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FIA WEC COTA QUALIFYING ROUND UP

Both Audi cars on front row at Austin

For the fourth time this year and for the third time in succession Audi has achieved the best starting base: the two Audi R18 cars locked out the front row of the grid for round six of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC).audi-cota-q

As previously at Silverstone and the Nürburgring, car number 7 was unbeatable in qualifying. Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) will be starting the race at Austin (Texas) on Saturday from pole position. “The car felt great,” said Lotterer, who set the fastest single time of 1m 45.703s. “This is fantastic for the whole squad that has been working hard lately.” Marcel Fässler completed the result – number 7 posted the best time of all entrants at 1m 45.842s. “Our Audi simply felt perfect in all turns. That was huge fun,” said the Swiss.

The number 8 sister car had to admit defeat by a very narrow margin, as Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) were lacking only 141 thousandths of a second in the end. “We were the fastest in all three free practice sessions,” said Oliver Jarvis. “Obviously, we’d have liked standing in front again as we previously did in Mexico, but I just didn’t catch a clear lap.” Loïc Duval, who achieved the second-best single time of all drivers, added: “Unfortunately, we had a little too much understeer. For the team it’s great that both Audi cars are at the very front. Now it’s about being top-class in the race as well.”

Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich was happy about the performance shown by his squad: “The fourth pole position in the sixth race shows how fast the Audi R18 is in its current version. Congratulations to our drivers who have achieved this result. We have an important and difficult race before us. A victory would be a sweet reward for the hard work of the entire team.”

Stefan Dreyer, Head of LMP at Audi Sport, emphasizes how hard the conditions at the Circuit of the Americas were: “We had air temperature of 35 degrees centigrade and tarmac of 45 degrees in qualifying. It was simply great to see how good our drivers were in these difficult conditions. I also take my hat off to the performance of the whole team because especially the last few days were hard work. We were in front in each session. Now we’re going to leave no stone unturned to be there on Saturday as well.”

The 6-hour race will start on Saturday at 17:00 local time. TV channel Eurosport will be airing live full-length-coverage during the night from Saturday to Sunday from 00:00 to 06:15 (CEST) in Germany. Audi will be keeping its fans up to speed on Facebook (AudiSport) and Twitter (@audisport).

Qualifying results

1 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18) 1m 45.842s

2 Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18) 1m 45.983s

3 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) 1m 46.560s

4 Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin (Toyota) 1m 47.218s

5 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) 1m 47.331s

6 Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima (Toyota) 1m 48.584s

7 Imperatori/Kraihamer/Tuscher (Rebellion) 1m 53.646s

8 Trummer/Webb (CLM-AER) 1m 54.577s

9 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi (Alpine-Nissan) 1m 55.892s

10 Bradley/Merhi/Rao (Oreca-Nissan) 1m 56.873s

Source. Audi

Aston Martin Racing takes double pole for 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas

Aston Martin Racing has done the double and taken pole position in both GTE Pro and Am classes for tomorrow’s 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas in an outstanding performance for the team.

Despite high ambient temperatures of 34°C, the #95 V8 Vantage GTE of Nicki Thiim (DN) and Marco Sørensen (DN) claimed their third consecutive pole position with a combined lap time of 2m04.610.

With the top five of the GTE Pro field split by only 0.279 seconds, their average was 0.042 faster than their nearest competition. The result gives the pair a vital additional point to extend their lead in an exceptionally close GTE Pro championship battle.

Thiim said, “Even after two laps that was incredibly hot in the Texan sun. That was an amazing effort from the team and for Marco and I to claim pole for the third time is great. It was quite close this time for pole, but that’s what we like. We enjoy racing and that’s what we’re here for and I’m really looking forward to tomorrow now”.

Sørensen, who set the pair’s initial times, said following the session, “We got pole for a third time in a row which is a great feeling and what the whole team was aiming for, but we now need that race win. If we can claim that tomorrow it will also help us a lot for the coming races and championship overall. We’ll rest up tonight because tomorrow’s race is going to be tough”.

The team is also celebrating a second pole position in GTE Am with the #98 entry of Paul Dalla Lana (C), Mathias Lauda (A) and Pedro Lamy (P); completing a successful day for Aston Martin Racing. With Dalla Lana and Lamy at the wheel throughout the session, the pair were able to set a combined average of 2m07.683.

Dalla Lana said, “That had to be the toughest quali I’ve ever been in. It was incredibly hot and greasy and Pedro and I really had to drive the car with some finesse to get the most from it. It’s great to come back like this, especially after the tough race in Mexico. We wanted to start this weekend in the right direction and we’re back on the top step for now”.

