Rebellion beat Toyota to the pole in COTA FIA WEC
The Rebellion Racing mechanics had to work extremely hard between the second Free Practice session and Qualifying to change the blown engine that had put Bruno Senna into retirement in the earlier session. The result was an average lap of 1m47.530 from the two drivers, with Nato taking the fastest lap of the session with a 1m47.387.
The LMP session was red flagged with just over 5 minutes left on the clock after the no33 High Class Racing Oreca stopped on track. The two Toyotas still hadn’t completed their second lap and were forced to put fresh tyres on and go for it when the pitlane opened. Brendon Hartley in the no8 Toyota ran wide at T19 and had the lap deleted, the Kiwi managing to post a timed lap at the chequered flag on the next lap. It was the no7 Toyota of Jose Maria Lopez and Mike Conway that secured the front row start alongside the Rebellion for tomorrow’s race.
Gustavo Menezes – No 1 Rebellion Racing R13-Gibson (LMP1)
“Honestly I have to say a massive thank you to each and every one of the boys at Rebellion. We blew an engine half way through Free Practice 2 today and, for anyone that knows, it’s obviously not very easy to change an engine and be ready in four hours but they assembled it all fast and flawlessly and gave us the opportunity to be out there in qualifying. I’m quite excited to be able to put it on pole.”
The LMP2 pole position was secured by the no42 Cool Racing Oreca of Nico Lapierre and Antonin Borga, the Franco-Swiss pairing finishing 4th overall with a time of 1m49.910, just 0.163 ahead if the no22 United Autosports Oreca of Filipe Albuquerque and Phil Hanson.
Nicolas Lapierre – No42 Cool Racing ORECA 07 Gibson (LMP2)
“It was a very eventful qualifying but, in the end, we managed it quite well. We had already posted the lap which was enough for the pole position before the red flag, but we decided to go again just in case, to make sure that if anyone improved, we would be there. It was a great job from the team. We were struggling a bit in free practice but in the end we made it to the second pole position of the year. For our first season in the WEC it’s quite a good result, and a great drive from my teammate [Borga] as well.”
The LMGTE Pro pole position went to Aston Martin Racing with the no95 Vantage of Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen claiming the top spot from the no92 Porsche 911 RSR-19 of reigning champions Kevin Estre and Michael Christensen.
The Danish duo posted a time of 2m00.733, 0.219s ahead of the Porsche, with the no97 Aston Martin of Maxime Martin and Alex Lynn in third, just 0.077s behind the no92 911 and 0.020s ahead of the no91 Porsche of Richard Lietz and Gianmaria Bruni.
The two Ferraris were 5th and 6th, with the single Corvette in 7th. The top six cars were covered by less than half a second at the end of qualifying.
Marco Sorensen – No95 Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Vantage (LMGTE PRO)
“It was a fun qualifying session because we lost a bit of time in the second practice session we had. It made everything a little bit more wild for the qualy because it didn’t feel we had the track completely under our nails, but it was an amazing qualifying. The track temp was a lot lower, it made the car feel absolutely great.
“In FP2 we were struggling a bit with the balance of the car. We came into the qualifying with some small tweaks to the car, it really felt like a hard core weapon. Super work from the team and now we just need to finish the job tomorrow.”
Reigning champions Team Project 1 added another pole position in LMGTE AM to their tally with the no56 Porsche of Matteo Cairolli and Egidio Perfetti taking the top spot with an average lap of 2m02.784. The Porsche was just 0.046s ahead of the no98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage of Paul Dalla Lana and Ross Gunn.
Matteo Cairoli – No56 Team Project 1 Porsche 911 RSR (LMGTE AM)
“This weekend is so far, so good. We have a new teammate. He has no experience at all with this car or with this track, so everything is new for him but he is doing a great job. I have to thank the team a lot because the car was really mega to drive today, we couldn’t ask for anything better; we will try to finish the job tomorrow.”
The 6 Hours of Circuit of The Americas is due to get underway tomorrow at 12h00 (local) / 19h00 CET.
CLICK HERE for the result from qualifying for Round 5 of the 2019/20 FIA World Endurance Championship.