Third row for TOYOTA GAZOO Racing
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will start the penultimate round of the World Endurance Championship from the third row of the grid after a disappointing qualifying session for the Six Hours of Shanghai.
For the fourth consecutive race, the #1 TS040 HYBRID of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima will start from fifth place on the grid, with the #2 of Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin and Mike Conway in sixth.
Despite the lead TS040 HYBRID going 1.626secs quicker than the fastest lap in last year's qualifying, both cars were behind their rivals as Porsche #17 took top spot.
Sébastien, who celebrated his 27th birthday today, began qualifying in the #1 car, while Alex, who won this race in 2012 and finished second in the previous two seasons, was in the #2.
Qualifying requires two drivers from each car to set a minimum of one flying lap, with the average of both drivers' fastest lap deciding the grid.
On a bright day which saw 18°C air temperature, Sébastien clocked just a single flying lap before handing over to Anthony in fifth whereas Alex stayed out for an additional lap to improve his time. Mike took over the #2 in sixth.
The order reversed briefly when Anthony struggled with tyre grip on his first lap but when the chequered flag flew, the #1 held fifth place by 0.186secs from the #2, although pole position was 3.057secs away.
TS040 HYBRID #1 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Kazuki Nakajima)
Free practice 3: 5th (1min 46.365secs), 25 laps
Qualifying: 5th (1min 45.776secs average)
Anthony Davidson: "In qualifying we are where we expected to be but the guys did a great job in the team to get us on track in the right place, in free air. We pushed as hard as we could and we will see where we can be tomorrow. Hopefully we can fight for a podium that's always our target and we won't stop fighting."
Sébastien Buemi: "It's not the birthday present I wanted but you need to see the positive side. It's always a pleasure to drive such a nice track and we improved our lap time massively compared to last year. We are fighting hard, sticking together and trying to operate at a high level so we will come back stronger next year."
TS040 HYBRID #2 (Alex Wurz, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway)
Free practice 3: 6th (1min 46.530secs), 14 laps
Qualifying: 6th (1min 45.962secs average)
Alex Wurz: "We decided to do a tyre test in qualifying today. We are too far away to realistically challenge over one lap so we decided to get some data which can help us for tomorrow and the next race. It almost worked but didn't in the end that's okay as we gained some useful experience."
Mike Conway: "I am a bit annoyed really with the lap I did. You only get one chance in qualifying and it was a scrappy lap. I threw away probably half a second and there's no chance to get that back. So I am disappointed with the day but we will push for a decent result tomorrow."
French and German translations of this press release will be available shortly on www.toyotahybridracing.com, where copyright-free photos are also available for editorial use.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing at Shanghai International Circuit:
2012 #7: Qualifying 1st Race 1st.
2013 #7: Qualifying 1st Race 2nd. #8: Qualifying 3rd Race DNF.
2014 #7: Qualifying 4th Race 2nd. #8: Qualifying 2nd Race 1st.
TOYOTA GAZOO Racing 2015 Results:
Silverstone: #1: Qualifying 4th Race 3rd / #2 Qualifying 6th Race 4th.
Spa: #1: Qualifying 6th Race 8th / #2 Qualifying 7th Race 5th.
Le Mans: #1: Qualifying 8th Race 8th / #2 Qualifying 7th Race 6th.
Nürburgring: #1: Qualifying 5th Race 5th / #2 Qualifying 6th Race 6th.
Austin: #1: Qualifying 5th Race 4th / #2 Qualifying 6th Race DNF.
Fuji: #1: Qualifying 5th Race 5th / #2 Qualifying 6th Race 6th.
Media contact: Alastair Moffitt, Marketing & Communications Manager: firstname.lastname@example.org
About TOYOTA GAZOO Racing in the World Endurance Championship:
TOYOTA first competed in the World Endurance Championship (WEC) in 1983, marking the start of a long period of participation in endurance racing. Since 1985, TOYOTA cars have raced in 17 Le Mans 24 Hours races, achieving a best result of second place on four occasions (1992, 1994, 1999 and 2013). TOYOTA entered the revived WEC in 2012 with its first hybrid LMP1 car, the TS030 HYBRID, which won five of the 14 races it entered over two seasons. It was succeeded in 2014 by the four-wheel-drive TS040 HYBRID, which won its debut race and subsequently the 2014 drivers' and manufacturers' World Championships. They were designed and built by TOYOTA Motorsport GmbH (TMG), where the race team is based. TMG previously represented TOYOTA in World Rally and Formula 1, and was responsible for the design and operation of TOYOTA's TS020 Le Mans car in 1998-99. TMG now combines motorsport participation with work as a high-performance engineering services provider to third party companies, as well as the TOYOTA family.
www.toyotahybridracing.com / www.toyota-motorsport.com / www.facebook.com/toyotamotorsport / @Toyota_Hybrid