Fuji WEC is Toyota's 'best, but not only' chance to beat Porsche

This weekend's Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship will be Toyota's "best, but not only chance" to return to the winner's circle this season, according to Anthony Davidson

Fuji WEC is Toyota's 'best, but not only' chance to beat Porsche

Fuji produced Toyota's only WEC victory of 2016, but Davidson reckons that the form the TS050 HYBRIDs showed in last month's Austin round proves the marque can be competitive over the final two rounds of the series in Shanghai and Bahrain next month as well.

"We weren't expected to run Porsche as close as we did at Austin, and tracks like Bahrain and, particularly, Shanghai should be even better for us than Austin," Davidson told Autosport.

"Because of what we saw in Austin, I would say Fuji is not going to our only chance of scoring another victory this year."

Toyota closed a significant performance deficit to the Porsche 919 Hybrids in qualifying in the US WEC round to run them close in the race.

The #8 car shared by Sebastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima and Stephane Sarrazin, who replaced the absent Davidson, finished just 45 seconds down on the winning Porsche shared by Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Earl Bamber.

Toyota drivers Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Sarrazin won at Fuji last year on the first occasion over the second half of last season that the high-downforce version of the 2016-spec TS050 showed race-winning form.

That car lacked downforce compared with its rivals from Porsche and Audi, but proved well suited to Fuji with its long start-finish straight.

But Davidson pointed out that Toyota has traditionally performed well on a track on which it has only been beaten once since the rebirth of the WEC in 2012.

"We don't plan it this way, but we always seem to go well at Fuji," he said.

"It's more than just aero levels. It is a very low-grip surface, and maybe we are more reliant on mechanical grip and agility in the slow-speed corners.

"It is quite hard on the tyres as well, and that is a strength of our car and another reason why on race pace in Austin we faired better than our competitor."

Davidson also believes that Toyota will be competitive should the Fuji race include wet-weather running.

"Every time we have seen our car in the wet this year we have been competitive," he explained.

"There is always a high chance it can rain in Fuji and I would feel pretty confident about taking the fight to Porsche if it is a wet race."

A win for lead Toyota trio Buemi, Nakajima and Davidson would keep the title race open beyond Fuji.

Bernhard, Hartley and Bamber lead Buemi and Nakajima by 51 points, which means they only have to finish ahead of the #8 Toyota to seal the title with two races to go.

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