Kristensen, Duval and McNish extend championship lead
Tom Kristensen, Loïc Duval and Allan McNish drove a faultless race today in Austin, Texas to win the 6 Hours of the Circuit of The Americas, the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
Held at the impressive Circuit of The Americas track, over 33,000 enthusiastic North American sportscar fans have enjoyed the combined entertainment over the weekend of the FIA WEC and the American Le Mans Series.
The Audi trio sealed their third victory of the 2013 season by 23 seconds over Toyota Racing and extended their championship lead over their team mates in the No.1 entry by 33 points. The No.8 TS030 Hybrid of Anthony Davidson, Stéphane Sarrazin and Sébastien Buemi challenged the Audis throughout, and finished a lap ahead of the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro which had a disrupted race due to incidents and accidents.
The No.12 Rebellion Racing Lola Toyota of Nicolas Prost, Nick Heidfeld and Mathias Beche, unchallenged in the LMP1 Privateer category, finished in fourth place overall with another impressive display of reliability and consistency.
The LMP2 class provided some very close racing in the first half of the race, and the only Safety Car period of the race on the first lap. After leading for much of the race, victory for the No.26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 03 Nissan was fully deserved; its second consecutive victory for Mike Conway, Roman Rusinov and John Martin. A second place finish today for the No.49 Pecom Racing ORECA 03 Nissan entry of Luis Perez Companc, Nicolas Minassian and Pierre Kaffer was enough to give them the lead in the FIA Endurance Trophy for LMP2 teams, while the No.32 Lotus Praga T128 of Thomas Holzer-Kraihamer-Charouz claimed its first podium finish of the season. This was some consolation for the first lap incident which befell the No.31 Lotus entry which led to its immediate retirement.
A fierce inter-team battle between the two No.24 and No.35 OAK Racing Morgan-Nissans resulted in contact between the team mates which ultimately affected the outcome of the LMP2 podium. Both cars had been challenging for the lead in the first half of the race and their 6th and 7th place finish was not the result the team was looking for.
As well as taking 25 championship points for the victory at the Circuit of the Americas, Tom Kristensen, Loïc Duval and Allan McNish were each the proud recipients of a Tudor Grantour Chrono Fly-Back wristwatch.
The Tudor Grantour Chrono Fly-Back is equipped with a 42 mm case and a Fly-Back pusher at 4 o’clock. The small seconds hand counter at 9 o’clock is set in a background motif reminiscent of automobile transmission belts. This Grantour model is available in steel and in a combination of steel and 18 ct pink gold.
Audi now hold a comfortable 69 point lead over Toyota but with 78 points available from the final three races, the Japanese manufacturer still has a mathematical shot at the title. With 138 points, McNish, Duval and Kristensen hold a 33 point advantage over their teammates Lotterer, Treluyer and Fassler (105 points). Toyota’s Davidson, Sarrazin and Buemi are currently on 81 points.
In LMP2 Pecom Racing are on 104 points, just three ahead of the no35 Oak Racing Morgan (101 points) and 13 ahead of the no24 Oak Morgan (91 points). Despite finishing 7th in class, Le Mans winners Baguette, Plowman and Gonzalez maintained their driver’s championship lead on 101 points, just three ahead of the Pecom Racing trio of Companc, Minassian and Kaffer.
The next round will take place on the 20 October in Japan at the impressive Fuji International Speedway in the shadow of Mount Fuji.