As the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) begins its whistle-stop world tour to end the inaugural season Andre Lotterer and Lucas di Grassi led the way for Audi in the opening practice session for the Six Hours of Sao Paulo at the Interlagos track.
Having taken the lead of the championship after their Silverstone victory Lotterer set the fastest time for the #1 line-up of he, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid on a track drying after rain early in session.
With track conditions improving in the second half of the 90 minute session Lotterer set the best time of the session (1:24.370) towards the end of an 18 lap, 27 minute stint around the 2.67 mile Brazilian Grand Prix venue. Over the course his time in the car Lotterer first wrought the fastest time away from Nicolas Lapierre and the Toyota Racing crew, before taking nearly a second off the overall fastest with a series of laps that culminated his 114 mph average fastest lap around the twisting Autodromo Carlos Pace.
Both Lapierre and di Grassi joined Lotterer in going faster in the final half hour, the Toyota man reprising his Silverstone quirk of setting his best lap on his penultimate lap before pitting to hand over to teammate Alex Wurz, the TS030 Hybrid being run simply as two-handed effort with regular third man Kazuki Nakajima this weekend.
Drafted in for his home race to join Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish in the R18 ultra Di Grassi enjoyed the best of conditions in the #2 car slotting between Lotterer and Lapierre in second fastest (1:24.838).
Danny Watts was the best of the privateer LMP1 drivers for Strakka Racing, two tenths faster than Rebellion Racing’s Neel Jani.
Despite setting his best lap in the wetter conditions of the first half of the session Stephane Sarrazin was the best man in LMP2 for class points leaders Starworks Motorsport, with Tonio Liuzzi – a little surprisingly – second fastest in the Lotus Lola Coupe thanks to a time set on the final lap of the session. Silverstone winners ADR-Delta, also Starworks’ closest challengers in the points’ standings, were fifth fastest through John Martin, though he – like Sarrazin – was the first man out on track before less experienced co-drivers took over while the track was drying.
All four cars in GTE Pro were covered by just over half a second, Gimmi Bruni setting the best time for AF Corse as the Ferrari team swept the GTE classes. For the all Brazilian line-up in the teams GTE Am car former F1 and GT1 World Championship driver Enrique Bernoldi set the best time in the car he will share with Chico Longo and Alexandre Negrao Sr.