Audi Lock Out Front Row In America


Championship leaders Allan McNish and Loic Duval put the #2 Audi on pole ahead of the inaugural 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas.

The duo’s average lap time, a 1:48.355, was 0.262 seconds faster than their Audi team-mates Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler in the #1 machine, with the Toyota a further second back in third place.

“I immediately felt comfortable on this track,” said Duval. “Now we’re on the pole position although that’s not so crucial for a 6-hour race. But we scored a point in the Championship. Now we’ve got some more work to do for Sunday.”

Stephane Sarrazin‘s session in the Toyota was hindered by contact with the #32 Lotus-Praga T128, spinning the Toyota out at turn 1 and forcing the team to replace the rear wing assembly while swapping the car over to Sebastien Buemi.

“Audi is on the front row again with both cars,” added McNish. “I’m happy that we’re on pole after just barely missing it in Brazil. Compared with the competition we were good in the rain, and now we were on a dry track as well. As our sister car is battling for the title too, attack was clearly the best form of defence in qualifying today.”

G-Drive Racing took its second successive pole position, having taken the pole and the win in Brazil, with Mike Conway and John Martin setting the pace in the Oreca-Nissan. The session was almost over before it begun, however, as Martin was stranded in the pit lane for five minutes thanks to a faulty starter motor.

With the issue fixed Martin and Conway leapt to the top of the time sheets, setting an average time 1.010 seconds faster than the second placed OAK Racing Morgan-Nissan of Oliver Pla and Alex Brundle.

Aston Martin Racing unsurprisingly took GTE pole, having dominated the practice sessions throughout the weekend. The #99 V8 Vantage of Bruno Senna and Fred Makowiecki took pole with a time of 2:04.628, beating the second placed #91 Porsche AG Team Manthey machine by 0.27 seconds.

The Ferrari 458 Italias of 8Star Motorsport and AF Corse almost locked out the front row of GTE Am, but the latter ran out of fuel on its final lap, which had been its fastest of the session up to that point. Matteo Malucelli and Rui Aguas took pole in the #81 8Star machine with a time of 2:06.515, just 0.01 ahead of the all-Danish #95 Aston Martin V8 Vantage. Despite the fuel issues for the #61 Ferrari, its times were quick enough to take third on the grid.