The reigning world champions, Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU), have qualified for front row. The current championship leaders, Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE), will start the six-hour race on Sunday from sixth on the grid. Pole position went to their rivals from Audi: The car number 8 crew was 0.025 seconds faster than the best Porsche. This translates into a distance of less than 1.4 metres.

For Porsche, this year’s mission hots up with the race at the 4.549 kilometre Formula One circuit at the foot of Mount Fuji. Porsche’s target is to defend both titles, for manufacturers as well as for drivers. Mathematically, but only if there were extraordinary circumstances, an early outcome in Japan is possible.

In the WEC the average of the respective best laps of two drivers counts for the grid position. Bernhard/Webber (car number 1, position 2, 1:23.595 minutes) and Jani/Lieb (car number 2, position 6, 1:24.134 minutes) were the qualifying drivers in Japan.

In the morning’s third free practice session the two 919 Hybrids came third (car number 2, 1:24.558 Minutes) and sixth (car number 1, 1:25.623 Minutes).

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