Audi R18 tops WEC Mexico qualifiers

 2016 WRC Mexico Audi R18 tops qualifying At the WEC (World Endurance Championship) fifth round qualifiers in Mexico, Audi Sport captured their third pole of the season, with the no.8 R18 on pole for the first time. The Audi R18 no.8 of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis qualified ahead of Porsche WEC crew of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb.

The second Audi R18 of Marcel Fässler and Andre Lotterer was third fastest. Both Audi R18 cars were the only race cars in the field with fastest lap times better than 1:25.

Di Grassi commented on his first pole position with Audi. “I had a clear track and was able to extract everything from the car.”

The sister car, no. 7, which had started the Silverstone and Nürburgring races from pole position, had to admit defeat by 0.281 secs and will start from position three. Lotterer on his first outing achieved the fastest lap of all drivers of 1:24.763. “I’m happy even though I could have done a little better in the first sector. I made another attempt afterwards but didn’t improve anymore.”

His teammate Fässler said he didn’t find an ideal rhythm on the 4.304-kilometer track. “On my first lap, I made sure not to overtax the car, but the time was not good enough, so I wanted to up the ante but, unfortunately, made several small mistakes in the process.”

2016 WEC Mexico Porsche 919 Hybrid second

The two Porsche 919 hybrids will start from the first and second rows of the grid. The current championship leaders, Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, will start the six-hour race from second on the grid, while reigning WEC champions Timo Bernhard, Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber will line up alongside the R18 no.7 on the second row, having qualified in fourth.

2016 WRC Mexico Toyota TS050 Hybrid

Toyota Racing will start the Mexican race from the third row of the grid. Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi qualified their no.5 TS050 Hybrid in fifth position, one place ahead of the no.6 of Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi. Car no.6 faced a challenging day of catch-up following an accident in Thursday testing which required a monocoque change.

In qualifying, Makajima took the wheel first before handing over to Buemi, with both drivers completing two flying laps, finishing 0.891 secs behind the pole-position-winning Audi no.8. Conway and Kobayashi took qualifying duties in the sister car, with Conway only recording one flying lap while the Japanese drove two laps.

The six-hour race at the Mexican F1 circuit is scheduled for Saturday, today.

2016 WEC Mexico 6-hour Qualifying

1 Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18) 1m 25.069s
2 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) 1m 25.111s
3 Fässler/Lotterer (Audi R18) 1m 25.350s
4 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) 1m 25.400s
5 Buemi/Nakajima (Toyota) 1m 25.960s
6 Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin (Toyota) 1m 26.183s
7 Imperatori/Kraihamer/Tuscher (Rebellion) 1m 29.909s
8 Kaffer/Trummer/Webb (CLM-AER) 1m 31.674s
9 Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna (Ligier-Nissan) 1m 35.485s
10 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi (Alpine-Nissan) 1m 35.819s