The #97 V8 Vantage GTE of Darren Turner (GB) and Fernando Rees (BR) will begin from fifth in the GTE Pro class for tomorrow’s race.

Speaking of today’s performance, Team Principal Paul Howarth said, “That was an unbelievable team effort across the board. We came here directly from Mexico fully focused on achieving our targets and while the track has thrown us many challenges, our ability to overcome them is down to proper execution by every member of the team.

Tomorrow’s race is going to be far from easy. It’s going to be very demanding, particularly as the race changes from the very hot daytime conditions into the cooler night, but as always it is about preparation and professionalism. Our big challenge now is to be ready to race at 5pm and convert our efforts this week into race wins”.

Source. Aston Martin

REBELLION RACING SECURES FOURTH ROW START FOR 6 HOURS OF COTA

After Friday’s qualifying session for the 2016 FIA WEC 6 Hours of COTA race, Alexandre Imperatori, Dominik Kraihamer and Matheo Tuscher will start the race from P7 on the grid having achieved an average lap time of 1:53.646 and a best lap of 1:53.642.

In so doing, the Rebellion R-One AER #13 takes the pole position in the LMP1 Privateer.

Alexandre Imperatori topped the whole field with the best top speed with 303,4 km/h recorded during the qualifying session.

The 6 Hours of Cota race will start on Saturday 17th September at 5 pm local time.

Alexandre Imperatori – Rebellion R-One AER #13 : “Our qualifying session could have been better, we struggled a bit compared to free practice this morning, the track was hotter, but we are pleased with our lap times. We think we have a good car for the race tomorrow. ”

Dominik Kraihamer – Rebellion R-One AER #13 : “ The ByKolles car is getting closer to us, but we managed to post good lap times during the qualifying session. I hope we will have a clean race. We have worked well with the team to improve the car during free practice and we are confident for tomorrow’s race. ”

Bart Hayden – REBELLION Racing Team Manager : “We are pleased to have achieved this qualifying result today. Starting from the fourth row of the grid is realistically where we thought we would be. We are looking forward to the race and are aiming to have a trouble free 6 hours. ”

Source. Rebellion Racing

TOYOTA GAZOO RACING READY TO RACE IN AUSTIN

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will start the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas from fourth and sixth after qualifying for the sixth round of the 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Austin, Texas.

Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi, who are second in the drivers’ World Championship, qualified in fourth place in their #6 TS050 HYBRID. Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima will start Saturday’s race from sixth in the #5.

With air temperatures hitting 33°C, the TS050 HYBRIDs competed in a 20-minute qualifying session during which two drivers from each car took part, with the grid decided on the average fastest lap time.

Kazuki and Mike began the session in their respective cars, with Mike completing an additional flying lap after encountering traffic on his first. His second effort put the #6 in fifth, with the #5 just behind.

Kamui also had traffic on his lap but recorded a strong time in the #6 while things did not go to plan for Sébastien in the #5. He twice had flying laps deleted after exceeding the track limits at turn nine, giving him no chance to improve position.

Track limits violations were a regular talking point and a similar offence for the #2 Porsche saw the #6 TS050 HYBRID elevated to fourth in the final seconds, with an average time 1.376secs behind the pole-position-winning Audi #7.

Throughout the season TOYOTA has displayed stronger race pace compared to qualifying and the team is looking forward to continuing this trend in Austin. The race begins at 5pm local time which means it starts in daylight and ends in darkness.

TS050 HYBRID #5 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima)

Free practice 3: 5th (1min 46.883secs), 30 laps

Qualifying: 6th (1min 48.584secs average)

Sébastien Buemi: “I am very frustrated because my laps were deleted. I couldn’t hear the information on the radio the first time so I didn’t know I had a problem. It’s my fault at the end of the day because I went too wide, so sorry to the team. The car didn’t feel as good as this morning so we will try to work on this for tomorrow.”

Kazuki Nakajima: “It was a tricky qualifying. The track conditions were not as good as this morning and it was difficult to put everything together. It seems like the track changes for every session so it’s not easy. Anyway, sixth is not a bad position to start the race. We need to prepare in detail and make the most of the car.”

TS050 HYBRID #6 (Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi)

Free practice 3: 6th (1min 47.347secs). 26 laps

Qualifying: 4th (1min 47.218secs average)

Mike Conway: “We made it to fourth which is a decent result. It was a pity I got traffic on my first flying lap because that really hurt us. With these track temperatures, the first lap was the key one but I was happy to get the time that I did with my second. Kamui did a good lap at the end as well so we can be pretty happy.”

