Toyota TS040 HYBRID was the fastest prototype in Austin on Saturday for the fourth event in the World Endurance Championship, but its drivers had to settle for third place in the Circuit of the Americas Six Hours.
As they did in Le Mans last time out, Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer drove the Audi R18 N.2 to victory lane although it was not the fastest. They have won by 53 seconds ahead of the N.1 and just over a minute ahead of polemen, Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi and Nicolas Lapierre on Toyota.
In qualifying, Buemi strolled to pole. But things got complicated after half past one hour in the race, when a heavy downpour flooded the track, the race was stopped for 55 minutes. Unfortunately, Nicolas Lapierre had time getting caught out of the track.
On a drying asphalt, the N. 8 could not make up lost time and Audi operated better tire choice. On the Toyota N.7, Alex Wurz, Stephane Sarrazin and Mike Conway were, fifth on the grid, finished sixth.
11 points – It is now the gap between the crew of the N.7, who top drivers classification, and Texas winners. As the competition reaches mid-term, a thriller is expected for the second half of the season.
“This is a frustrating result because we had the fastest car but failed to’t win the race. The wet conditions were extremely challenging and unfortunately we suffered more than our rivals. We wanted a lot more from this weekend and we will be pushing very hard to achieve a much better result at Fuji Speedway.” Toyota Team president Toshiaki Kinoshita didn’t’t hide frustration after Austin.
Briton Mike Conway, 31, drove the Toyota for the first time in Austin.
The IndyCar driver, twice winner this season, replaced Kazuki Nakajima who ran in Japan. “We would have preferred a better outcome,” Conway said. “But motorsports are like that.”
6 Hours of Fuji (Japan, 12th october)