Qualifying LMP : Toyota claim Maiden FIA WEC pole
Alex Wurz timed his run to perfection and with just five minutes of the qualifying session remaining and secured the first pole position for the Toyota Racing TS030-Hybrid with a 1m22.383 lap around the Interlagos track.
The Austrian driver's time was 0.784 seconds faster than the time set by Lucas di Grassi in the No.2 Audi R18 ultra and a further 0.185s ahead of the No.1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro.
The leading LMP1 Privateer was the No.12 Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota of Neel Jani in 4th overall, with the No.21 Strakka Racing HPD-Honda of Danny Watts just 0.127s adrift in 5th overall.
There was a great battle for the LMP2 pole but Stephane Sarrazin in the No.44 Starworks Motorsports HPD-Honda took the top spot just ahead of John Martin in the No.25 ADR-Delta Oreca-Nissan and the No.26 Signatech Nissan Oreca-Nissan of Nelson Panciatici, with just 0.119 seconds splitting the three cars at the end of the 20-minute session.
Alex Wurz, No.7 Toyota Racing TS030-Hybrid: “Qualifying was really cool. We expected a really tough fight, especially as the car felt quite nervous in this morning’s practice. But the team did a good job on the set-up before qualifying and the car was very fast. The hybrid system was just amazing; it gave a big kick coming out of corners. Obviously it is a long race but to get pole position is a great feeling and it shows the car is very competitive. I am optimistic but don’t forget this is only our third race; it will be a difficult race against strong competition but we will go full attack tomorrow.”
Stéphane Sarrazin, No.44 Starworks HPD ARX 03b: “I am very happy for the team because we scored a point for the Championship. I am all the more pleased because we weren’t happy with the car in free practice. We therefore changed lots of things for qualifying and the car was much better. All the cars in the [LMP2] category are very close to each other so each detail can make a difference. We are going to attack and try to win the race, but above all we want to score lots of points. We have a good package so we have to go all out to try and win.”
Neel Jani, No. 12 Rebellion Racing Lola B12/60 Coupé-Toyota: “My first time was my best. That reminded me of my good old days in single-seaters! Yesterday, we did not think that we could secure this result. As the track is narrow, it's important for the race to be ahead. I think I lost two tenths of a second because my brakes were cold but it was difficult to find a clear window free of traffic. We are happy to take the “privateer” pole this time after being twice behind the HPDs. Perhaps the warmer conditions have helped us, but it is definitely the work of all the team that has made it!”
Round 5 of the FIA World Endurance Championship, the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo, will start at 12 noon tomorrow afternoon, with live coverage online at www.fiawec.com