Crash.Net Le Mans News
Toyota: It’s race day that matters
21 June 2013
Toyota team president Yoshiaki Kinoshita said he was pleased with the result of qualifying for the Le Mans 24 Hours, despite the two TS030 HYBRID machines failing to challenge Audi for pole.
The #8 of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Stéphane Sarrazin was fourth thanks to Sarrazin's lap of 3mins 26.654secs in the final minutes of qualifying, while the sister car of Alex Wurz, Nicolas Lapierre and Kazuki Nakajima starts fifth.
The two cars finished qualifying the best part of four seconds away from pole, but Kinoshita said he wasn't concerned with the focus having been firmly on race day as the team seeks to take the fight to Audi.
“Finally we could do some dry running to work on our race settings,” he said. “We are where we expected to be on the grid after we again focused on developing our race pace. The target here at Le Mans is not qualifying; it is the end of the race on Sunday. It has been a good day and I am very happy with the team's work.”
Fourth on the grid for Sarrazin came after his car had suffered mechanical issues in the first session on Wednesday, with the Frenchman insisting that the second row start was 'satisfying'.
“We are fourth on the grid and even after the issue yesterday the car felt really good, so it has been a satisfying day,” he said. “It was fun to finally have some dry track time at the end and it's nice to improve our grid position. But the priority has always been the race and we have a really good race balance.
“All of us feel comfortable with the car and the set-up we have defined for the race. It's a long race and we'll give everything we have.”
Lapierre in the sister car said he felt the team was in good shape for the race.
“The car showed more potential than yesterday and I think we have a more competitive package so we are happy with what we achieved,” he said. “On the #7 we focused on long runs and working for the race, which is more important than qualifying. Anyway fourth and fifth was the best we could achieve.
"Now we will see where we are with tyre management and fuel consumption. I am quite excited about Saturday and can't wait for the race.”