It really could not of been closer in qualifying for the 6 hours of Shanghai, with the top two, Porsche #14 and Toyota #8 setting identical four lap averages at 1:48.300 creating a fascinating qualifying session. For the criticism the FIA WEC’s qualifying format receives and the confusion it caused in early sessions this season, the concept does work and does ultimately create excitement in a unique format that works for the series.
Porsche #14 does start on pole position for the fact that the team set the four lap average before Toyota #8. The sister cars of both respective teams start 3rd and 4th for tomorrow’s Six Hours of Shanghai.
Audi meanwhile continue to struggle with straight-line speed just as they did at Fuji, and once again the circuit layout highlights that issue with Shanghai, qualifying the cars fifth and sixth. Looking at the event maximum speed times shows the difference between the three teams, albeit these figures are spread across the practice sessions and qualifying. 307.7 Kph for the pole sitting Porsche, The other Porsche at 305.9 with the two Toyota’s at 303.4 and 302.5 kph respectively.
Audi meanwhile sit at 296.7 kph and 295.1 kph, as above though non of these times where set in the actual qualifying session, but it does show the disparity back to Audi. It’s no criticism of the series that Audi are slower in terms of outright speed and this has been apparent since Spa. Audi has had advantages elsewhere on circuits throughout the season at the detriment of raw speed. Unfortunately due to the nature of the circuits the WEC has for this part of its schedule, it’s unlikely to get much better for Audi.
The LMP2 class has experienced a boost in numbers this weekend, with seven cars in the class, though it was once again G-drive racing that starts on pole in the Ligier JS-P2. The USA based Extreme Speed Motorsports team, entered two cars for this round of the championship, and qualified fifth and sixth in class respectively. Given the inexperience of the team on this circuit and in the championship itself, it’s a decent start for the team that joined FIA WEC from COTA.
In GTE, it was domination by Aston Martin racing, with the #97 taking pole in GTE Pro, whilst the #98 car took pole in GTE Am. Weather wise, the rain has hit the series this weekend in early practice sessions, seemingly something that comes as part of the FIA WEC’s package currently. However the latest weather forecast for raceday show a dry race throughout with a chance of high winds. The race starts Sunday at 03:00 hours GMT. It should be overall a very interesting race between Toyota and Porsche for the victory.