The #8 Toyota TS040 HYBRID of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Nicolas Lapierre has claimed pole position for the Six Hours of Circuit of the America’s, beating Porsche Team’s #14 Porsche 919 Hybrid by 1.1 seconds.
The #8’s average time, set by Davidson and Buemi, of 1:49.093 was enough to claim Toyota’s third pole of 2014, with Romain Dumas and Neel Jani only able to set an average of 1:50.283, giving the Toyota a dominant pole. In third is the second Porsche of Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber and Brendon Hartley, with Webber and Hartley setting the #20’s average time of 1:50.302.
In fourth is the first of the two Audi’s, with the #2 R18 of Le Mans winners Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Tréluyer, with Lotterer and Fässler setting a 1:50.340, with the #7 Toyota and the #1 Audi lining up behind.
In the LMP1 subclass, LMP1-L, Rebellion Racing took a 1-2, with the #13 R-One of Dominik Kraihamer, Andrea Belicchi and Fabio Leimer setting an average of 1:54.665, 5.5 seconds off overall pole. In P8 is the #12, with the car setting an average of 1:53.746, although that time was disallowed as only three laps were set due to technical issues.
The #9 Lotus CLM P1/01 – AER, making its WEC debut this weekend, didn’t set a time.
“It’s fantastic to claim our first pole position of the season, and it’s the first one with Sébastien and me sharing qualifying,” said Davidson. “It’s a great result as it really shows the true speed of the car. We had such a long break but to come back and realise we still have the speed, that’s really nice.
“Tomorrow is a different day but for now we will enjoy this moment. We had a plan and it all came together. The team did a really good job in difficult conditions so I am really proud of everyone.”
Photo Credit: Clement Marin / DPPI
In LMP2, G-Drive Racing’s brand new Ligier JS P2 Nissan wills start on pole, with Romain Rusinov, Olivier Pla and Julian Canal setting an average of 1:56.075, two tenths faster than KCMG‘s Oreca 03R – Nissan, with Matt Howson, Richard Bradley and Tsugio Matsuda setting an average of 1:56.31.
In P3 is FIA WEC newcomers Extreme Speed Motorsports, with the TUDOR United SportsCar Championship outfit running a HPD ARX 03B – Honda, with Scott Sharp, Ryan Dalziel and Ed Brown setting an average of 1:57.262, 1.1 seconds off the pace. The last two positions on the grid in LMP2 are filled by the two SMP Racing Oreca 03R Nissan’s, with the #27 of Sergey Zlobin, Nicolas Minassian and Maurizio Mediani ahead of the #37 of Kirill Ladygin, Victor Shaitar and Anton Ladygin.
“When we look at what we expected to achieve at this point, I think we’ve exceeded our own goals and expectations,” said Dalziel. “The two cars in front of us are world championship contenders and podium cars from Le Mans, so we know we’re against some of the best in the world
“We’re still trying to learn the tyre and I don’t think we quite hit it right. It seems the longer we run, the better we get, so we’ll keep pushing. We’re starting third and if we can leave here with a podium, that would be a good day for us.
“I think the changing track conditions are part of our problems. When we feel as though we’re starting to learn from the previous session, the rain comes and the track changes. That’s not helped us; we’re taking a step forward, then a step back when the rain comes.
“We’re starting in a good position for the race, but we’ve got a lot of work to do. The guys have the hard job tomorrow, executing six hours of pit stops. The drivers have to keep it clean if we do that, we have a good enough car for our Tequila Patrón HPD to finish up front.”
The 2014 Six Hours of CoTA takes place today, September 20, starting at 2300 UK Time.