Second-row start for TOYOTA Racing in Bahrain
TOYOTA Racing will start the Six Hours of Bahrain from the second row of the grid after qualifying in third place for the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship today.
Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre ended the 20-minute qualifying session within half a second of pole position after just two clear flying laps, with the team planning ahead for a long, hot race.
Nicolas was the nominated qualifying driver in the #7 TS030 HYBRID and left the pit lane immediately when the track went green, setting the team's fastest lap of the weekend before strategically ending the session after 10 minutes.
Earlier today, in 35°C morning heat, Alex was in the driving seat of the TS030 HYBRID for the final practice session. During the first 30 minutes he evaluated various set-ups as the team prepared for tomorrow's six-hour race.
Around the half-distance mark Nicolas took over, continuing to adjust set-ups and prepare himself for his qualifying run later in the day.
Following warm-up on Saturday (12.25-12.45) the six-hour race begins at 16.00 with a rolling start.
TS030 HYBRID #7 (Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre)
Free practice 3: 3rd (1min 48.392secs), 21 laps
Qualifying: 3rd (1min 46.254secs), 5 laps
Nicolas Lapierre: "I only did two quick laps with no traffic. They were quite good and we saw a big step compared to this morning in terms of lap time, but not quite enough to get on the front row, which is a bit disappointing. Let's see how it goes tomorrow. Race pace will be different and we have been strong on that so far this week. Let's hope it's the same tomorrow. It is going to be a very, very long race here. Traffic is not so bad but the heat is quite extreme difficult for the car and the driver. It will be a tough one but we will give it everything."
Yoshiaki Kinoshita, Team President: "Considering the hot conditions and the tyre wear challenge facing all teams here in Bahrain, we decided not to focus specifically on qualifying. Six hours is a long race and our preparations have concentrated on managing the tyres and optimising the set-up for Saturday. So we are still hopeful for tomorrow. Congratulations to Allan and Audi on their pole position. After our victory in Sao Paulo, we always knew they would come back stronger and we expect a tough fight in the race tomorrow."
About TOYOTA Racing in the FIA World Endurance Championship:
TOYOTA first competed in the FIA World Endurance Championship in 1983, marking the start of a long period of participation in endurance racing which included several editions of the Le Mans 24 Hours. TOYOTA cars have raced in 14 Le Mans 24 Hours races, with a total of 38 vehicles taking part. For 2012, TOYOTA returns to endurance racing and the FIA World Endurance Championship as a full-time entrant with a hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID. This car won for the first time at the Six Hours of Sao Paulo in September, just its third race. The chassis has been designed and built by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG), where the race team is based. TMG is the former home of TOYOTA's World Rally and Formula 1 works teams, and was responsible for design and operation of TOYOTA's TS020 (GT-One) Le Mans car in 1998-99. TMG now combines works motorsport participation with a new direction as a high-performance engineering services provider to third party companies, as well as the TOYOTA family. www.toyotahybridracing.com
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