Toyota Take Pole For WEC Finale

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The track dried out after the final practice session was conducted on a wet track Alex Wurz ran the fastest lap so far of the Six Hours of Shanghai weekend to claim pole for the final round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).

Though he set the overall best times through the first two sectors on his first flying lap around the 5.45km circuit a slow final part of the lap allowed Allan McNish to snatch the early provisional pole in the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, the Scot and co-drover Tom Kristensen still within range of taking the WEC drivers’ title away from the trio of drivers in the #1 R18.

Andre Lotterer was the man qualifying the car for the team leading the points into the final race, but the German was unable to compete with McNish and Wurz for pole position, needing three flaying laps before he set his best lap, though that was nearly four tenths slower than Wurz’s pole time of 1:48.979.

Wurz’s pole lap came despite completing the first two thirds of the lap half a second slower than his opening lap, and the final sector a tenth of a second slower than McNish’s. However, the lap was still a tenth faster than the Scot’s securing the third WEC pole position for Toyota Hybrid Racing and the second for Wurz, the Austrian having previously topped qualifying in Sao Paulo.

Karun Chandhok reprised the strong pace he and JRM showed in Japan, the Indian driver setting the fastest lap among the LMP1 privateer, beating Rebellion Racing’s Neel Jani by just 0.016 seconds to fourth fastest overall.

Also proving past pace was no one off was James Rossiter, who placed the #32 Lotus at the top the LMP2 timesheets, having started the weekend on top of the first free practice session. Sharing the car with regular co-driver Kevin Weeda and Jan Charouz, the Czech driver new to the team, Rositter outpaced the big names in LMP2 to clinch the team’s first pole position.

John Martin and ADRDelta, pole sitters twice this year, will start second fastest with four time pole winners Starworks Motorsports starting third thanks to Stephane Sarrazin’s lap. Olivier Pla set the fourth fastest lap in class for OAK Racing – who started the year off on pole for the 12 Hours of Sebring – Pierre Kaffer fifth fastest for Pecom Racing. The Pecom crew start the weekend on level points with ADR-Delta, the two teams fighting for second in the class championship.

Darren Turner put Aston Martin Racing on pole for the third time in the campaign, his best lap three-quarters of a second faster Team FelbermayrProton’s Richard Lietz and 1.666 seconds faster than Giancarlo Fisichella in the fastest of the two AF Corse Ferrari 458.

In fact, splitting the two LMGTE Pro Ferrari, was GTE Am pole sitter Paolo Ruberti, the Italian sharing the #88 Team Felbermayr-Proton Porsche with Gianluca Roda and Christian Ried. In leading the class, in 22nd overall, Ruberti garnered an extra championship point as they try to chase down Larbre Competition for the class title.

Julien Canal was the best man for the French Corvette team, qualifying third overall – Marco Cioci second for AFWaltrip. Pascal Gibon qualified the sister Larbre car fifth in class.

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James is our Diet-Coke fuelled writer and has been with TCF pretty much since day 1, he can be found frequenting twitter at @_JBroomhead
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