eRacing Magazine Vol 2. Issue 9 - Page 16

Qualifying for the 6 Hours of the Circuit of the Americas was run under hot, sunny skies. Once again, the two Porsche 919 Hybrids finished in pole position, consistent with every race since the 6 Hours of Shanghai last November.

Marc Lieb and Neel Jani’s #18 Porsche 919 Hybrid took pole by just .164 seconds, even after dealing with an issue with their hybrid system They’ll share the front row tomorrow with the #17 Porsche which was piloted by Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard.

Right before qualifying, Audi driver Benoit Treluyer expressed his confidence that Porsche may dominate in qualifying, but Audi has agood chance at winning tomorrow’s race. As predicted, Audi Sport Team Joest placed in row two with the #8 Audi R18 e-tron quattro (driven by Oliver Jarvis and Loic Duval) just .36 seconds faster than the #7 Audi (driven by Andre Lotterer and Treluyer).

Toyota Racing would have to look up the 133-foot-tall Turn 1 between four Audi and Toyota cars starting from the fifth and sixth position. Sebastian Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima’s #1 Toyota TS 040 Hybrid finished 2.779 seconds behind the top Porsche, with Alex Wurz and Mike Conway’s #2 Toyota barely a tenth of a second slower.

Nick Heidfeld and Mathias Beche captured 7th with the #12 Rebellion Racing R-One, also securing their Privateer pole position, just ahead of their #13 sister car.

In LMP2, KCMG ORECA 05-Nissan briefly held pole position before being relegated to the rear of the grid for receiving assistance. Driver Matt Howson was stranded at the pit exit from the start of qualification which brought out a red flag. After the team solved their issues, the car went out as Howson and Bradley did their best to make up for lost time.

Second in LMP2 was G-Drive’s #26 Ligier-Nissan driven by Sam Birdand Julien Canal finished just .314 seconds behind the KCMG (but was elevated to first following #47 penalty). They did manage to make the fastest average lap time of 1:57.148 seconds. One row back will be the #28 G-Drive with Ricardo Gonzalez and Gustavo Yacaman. Next up is #30 Extreme Speed Motorsports with David Heinemeir Hansson and Ryan Dalziel.

Both Dalziel and Gonzales attributed the hot Texas weather to stunted engine performance. “I think the two worst times to come to Texas are during the winter and summer,” said Dalziel. “It’s hot! The cars are affected a lot from the heat. We’re trying to figure out our strategy – do we target for the first three hours of the last three hours? It can be kind of a stab in the dark.”

Gonzales had similar complaints, explaining that “We’re hurting with the temperature in our engine. Electrically, it’s limited to control the speed to avoid cooking the engine, so we’re hurting a little on that side. There’s a lot of work going on tonight to fix it.”

In theLMGTE Pro class: The bright blue #99 Aston Martin Vantage, piloted by Fernando Rees and Richie Stanaway, took pole despite some concerns by Rees earlier in the day regarding the Balance of Performance adjustments handed down by the FIA. “The BoP changes our perspective going in to the race. If we’re conservative in the strategy, theres no chance for us to win, so we’re forced to risk more.” The risks paid off as they took an average lap time of 2:05.872 seconds, more than a quarter of a second ahead of the #91 Porsche Team Manthey 911 driven by Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen.


Image: Nick Dungan / Adrenal Media