Kamui Kobayashi: “It was not an easy session due to the heat; the track conditions were changing quite a lot. We managed to get fourth which is promising for tomorrow so I am satisfied. The target is as many points as possible and we are always stronger in the race than in qualifying so I’m looking forward to it.”

Free practice 3 results:

1st #8 Audi (di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis) 1min 45.719secs 28 laps

2nd #1 Porsche (Bernhard/Webber/Hartley) +0.332secs 24 laps

3rd #2 Porsche (Dumas/Jani/Lieb) +0.361secs 28 laps

4th #7 Audi (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer) +0.573secs 30 laps

5th #5 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1.164secs 30 laps

6th #6 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1.628secs 26 laps

Qualifying results:

1st #7 Audi (Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer) 1min 45.842

2nd #8 Audi (di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis) +0.141secs

3rd #1 Porsche (Bernhard/Webber/Hartley) +0.718secs

4th #6 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +1.376secs

5th #2 Porsche (Dumas/Jani/Lieb) +1.489secs

6th #5 TOYOTA GAZOO Racing +2.742secs

Source. Toyota

Porsche 919 Hybrids to start from rows two and three

The two Porsche 919 Hybrids will start from positions three and five on the grid for the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Austin, Texas. The reigning world champions, Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU), qualified in third. The current championship leaders, Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE), will start the six-hour race from fifth on the grid, after having lost one position when Dumas’ fastest lap time was taken away because of exceeding track limits. Audi took the front row.

The race at the 5.513 kilometre long Formula One circuit will start on Saturday at 17:00 hrs local time (midnight in central Europe). It is expected to be a tough battle for men and machines: Ambient temperatures are clearly over 30 degree Celsius and it is an extra challenge to race from daylight through twilight into the dark – and all this in a very competitive environment in the battle for the championship and with heavy traffic, in which the fast Le Mans Prototypes have to find their way to constantly lap slower GT cars.

In the WEC the average of the respective best laps of two drivers counts for the grid position. In Texas Bernhard/Hartley (car number 1, position 3, 1:46.560 minutes) and Dumas/Jani (car number 2, position 5, 1:47.331 minutes) were the qualifying drivers.

In the morning’s third free practice session the two 919 Hybrids came second (car number 1, 1:46.051 Minutes) and third (car number 2, 1:46.080 Minutes).

Quotes after qualifying:
Fritz Enzinger, Vice President LMP1: “Qualifying proved what free practice suggested: Audi is extremely fast on a single lap. Tomorrow we expect a highly interesting race that – like we saw recently – might be thrilling until the very end. We start at 5pm to drive into the night. It remains to be seen what this means in terms of temperatures.”

Andreas Seidl, Team Principal: “Positions three and five are not what we had hoped for. Unfortunately we lost Romain’s best lap by not respecting track limits, and because of this we now have a Toyota between our cars. If you look at our fastest lap time, it’s not a big gap to Audi, but we found it difficult to put perfect laps together in those high temperatures. We believe we will have a good car for the race. Both 919s have run completely trouble-free so far. Dealing with different track temperatures in the race will be a decisive factor. Six hours in these hot conditions will be very challenging for the drivers and the team. We will now do our final preparations and are looking forward to a very exciting race.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 1
Timo Bernhard (35, Germany): “The result is not what we wished for. The track conditions were different to what we had this morning in the third free practice session. This is not only because it’s cooler now, but also because other racing series have been on track since then. So there was different rubber laid down and we felt that. P3 was the maximum we could do. Audi was really strong today, but tomorrow we want to strike back.”

Brendon Hartley (26, New Zealand): “It was a tricky one. The track changed quite a lot since FP3 and we were a bit surprised by the balance of the car. Both Timo and I had pretty scruffy laps. I had traffic on my first, which was annoying, and then I didn’t really get the most out of my second attempt. Now we have to scratch our heads a bit to find out were we lost the balance we were happy with earlier. However, we started from P4 in Mexico, where we won, and we were happy with our race pace here in free practice. Thanks to the team, the boys worked until really late last night.”

Drivers Porsche 919 Hybrid number 2
Romain Dumas (38, France): “On my first lap I had to overtake an LMP2 car, but by that time our car was already difficult to drive. I have no idea what was the reason for this. Bad luck – we will see now for the race.”

Neel Jani (32, Switzerland): “On the first lap I had real difficulties heating up the tyres. The second flying lap was better, but I had some understeer – actually more than we had before. We have to look into it now. The Audis were quick, but in the morning we thought they were within reach. Looking at our fastest lap time in qualifying, there isn’t too much of a margin.”

Source. Porsche

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