Christopher Haase has downplayed the importance of securing pole position for Sunday’s California 8 Hours, and believes that in-race strategy calls will decide the Intercontinental GT Challenge finale.
Haase beat Raffaele Marciello to the top spot in the Pole Shootout to put the Audi Sport Team Land car that he shares with Christopher Mies and Kelvin van der Linde on the front of the grid.
While conceding that a strong starting position will help at the start of the race, he says that quick decisions on strategy will instead be key to victory.
“We all know at Laguna it’s difficult to overtake so it’s good to stay at the front,” he told Sportscar365.
“On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that you go for the win. It’s just good for traffic position when you’re always in the top five.
“Here, you have to react on the race situation, which is not that easy. You don’t have a lot of room to react on strategy, and when something happens, you have to be quick.
“This will be the key. You can’t have a plan before but you have to react to the race situation. Then, you have to be quick.
“In the last three hours, I think we’ll know where we are.”
Haase says he’s happy with the performance of the Audi R8 LMS GT3s, which return to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca after winning last year’s inaugural event.
“We knew last year we were strong here, so we did about the same things [to the setup],” he said. “So far, I’m pretty happy.”
Despite still being in the IGTC title hunt, Haase and Audi Sport Team WRT’s Markus Winkelhock will likely need both title-contending Mercedes-AMG GT3s to retire in order to overcome their 18-point championship lead.
Haase admits it’s a tough ask, but hasn’t ruled out his chances just yet.
“We’ll put every effort to make that happen,” he said. “Especially last year, I lost that title at the end a bit, which makes me even more want to get that.
“We’ll have maximum effort with all three cars to get this victory back to our home.”