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Toyota Claims FIA WEC Pole at COTA

Anthony Davidson, Sebastien Buemi take pole at COTA…

Photo: Toyota Racing

Photo: Toyota Racing

Toyota’s Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi teamed to claim pole for Saturday’s Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas, following a start-stop and mixed condition qualifying session for the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.

The No. 8 Toyota TS040 Hybrid jumped to the top of the time charts, thanks to Buemi’s 1:49.156 lap time recorded just seconds from the end of the session. It came following a red flag, which set up a four-minute shootout to the checkered flag.

READ: Bruni, Vilander Earn GTE-Pro Pole

Davidson and Buemi combined to complete a best four-lap average of 1:49.093, which was a considerable 1.190 seconds quicker than the Porsche Team pairing of Romain Dumas and Neel Jani, who rallied to second after one of his laps was disallowed due to exceeding the ERS limit.

While it marked the Japanese manufacturer’s third pole of the season, it was the first for the LMP1-H championship-leading crew of Davidson and Buemi, who will be joined by Nicolas Lapierre in Saturday’s race.

It was a disappointing qualifying session for Audi, which topped the time charts in two of the three Free Practice sessions, yet ended up qualifying outside of the top-three, with average lap times nearly one-second slower than earlier today.

The No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler was 4th, while the No. 1 car of Loic Duval and Lucas Di Grassi was demoted to 6th after one of the Brazilian’s quick laps was disallowed due to exceeding the fuel consumption.

Audi reported computer glitches for both of the diesel-powered cars in qualifying.

Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber, meanwhile, put the No. 20 Porsche third on the grid, while the No. 7 Toyota, qualified by Stephane Sarrazin and LMP1 debutant Mike Conway, completed the top-five overall and in class.

LMP1-L class pole honors went to the No. 13 Rebellion R-One Toyota of Dominik Kraihamer and Fabio Leimer, who combined for a 1:54.665 average.

It came following an electrical issue for the sister Rebellion entry of Nick Heidfeld, while the Lotus CLM P1/01 AER did not set a time due to gearbox issues.

G-Drive Racing collected its third LMP2 class pole in four races, but the first with its debuting Ligier JS P2 Nissan.

Roman Rusinov and Olivier Pla steered the No. 26 entry to a 1:56.075 average, with the Russian driver overcoming tricky conditions during his run.

The pairing, who will be joined by Julien Canal tomorrow, edged out the No. 47 KCMG Oreca 03 Nissan of Richard Bradley and Tsugio Matsuda by 0.296 seconds.

Extreme Speed Motorsports qualified for its first FIA WEC race in third, with Ryan Dalziel and Scott Sharp handling duties in the No. 30 HPD ARX-03b they’ll share with Ed Brown.

The FIA WEC Six Hours of Circuit of The Americas gets underway Saturday at 5 p.m. CT, with live coverage on FOX Sports 2.

RESULTS: Qualifying

John Dagys is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Sportscar365 as well as the recently launched e-racing365 Web site for electric racing. Dagys spent eight years as a motorsports correspondent for FOXSports.com/SPEED Channel, and contributes to other publications worldwide. Contact John

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