Austin WEC: Anthony Davidson/Sebastien Buemi put Toyota on pole

Toyota drivers Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi claimed their first pole position of the 2014 World Endurance Championship at Austin in a dramatic qualifying session

Austin WEC: Anthony Davidson/Sebastien Buemi put Toyota on pole

The team opted to wait before sending the #8 TS040 HYBRID out on track at the beginning of a 25-minute prototype session that started with a wet patch at the Turn 11 hairpin that leads onto the back straight.

Davidson went off on the wet patch and had to abort his first lap before putting in 1m48.9s and 1m49.0s laps, which gave him the fastest aggregate time of the first drivers in the cars.

Toyota waited again before sending Buemi out and the Swiss had managed only one timed lap, a 1m49.1s, before a red flag was shown after the #12 Rebellion-Toyota pulled over at Turn 12.

That meant he had only four and a half minutes to complete the car's four-lap qualifying run, but another 1m49.1s leapfrogged the car to the top of the timesheets.

"It's great when a plan comes together," said Davidson.

"We knew it was damp down at Turn 11 and took the decision to wait as long as possible, because it would be getting drier every lap."

Buemi added: "When you have a red flag and have done only one lap you are a bit nervous because you never know what can happen, but our times were very good — four laps within two tenths."

That gave Davidson and Buemi, who share their Toyota with Nicolas Lapierre, a four-lap average of 1m49.093s, which was more than a second clear of the second-placed Porsche 919 Hybrid driven by Neel Jani and Romain Dumas.

The #14 Porsche jumped to second ahead of its sister car, shared in qualifying by Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, when Jani returned to the wheel and managed a further flying lap to improve its aggregate.

Jani set the fastest time of the session overall on his first flying lap with a 1m48.8s, which was subsequently deleted because the car exceeded the maximum amount of energy to be returned to the track over the course of the lap by its recovery systems.

"We wouldn't have been on pole, but we would have been a lot closer to the Toyota," said the Swiss driver.

"We proved we have the ultimate performance and I am sure that whatever the problem was it didn't have an effect on our laptime."

Jani and Dumas set a four-lap average of 1m50.283s, which put them just two hundredths of a second ahead of team-mates Webber and Hartley.

Audi, which had set the pace in the two dry free practice sessions, ended up fourth and sixth after a lap trigger problem affected both its R18 e-tron quattros.

Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer ended up fourth, just four hundredths down on the second Porsche, after Fassler returned to the cockpit of the car for a second run.

"All the systems were confused, so it was not fun to drive," said Fassler.

"I got back in the car and it was better, but it was still not sorted, so it is very disappointing because we know what the car is capable of."

Fassler and Lotterer's average of 1m50.340s was two hundredths quicker than the fifth-placed Toyota qualified by Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway, while Loic Duval and Lucas di Grassi were a further 1.1s down in the second Audi.

OAK, AF CORSE AND PROSPEED HEAD CLASSES

The OAK/G-Drive Ligier-Nissan LMP2 took the LMP2 pole in the hands of Roman Rusinov and Olivier Pla.

Pla put in a 1m56.1s and a 1m55.7s to complete an average of 1m56.075s, which put the Ligier three tenths clear of the KCMG ORECA-Nissan 03R qualified by Tsugio Matsuda and Richard Bradley.

The AF Corse squad called the wetter conditions of the GTE qualifying session to perfection, which allowed Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander to take the GTE Pro pole.

Bruni was put back in the #51 Ferrari 458 Italia for a second run after Toni Vilander completed his two laps, the Italian setting a 2m05.245s to improve the car's average to 2m06.456s and jump to the top of the class times.

The #97 Aston Martin Vantage GTE ended up second in the hands of Stefan Mucke and Darren Turner on a 2m07.094s average.

GTE honours went to the ProSpeed Porsche pairing of Matthieu Vaxiviere and Emmanuel Collard, who are having their first race in a 991-shape 911 RSR.

