Sao Paulo, Brazil was the site of a milestone event for Toyota Racing today when Alex Wurz landed the #7 TS030-Hybrid on the pole with a flying lap of 1:22.383. He already held the top spot one lap earlier but wanted extra insurance. The Austrian was over seven-tenths of a second faster than his nearest rival from the Audi camp – the #2 Audi R18 ultra in the hands of Lucas di Grassi.
The two Audis were out first which Toyota expected; thus they waited until six minutes remained on the clock for the top prototypes. Third overall in the LMP1 class was the #1 Audi R18 e-tron.
“Qualifying was really cool. We expected a really tough fight, especially as the car felt quite nervous in this morning’s practice. But the team did a good job on the set-up before qualifying and the car was very fast. The hybrid system was just amazing; it gave a big kick coming out of corners,” said Wurz.
Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre will be aiming for the team’s first victory tomorrow. The Austrian added, “Obviously it is a long race but to get pole position is a great feeling and it shows the car is very competitive. I am optimistic but don’t forget this is only our third race; it will be a difficult race against strong competition but we will go full attack tomorrow.”
In the LMGTE-Pro class, the contest for the pole was a heated battle between the Ferrari, Porsche, and Aston Martin teams. In the fifth round of 2012, it was Darren Turner who grabbed the first WEC pole honors in 2012 for the Aston Martin team. The Briton’s time was a 1:33.855 in the #97 Vantage GTE.
Turner and Stefan Mucke hope to repeat their 2010 performance in Brazil when they landed a victory in the Aston Martin DBR9 GT1. “It was obviously important to qualify on pole and it was certainly the aim, but I wasn’t really expecting it,” said Turner. “Our lap times were slower this morning because of the ambient track temperatures, so we weren’t really sure what to expect this afternoon.”
The Briton added, “Our car does perform well in the higher temperatures and it’s now hotter than we’ve seen all week, so I think it worked in our favour. It’s great to be on pole and the team should be pleased with themselves, they’ve once again done a great job in preparing the car.”