Polesitter Toyota 'on the back foot' at WEC Nurburgring

Pole winner Toyota believes it is second favourite behind Porsche going into today's Nurburgring round of the World Endurance Championship

Polesitter Toyota 'on the back foot' at WEC Nurburgring

The Japanese manufacturer suspects that Porsche's new high-downforce version of the 919 Hybrid will have an advantage over its TS050 HYBRID in the six-hour race based on the evidence of free practice.

Toyota driver Anthony Davidson told Autosport: "From what we have seen, it looks like they have got five or six tenths on us.

"I'm almost relieved that the gap is so small, so we are not giving up the fight.

"None of us has done a double stint yet, so hopefully our car will look after its tyres a bit better through the second stint."

Toyota Motorsport technical director Pascal Vasselon added: "They were looking good on the long runs.

"It is quite difficult to analyse, but I am not going to say that we are looking super-good."

Toyota also admitted that it didn't expect to claim pole with the #7 TS050, which ended up fastest on aggregate in the hands of Jose Maria Lopez and Kamui Kobayashi, and Porsche believes that it has "the faster race car", according to Timo Bernhard.

Both sets of Porsche drivers explained that they were disappointed not to get the pole.

Brendon Hartley and Bernhard, who qualified second, lost time respectively with tyre temperature issues and traffic in the #2 car, while Neel Jani lost approximately half a second with a moment at Turn 12 in the #1 car in which Andre Lotterer set the fastest time in qualifying.

Vasselon explained that Toyota has traditionally struggled at the Nurburgring since its arrival on the WEC calendar in 2015 because the circuit favours Porsche's hybrid system.

"Our double KERS [kinetic energy recovery system] produces far too much energy, which means we have to detune it and it has a negative effect on the car balance and the brake temperature," he said.

He explained that the Porsche, which recovers energy from a front-axle KERS and engine exhaust gases, was less affected by the stop-start nature of the Nurburgring layout.

"On the hybrid system side we are on the back foot," he continued.

"It hurts us and favours Porsche's systems, because they are able to boost to the maximum without any issues."

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