Audi Wins FIA-WEC Qualifying

Pole winning Audi R18. [Photo by Jack Webster]

Pole winning Audi R18. [Photo by Jack Webster]

by Jack Webster & Eddie LePine

The grid is set for Saturday’s FIA-WEC 6-Hour race at the Circuit of the Americas. In blistering hot conditions, which will continue for the race, Audi Sport Team Joest dominated qualifying to take the two top qualifying spots.

The #7 car of Fassler, Lotterer and Treluyer took the pole, followed by the sister #8 car driven by di Grassi, Duval and Jarvis.

Porsche took spots three and five on the grid, with the #1 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Bernhard, Webber and Hartley besting the #2 car driven by 2016 championship points leading drivers Dumas, Jani and Lieb, who qualified right behind the Sarrazin, Conway and Kobayashi Toyota.

Less than 1.5 seconds separate positions 1-6 on the grid. Once again, the FIA-WEC race looks to be a closely contested contest and a number of factors will certainly decide the outcome, not least of which will be the weather. With a forecast high of 95+ degrees, it will be interesting to see which will wear out first – the drivers or the tires.

Granted, the race isn’t starting until 5PM local time, but the temperature hasn’t been dropping that quickly later in the Texas afternoon, so it looks to be pretty hot until the finish. Team strategy on driver changes and tire changes looks to play a crucial role in the outcome of this race. We wouldn’t be surprised to see teams trying different plans with each of their team cars to put themselves in position to win.

In LMP2, the Signatech Alpine took pole by over a second over the Manor, with the entire LMP2 field separated by less than two seconds.

In LMGTE Pro and LMGTE Am, it was an all Aston Martin show, with Aston taking pole in both classes. In the Pro class, the top four cars – two Aston Martins, a Ferrari and the Ford GT are separated by less than one second.

In LMGTE Am, Porsche, Ferrari and Corvette will be chasing down the pole winning Aston Martin.

Stay tuned, there is going to be hot racing action in Austin on this very hot afternoon.

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