Vasselon, technical director of Toyota Gazoo Racing Europe, put the Japanese driver’s advantage over team-mate Brendon Hartley right down to his famend qualifying tempo and native information of the Fuji Speedway.
“He obtained every thing proper: the timing, the tyre preparation and the best way he dealt with the circuit,” defined Vasselon.
“We’ve got seen at Fuji drivers who’re used to the circuit have a small benefit. We see it in all groups: the quick guys are those that have been racing right here loads.”
Kobayashi, who can also be the workforce principal of the TGR WEC squad, admitted that he was stunned by his 1m27.794s lap aboard the #7 Toyota GR010 HYBRID Le Mans Hypercar, which was 1.5s faster than the mark with which he took pole for the Fuji 6 Hours this time final 12 months.
“The automobile felt actually sturdy in contrast with observe, it improved loads,” mentioned the Japanese driver.
“I used to be not anticipating a lap time like that, and I used to be a bit shocked once I noticed it.”
Vasselon additionally conceded that Hartley, who took pole within the #8 Toyota on the Portimao WEC spherical in April, bumped into stability points in the course of the 15-minute qualifying interval for the Hypercar class.
“Brendon was not super-happy with the stability,” he defined.
Hartley posted 1m28.418s to finish a Toyota 1-2 in qualifying on Saturday, however he was solely a few tenths up on the third-placed Porsche 963 LMDh certified by Kevin Estre.
#7 Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota GR010 – Hybrid: Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi, Jose Maria Lopez
Photograph by: JEP / Motorsport Images
Vasselon urged that the Hypercar qualifying session that completed in gentle rain was a little bit of a lottery and that a few of Toyota’s rivals weren’t capable of present their true tempo.
“We obtained it proper however confidently,” he mentioned. “We anticipated much more from Ferrari than they confirmed right this moment, and Peugeot additionally.”
Ferrari efficiency supervisor Mauro Barbieri claimed that “many particulars is perhaps considered the perpetrator” for the poor exhibiting in qualifying.
“The climate situations had been unpredictable, so perhaps that led us to some set-up selections that did not repay in full dry qualifying,” he defined.
He additionally urged that the preparation of the workforce’s Michelin tyres may additionally have been an element.
Barbieri paid to tribute to Kobayashi’s efficiency, saying the Japanese did “an astonishing job”.
Peugeot driver Mikkel Jensen, who ended up tenth in one of the best of the French producer’s 9X8 LMH, claimed that the workforce had “didn’t get the tyre to actually work” over the course of the session.
Loic Duval ended up eleventh within the sister automobile, however a full two seconds down on his team-mate after flat recognizing a tyre and having to go for a second run on a brand new set of Michelins because the situations deteriorated.