Audi locks out front row for 6 Hours of COTA

Audi Sport Team Joest completed a lockout of the front row of the grid for the World Endurance Championship‘s visit to Austin.

Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer, who are joined in the #7 R18 by the returning Benoit Treluyer, set the fastest combined average lap time to claim their third pole position of 2016.

Fassler initially set the quickest time during the first run, but his lap was deleted by the stewards when it was found he had overused his Audi’s fuel allocation. That put the sister R18, driven first by Loic Duval and then by Oliver Jarvis, into provisional pole before the round of pit stops.

Porsche followed in third and fourth, and opted to change the tyres on both of its 919 Hybrids in a bid to split or supersede the two Audis.

That plan was nullified quickly by Lotterer, who powered to the fastest lap of the session with a 1:45.708s time. He was followed closely by Jarvis, who waited until near the end of the session to put in a clean flying lap. Romain Dumas came close to putting the #2 Porsche on the front row, but he and Neel Jani were dropped to fifth by the stewards after Dumas broke a track limits rule.

That elevated the sister Porsche of Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard to third, with the highest placed Toyota moving up to fourth.

In LMP2, Signatech Alpine took its first pole position of the year as qualifying specialist G-Drive Racing failed to set a time.

A string of deleted lap times caused by track limits violations meant Alex Brundle was unable to set a competitive time in the G-Drive ORECA, which will start Saturday’s race from the back of the grid.

Signatech took pole with its drivers Gustavo Menezes and Nicolas Lapierre clocking an average time of 1:55.892s, which put them almost a second up on the second placed Manor ORECA driven by Roberto Merhi and Matt Rao.

GTE-Pro pole position went to the #95 Aston Martin of Marco Sorensen and Nicki Thiim, which in the hands of the latter driver eclipsed the two AF Corse Ferrari 488s in the timesheets.

Thiim’s quick flying lap ensured an average of 2:04.610s, just 0.042 seconds quicker than the time set by Davide Rigon and Sam Bird in the best of the Ferraris.

Aston Martin completed the sweep in GTE-Am, as Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana beat the class field despite struggling with traction control issues.