We will start tomorrow’s season opening 6 hours of Silverstone with both cars locking out the front row of the grid. Our #7 car set the fastest average lap with Alex and Nicolas at the wheel, while Anthony and Sébastien went second fastest to take P2. Read more after the break.
Free Practice 3
Saturday started bright and early at Silverstone. The Northampton circuit was bright with a beautiful spring sun with blue skies as backdrop. When Free Practice 3 kicked off at 09:00 GMT, the track was still damp and patchy at places.
Alex Wurz piloting the #7 car and Anthony Davidson in the #8 car were first on track. We occupied P3 and P4 with the #8 and #7 cars respectively early on in the session. The session was red flagged just as Anthony put down a purple first sector, forcing teams to bring their cars back to the pits.
Not long after the restart, Anthony handed the reigns over to Sébastien Buemi in the #8 car. In the other car, Alex was pushing hard, shaving off some 3 sec to go from P4 to P1. Sébastien moved to P5 with a 1:56.012 in the #8 car before setting what was the fastest time of the session with a 1:51.539 on lap 17.
With around 10 min left of the session, dark clouds suddenly bloomed over the track with rain being reported. The pit lane quickly became damp before the chequered flag fell. Stéphane Sarrazin had a brief off-track moment as the conditions became ever changing.
We ended the final Free Practice session with #7 car in P4 (1:49.754 set on the 26th and final lap) and #8 car in P5 (1:51.539).
Qualifying was next. As we mentioned in yesterday’s report, this year’s Qualifying is a short 20 min affair with two drivers needing to set a minimum two timed laps (only fastest counts). The final grid positions are based on the average of the four total laps set in each car.
That was a mouthful to explain…
Qualifying kicked off at 12:40 GMT as rain began to fall, once again throwing the possibilities wide open. First set of drivers to venture out on track for us were Nicolas Lapierre in #7 and Anthony in #8 both on intermediate tyres.
First lap times quickly popped up on the timing boards (our main point of reference for average lap times). Anthony was quick with a 1:56.866 in the #8 and 1:58.336 for Nico in the #7.
But as the track conditions changed again, Anthony set what would become his second fastest lap with a 1:51.975. Next lap both drivers set their fastest times with Nico putting in a 1:50.103 and Anthony a 1:50.898 in the #8 car.
Job done, next set of drivers stepped into their cars. Nico handed the #7 over to Alex, while Anthony handed the #8 to Sébastien. At this point of the session, the average lap time for #7 was 1:49.602 and 1:50.459 for the #8 car.
Our #7 crew decided to change Alex to slick tyres proved to be a bold and successful move. Alex quickly took advantage of the drying track conditions to set the fastest lap of the session with a 1:43.281.
Sébastien stayed out with intermediates although the #8 car was able to secure second place for the start of tomorrow’s race.
The session ended with a bit of confusion as the timing screens correctly showed Alex in pole position while Sébastien down in the late teens. It also seemed to show the #8 car completing only three of the four laps to meet minimum requirement.
Nevertheless, the #7 half of our garage were already celebrating a breath taking pole position with an average time of 1:48.021.
When the timing screens finally refreshed to display the correct information, we realised our car #8 drivers put themselves in P2 with an average lap time of 1:49.995, 1.9 sec behind the #7 car. Smiles and back slapping all around in our garage followed!
The lap time confusion continued as the race stewards announced that the times were not yet confirmed due to software glitches. An hour after Qualifying concluded for LMP1 & LMP2, we finally received confirmation of our momentous start to the 2013 FIA WEC season with a front row lock out.
Driver Diary video series with Sébastien
Here’s what our drivers had to say:
We’re now looking forward to tomorrow’s race. Our engineers are pouring over all the data gathered through the sessions to ensure we’ll have a good setup for the race.
The six-hour race will commence from a rolling start tomorrow at 12:00 GMT.
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Photo gallery from Saturday. For our full Friday gallery in high resolution click here