James Calado ‘expected better’ from qualifying for Ferrari for the FIA World Endurance Championship’s 6 Hours of Fuji, telling media he was ‘quite surprised’ by the car’s lack of pace compared to the competition.
When asked how qualifying went, the Briton replied, “Quite surprised, honestly. I expected a little bit better than that. We knew going into this weekend, that we are at a slight disadvantage compared to Monza, with what we’ve been given. So, I think in reality that’s where we plan to be, but it’s still disappointing.”
Calado qualified his #51 Ferrari 499P sixth on the grid for tomorrow’s race, setting a 1:28.991 around the Japanese track, in the foothills of Mount Fuji. That was almost 1.197 seconds off Kamui Kobayashi’s pole position lap time in the #7 Toyota GR010 Hybrid, showing the pace deficit Ferrari currently have to Toyota.
“And then in terms of my qualifying, it was a good first lap,” he continued.
“I did get compromised in the last sector, but even so I don’t think we can compete with the Toyotas lap time. I think that was something magical by Kamui. It was a great lap, congratulations to them.
Possibly even more worryingly for Ferrari, they had both Cadillac and the Penske-run, factory-supported Penske Porsches ahead of them, with Kevin Estre taking third in the #6 Porsche 963, behind Kobayashi and Brendon Hartley in the #8 Toyota, then Fred Makowiecki in the #5 Porsche in fourth. Alex Lynn qualified the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R in fifth, and in doing so means Ferrari need to pass all three cars before thinking about challenging Toyota.
“I think tomorrow in the race is going to be difficult, because degradation is high for us.
So we’ll see what we can do with strategy. Fuji always plays plays tricks on us, with the weather especially. It’s like a little micro climate,” concluded the Briton.