 on fourth lap for a combined total time of 1:48:195. This was under two-tenths off the second position obtained by the Ford of championship leaders Priaulx-Tinknell. Calado instead decided to go straight back to the pits to fit wets with which he then recorded a time of 1:48:544, bringing the crew’s combined time to 1:48:702. The Porsche of Lietz-Makowiecki took pole position.
GTE-Am. The day’s best result came in the GTE-Am class where Matt Griffin and Weng Sun Mok exploited their experience on the track under all conditions to secure pole. Griffin quickly recorded an excellent 1:49:121 before immediately handing over to Mok. The Asian driver did the rest, first recording a very good 1:50:395 and then bettering it with 1:49:695 for a winning combined time of 1:49:408. The other 488 GTE, no. 54 of Spirit Of Race, notched up the fifth fastest time of 1:50:797 thanks to the 1:50:682 of Francesco Castellacci and the 1:50:912 of Thomas Flohr. The Porsche of Bernhard-Bamber-Hartley took the overall pole position in 1:35:160. The race starts on Sunday at 11 am local time (4 am CET).
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