Sportscars » 19 April 2014
WEC: Davidson ‘surprise’ at Toyota turn of pace
Anthony Davidson admits surprise at Toyota's pole position for the Silverstone 6 Hours, saying it is a better car in race trim.
Anthony Davidson says he is 'pleased, but surprised' to see his Toyota team on pole position for the Silverstone 6 Hours after the manufacturer showed its hand during qualifying for the 2014 World Endurance Championship opener.
With Audi and Porsche sharing the top spot during pre-season testing and during free practice at Silverstone, it seemed pole position was destined to be contested by both German marques.
However, it was instead the combination of Alexander Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima in the No.7 Toyota TS040 Hybrid that would emerge with the best time, the new format of sorting an average from the top four laps (two from each nominated driver) working in Toyota's favour.
Indeed, Davidson, who starts fifth in the car he will share with Nicolas Lapierre and Sebastien Buemi, was impressed with the performance of his team-mates, even if he admits he was expecting the car to prove stronger in race trim than in qualifying.
“We hadn't topped any official timesheet until now,” the former F1 driver told Crash.net. “We are pleased with our efforts and we were quite surprised as well in a way, but this is the first session we have seen every team having to stick to a fuel flow limit. Hopefully that bodes well for the rest of the year, but it is close. We only just got pole position, it is a job well done for everyone.
“We are more confident of our race pace, looking after the tyres, getting into a rhythm, good reliability… I felt in race trim we were better than in qualification, but we hadn't seen the ultimate pace from the car against competition. So we are surprised to be where we are and hopefully that means in the race we will be in a good condition too.
With Porsche's Mark Webber and Audi's Tom Kristensen having both hinted that the Toyota is likely to be a stronger proposition over a race distance, Davidson is refusing to play down the challenge posed by the Japanese firm's rivals, particularly Porsche.
“Audi will be strong too and you can't take away from Porsche, they have been very impressive in that they have pretty much been running Le Mans downforce around this track. It's not ideal but they are still doing good lap times, so we are very wary of them.”
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