Reigning world champions Toyota will start the 2015 FIA World Endurance Championship from fourth and sixth with their two TS040 Hybrid racers. Though this position puts them behind both Porsche and Audi teams on the 6 Hours of Silverstone grid the team were pleasantly surprised by the pace of the revised car.
The #1 car, qualified by Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima will start fourth, the average of their fastest flying laps only six tenths slower than that of the pole winners in the #17 Porsche 919 Hybrid.
“Qualifying was slightly better than expected which is positive,” said Davidson. “Congratulations to Porsche, who we always expected to be on pole but I’m quite pleased with our performance. The car felt good. I’m happy with the balance and I’m looking forward to the race when it could be a different story.”
Nakajima, who took over for the second half of the 20 minute session, echoed his words: “I’m a little bit surprised to have such a strong qualifying pace; it’s better than we anticipated. I’m happy with the car and with the session. It’s a pity I lost a little time through the traffic in the final sector of my lap. Without that we could have got second place but it’s a long race and our performance level seems strong which is a good sign.”
The driver line-up in the #1 is completed by Sebastien Buemi.
Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway shared qualifying responsibilities in the #2 entry also to be driven by Alex Wurz in the race. Their average lap time was nearly two seconds off the pole time, but the strategy of the pair looked to the race itself, rather than the front row.
“I took the car from Stéphane on the used tyres as we wanted to save a set for the race,” said Conway. Their decision to use only one set of tyres, contrasted with the pole winners. “The car felt okay but there are still some areas to work on. It’s always interesting to see the lap times at the first event of the season. Porsche looks to be very quick over one lap but I think the race will be closer.”
The 6 Hours of Silverstone is scheduled to begin a noon on Sunday. www.theCheckeredFlag.co.uk will have Live Blog coverage of the entire race from the circuit.