Published on September 21st, 2014 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Toyota Still Leads WEC Austin, 6Hrs COTA 90 Minutes
Toyota stamped their authority on the 6 Hours of Circuit of Americas as they ran 1-2 for most of the first hour. Sebastien Buemi completed a remarkable first stint, initially opening up a huge 36-second gap to the sister #7 Toyota TS 040 Hybrid, started by Alexander Wurz. The Swiss racer even had time for a quick spin at Turn 13 (after 46 minutes) but recovered without damage to the car and only losing 12-seconds. Buemi then handed over to Nicolas Lapierre who held a lead of eight seconds at the 90-mins stage of the race from Andre Lotterer’s Audi R18 e-tron quattro. If the first two positions were set, the fights behind generated enormous entertainment with both the Porsche 919 Hybrid’s and the Audi R18 e-tron quattros engaging in ferocious battles.
The positions swapped many times but ultimately it was the #2 Audi of Andre Lotterer that emerged ahead to chase the Toyotas. Audi Sport Team Joest engineers chose to double-stint both of their entries tyres and not change drivers. With heavy rain starting to fall at the 90-minute mark, but only on part of the circuit, the teams were preparing for a potential change of tyres.
Rebellion Racing held a clear and comfortable 1-2 in the LMP1-L class with the #13 Rebellion R-One-Toyota heading the #13 example, driven by Nicolas Prost, by five seconds. Mathias Beche had driven an excellent opening stint to carve his way through the field as he started on the penultimate row of the grid after throttle problems in qualifying. He charged his way on to the tail of Fabio Leimer by the first pit stop. The Lotus entered CLM P1/01-AER served its pit lane start and one lap penalty but soon started making progress and placed 14th overall and third in the LMP1-L class.
The pole sitting G-Drive Ligier –Nissan, driven by Olivier Pla, led the LMP2 class at the 90-minute mark. But it was a tough route to the top of the class after a poor start and a spin put the new LMP2 Coupe back to third place initially. However, Pla recovered and emerged in the lead ahead of the chasing KCMG Oreca-Nissan, which was in the hands of Richard Bradley.