QUALIFYING TIMES:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Time
1 LMP1 A.Davidson, N.Lapierre, S.Buemi Toyota Racing Toyota 1m49.093s
2 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 1m50.283s
3 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 1m50.302s
4 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m50.340s
5 LMP1 A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.Conway Toyota Racing Toyota 1m50.363s
6 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, T.Kristensen Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m51.456s
7 LMP1 D.Kraihamer, A.Belicchi, F.Leimer Rebellion Racing Rebellion/Toyota 1m54.665s
8 LMP2 R.Rusinov, O.Pla, J.Canal G-Drive Racing Morgan/Nissan 1m56.075s
9 LMP2 M.Howson, R.Bradley, T.Matsuda KCMG ORECA/Nissan 1m56.371s
10 LMP2 S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, E.Brown Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD 1m57.262s
11 LMP2 S.Zlobin, N.Minassian, M.Mediani SMP Racing ORECA/Nissan 1m58.791s
12 GTE Pro G.Bruni, T.Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 2m06.456s
13 GTE Pro D.Turner, S.Mucke Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m07.094s
14 GTE Pro F.Makowiecki, P.Pilet Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 2m07.099s
15 GTE Pro J.Bergmeister, N.Tandy Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 2m07.315s
16 GTE Pro A.MacDowall, D.O'Young, F.Rees Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m07.850s
17 GTE Pro D.Rigon, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 2m08.258s
18 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, M.Vaxiviere Prospeed Competition Porsche 2m08.271s
19 GTE Am K.Poulsen, D.H.Hansson, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m08.367s
20 GTE Pro R.Taylor, J.Taylor, T.Milner Corvette Racing Chevrolet 2m08.674s
21 GTE Am L.P.-Companc, M.Cioci, M.Venturi AF Corse Ferrari 2m08.758s
22 GTE Am G.Roda, P.Ruberti, J.Segal 8 Star Motorsports Ferrari 2m09.197s
23 GTE Am S.Wyatt, M.Rugolo, A.Bertolini AF Corse Ferrari 2m09.461s
24 GTE Am C.Ried, K.Bachler, K.Al Qubaisi Proton Competition Porsche 2m09.704s
25 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, C.Nygaard Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 2m12.271s
26 GTE Am T.Krohn, N.Jonsson, B.Collins Krohn Racing Ferrari 2m13.349s
27 LMP1 N.Prost, N.Heidfeld, M.Beche Rebellion Racing Rebellion/Toyota 1m53.746s
28 LMP2 K.Ladygin, V.Shaytar, A.Ladygin SMP Racing ORECA/Nissan 1m59.691s
- LMP1 C.Bouchut, J.Rossiter, L.Auer Lotus/AER -

Qualifying format: Aggregate times from four qualifying laps

shares
comments
Austin WEC: Audi leads final practice with Loic Duval
Previous article

Austin WEC: Audi leads final practice with Loic Duval

Next article

Austin WEC: Storm and crashes interrupt race, cause red flag

Austin WEC: Storm and crashes interrupt race, cause red flag
Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023 Plus

Why the WEC should make space for modern garagistes in 2023

OPINION: There is plenty of excitement over the glut of manufacturers tackling the Hypercar class of the World Endurance Championship this season. The selection committee is set to face headaches over who it decides to admit and who gets turned away from the 2023 entry list, but history tells us that the smaller entrants have a place

WEC
Jan 9, 2023
Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022 Plus

Autosport writers' most memorable moments of 2022

The season just gone was a memorable one for many of our staff writers, who are fortunate enough to cover motorsport around the world. Here are our picks of the best (and in some cases, most eventful) from 2022

Formula 1
Dec 31, 2022
Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay? Plus

Is Qatar the price motorsport fans have to pay?

OPINION: Fresh from hosting a controversial 2022 football World Cup, Qatar has added its name to the 2024 World Endurance Championship calendar. Although questions may be asked about its presence on the calendar, is it simply the price to pay for having a healthy racing championship?

WEC
Dec 21, 2022
How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title Plus

How Toyota defeated Alpine for the 2022 WEC title

Toyota #8 trio Brendon Hartley, Sebastien Buemi and Ryo Hirakawa outscored their rivals in the last season before the World Endurance Championship’s top class gets ultra-competitive. Here's how their Hypercar battle with Alpine and the remaining class tussles played out in LMP2, GTE Pro and GTE Am

WEC
Dec 5, 2022
The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age Plus

The long road to convergence for sportscar racing's new golden age

The organisers of the World Endurance Championship and IMSA SportsCar Championship worked together to devise the popular new LMDh rule set. But to turn it from an idea into reality, some serious compromises were involved - both from the prospective LMDh entrants and those with existing Le Mans Hypercar projects...

IMSA
Nov 25, 2022
How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game Plus

How Porsche's Le Mans legend changed the game

The 956 set the bar at the dawn of Group C 40 years ago, and that mark only rose higher through the 1980s, both in the world championship and in the US. It and its successor, the longer-wheelbase 962, were voted as Autosport's greatest sportscar in 2020 - here's why

WEC
Aug 25, 2022
Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes Plus

Why BMW shouldn't be overlooked on its return to prototypes

OPINION: While the focus has been on the exciting prospect of Ferrari vs Porsche at the Le Mans 24 Hours next year, BMW’s factory return to endurance racing should not be ignored. It won't be at the French classic next year as it focuses efforts on the IMSA SportsCar Championship, but could be a dark horse in 2024 when it returns to La Sarthe with the crack WRT squad

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2022
The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause Plus

The problem sausage kerbs continue to cause

Track limits are the problem that motorsport doesn't seem to be able to rid itself of. But the use of so-called 'sausage kerbs' as a deterrent has in several instances only served to worsen the problem, and a growing number of voices want to see action taken

Formula 1
Jul 18, 2022