Audi captures third pole position in Mexico

Fassler in the Audi
Fassler in the 2nd Audi will start 3rd

Having set the fastest time in qualifying for the third time this year, Audi is the best brand in the qualifying sessions of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) to date. For the first time this season the number 8 Audi R18 will be starting the 6-hour race from the top spot on the grid.

On Friday, the FIA WEC saw an action-packed qualifying session which gave a foretaste of a gripping race. Lucas di Grassi (BR) and Loic Duval (F) in the battle for position one secured an advantage of just 42 thousandths of a second.

“Starting the second half of the season full of energy has paid off," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “Our guys created a good starting base for the race and improved by one point in the standings today as well. In the practice and qualifying sessions, the Audi R18 proved its performance capability over the distance too. In the race, it’ll be crucial to avoid contact with other cars. Audi will definitely be in contention for victory on Saturday."

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"]Lucas di Grassi was happy about his first pole position with Audi. “I had a clear track and was able to extract everything from the car," said the Brazilian. “We owe our grid position to a strong performance by the whole squad." Loic Duval added: “The result shows how well Lucas, Oliver Jarvis and I have gelled as a team. On setting his superb time, Lucas laid the foundation for our grid position."

The sister car, number 7, which had started the Silverstone and Nurburgring races from pole position, had to admit defeat by 0.281 seconds and will start from position three. André Lotterer (D) on his first outing achieved the fastest lap of all drivers of 1m 24.763s. “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 Marcel Fassler 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," said the Swiss.

Both Audi R18 cars were the only race cars in the field with fastest lap times better than 1m 25s. On Saturday, the teams will be tackling a great challenge. Autódromo Hermanos Rodríguez is located on an altitude of nearly 2,300 meters. The air is much thinner there than at sea level. Audi has technically adapted the R18 while the drivers will be subjected to major physical strains during the 6-hour race. As Benoît Tréluyer is skipping the race in order to regain his full physical fitness following a bicycle accident, Fassler and Lotterer are going to contest the event as a team of two. Work in the sister car will be shared again as usual by the three Audi drivers di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis.

The two Porsche 919 Hybrids will start from the first and second rows of the grid for the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Mexico City. The current championship leaders, Romain Dumas (FR), Neel Jani (CH) and Marc Lieb (DE), will start the six-hour race from second on the grid. The reigning world champions, Timo Bernhard (DE), Brendon Hartley (NZ) and Mark Webber (AU), qualified in fourth. Audi took pole position. The six-hour race at the Mexican Formula One circuit will start on Saturday at 13:30 hrs local time (20:30 CEST). After qualifying was held in warm and dry conditions, the weather forecast for the race is still uncertain.

TOYOTA GAZOO Racing will start the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) from the third row of the grid after qualifying for the 6 Hours of Mexico.

Kazuki Nakajima and Sébastien Buemi qualified their #5 TS050 HYBRID in fifth position, one place ahead of the #6 of Stephane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi.

The #6 car faced a challenging day of catch-up following an accident in Thursday testing which required a monocoque change. Having worked into the early hours of the morning, the mechanics had the car ready for the beginning of third practice.

There were issues for the #5 crew too on Thursday, with Anthony Davidson unable to participate as he concludes his recovery from bruised ribs, leaving Sébastien and Kazuki to share the driving for the remainder of the weekend.

The race will start at 13:30 local time (20:30 CEST).

Qualifying results

1 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m25.069s 0.000s
2 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 1m25.111s 0.042s
3 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 1m25.350s 0.281s
4 LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 1m25.400s 0.331s
5 LMP1 S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m25.960s 0.891s
6 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, M.Conway, K.Kobayashi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1m26.183s 1.114s
7 LMP1 M.Tuscher, D.Kraihamer, A.Imperatori Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 1m29.909s 4.840s
8 LMP1 S.Trummer, O.Webb, P.Kaffer ByKOLLES Racing Team CLM/AER 1m31.674s 6.605s
9 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, B.Senna, F.Albuquerque RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan 1m35.485s
10 LMP2 G.Menezes, N.Lapierre, S.Richelmi Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 1m35.819s
11 LMP2 N.Leventis, L.Williamson, J.Kane Strakka Racing Gibson/Nissan 1m36.037s
12 LMP2 R.Rusinov, R.Rast, A.Brundle G-Drive Racing ORECA/Nissan 1m36.063s
13 LMP2 M.Rao, R.Bradley, P.Toledano Manor ORECA/Nissan 1m36.594s
14 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, B.Junqueira, L.Diaz Greaves Motorsport Gibson/Nissan 1m36.914s
15 LMP2 N.Minassian, M.Mediani SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 1m37.102s
16 LMP2 V.Petrov, V.Shaytar, K.Ladygin SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 1m37.112s
17 LMP2 D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung, N.Panciatici Baxi DC Racing Alpine Alpine/Nissan 1m37.482s
18 LMP2 R.Dalziel, L.Derani, C.Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 1m37.752s
19 LMP2 S.Sharp, E.Brown, J.van Overbeek Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 1m39.514s
20 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 1m40.458s
21 GTE Pro R.Stanaway, D.Turner Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 1m40.600s
22 GTE Pro G.Bruni, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 1m41.034s
23 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Dempsey Racing – Proton Porsche 1m41.322s
24 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 1m41.426s
25 GTE Pro S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 1m41.523s
26 GTE Pro M.Franchitti, A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 1m41.836s
27 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 1m42.437s
28 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, D.Hansson, P.Long Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 1m42.839s
29 GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, B.Barker Gulf Racing UK Porsche 1m43.546s
30 GTE Am C.Ried, W.Henzler, J.Camathias KCMG Porsche 1m43.603s
31 GTE Am Y.Yamagishi, P.Ragues, R.Taylor Larbre Competition Chevrolet 1m43.738s
32 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 1m43.880s

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