Allan McNish and Loic Duval posted the best four lap average in the nr2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro during qualifying for the 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas. The current championship leaders’ average lap was 1m48.355, 0.262 seconds ahead of teammates Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler in the nr1 Audi and 1.341s ahead of the nr8 Toyota TS030 Stephane Sarrazin and Sebastien Buemi after the 25 minute session.
Sarrazin’s session was blighted by a collision with the nr32 Lotus-Praga T128 of Jan Charouz, which put the Toyota into a spin at T1 and forced the Japanese team to replace the rear wing assembly on the pitstop to handover to Buemi.
The lone LMP1 Privateer entry, the nr12 Rebellion Racing Lola-Toyota was fourth fastest with a 1m52.081 average.
After their success in Brazil with pole and victory in the 6 Hours of Sao Paulo, the LMP2 pole in the USA was claimed by the G Drive Racing Oreca-Nissan of Mike Conway and John Martin. The session started badly when a faulty starter motor left Martin stranded in the pitlane for five minutes but once the car fired up the Australian soon appeared at the top of the timing screens, with Conway continuing the momentum to set an average time over the four best laps of 1m54.656, 1.010 seconds ahead of the nr24 Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan of Olivier Pla and Alex Brundle. The nr35 Oak Morgan of Bertrand Baguette and Martin Plowman was third fastest, just 0.072 seconds adrift of their teammates.
The 6 Hours of Circuit of the Americas is due to start tomorrow at 11:00 (CT) / 18:00 (CET) / 17:00 (BST) and the race will be streamed live across the world on the official website at www.fiawec.com, as well as on MotorsTV in Europe and partially live on Eurosport2 and Eurosport International.
Loïc Duval (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “I immediately felt comfortable on this track. Now we’re on the pole position although that’s not so crucial for a 6-hour race. But we scored a point in the Championship. Now we’ve got some more work to do for Sunday.”
Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “That was a very efficient job and a good team performance of the entire squad. Our car is very fast. Loïc and Allan showed a fantastic pace in qualifying. Now we’ve scored another important point. On Sunday, a hot and strenuous race in high humidity is awaiting us.”
Allan McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “Audi is on the front row again with both cars. I’m happy that we’re on pole after just barely missing it in Brazil. Compared with the competition we were good in the rain, and now we were on a dry track as well. As our sister car is battling for the title too, attack was clearly the best form of defense in qualifying today.”
Top of the GTE Class in Texas for Aston Martin and Ferrari
In an incredibly tight and exciting LMGTE session, the No.99 Aston Martin Vantage V8 of Bruno Senna and Fred Makowiecki claimed pole position with a best lap of 2:04.628. The French-Brazilian duo were in impressive form and beat the No.91 Porsche AG Team Manthey 911 RSR of Jorg Bergmeister and Patrick Pilet by 0.27 seconds. Just one tenth behind the Porsche was the No.98 Aston Martin Vantage of American Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Richie Stanaway, the latter two being tasked with qualifying. Just 0.7 seconds separated the seven cars in the Pro field and tomorrow promises to offer just as close a race as that seen in Sao Paulo.
In LMGTE Am, the Ferrari 458 Italias of 8Star Motorsports and AF Corse nearly produced a front row lock out for the Prancing Horse, the No.61 AF car running out of fuel on its last lap which had, to that point, been its fastest in the session. Matteo Malucelli and Rui Aguas in the No.81 Ferrari produced a string of fast laps which combined to reward them with pole position with an average lap time of 2:06.515. Agonisingly close to pole was the No.95 Aston Martin of Nicki Thiim and Christoffer Nygaard, their lap time being just one hundredth of a second behind the orange Ferrari. Matt Griffin and Marco Cioci were on qualifying duty in the No.61 entry and, despite their fuel issues, they claimed third place in class.
Tomorrow’s inaugural 6 Hours of The Circuit of The Americas is due to be hot, steamy and exciting in all classes. The race begins at 11:00 (CT) / 18:00 (CET) / 17:00 (BST) and the race will be streamed live on the official website at www.fiawec.com as well as on MotorsTV in Europe and partially live on Eurosport2 and Eurosport International.