POINTS BUT NO PRIZES FOR TOYOTA GAZOO RACING AT THE 6 HOURS OF NüRBURGRING
Fifth and sixth place finishes after early tyre problems
Toyota Gazoo Racing endured a frustrating race in the 6 Hours of Nürburgring yesterday, the fourth round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship. Although the team had high hopes after race-leading performances in the previous events at Spa and Le Mans, both Toyota TS050 Hybrids lost time early in the proceedings due to tyre problems.
The No5 car of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima finished fifth, one lap behind the winning No1 Porsche, Stéphane Sarrazin, Mike Conway and Kamui Kobayashi managed a sixth place result, in spite of losing time with a technical issue.
It proved a disappointing first outing for the new ultra-high-downforce aerodynamic package the team have developed for the season’s remaining races, but some comfort was drawn from competitive lap times posted in the later stages of the race.
Nakajima and Conway started from fifth and sixth on the grid, but their progress was hampered by tyre compounds designed for higher track temperatures. The rubber had to be selected ahead of qualifying and race day temperatures proved cooler than expected. As a result, the Toyotas lost touch with the leading Porsche and Audi cars, with Buemi 40 seconds down on the leader by the 90-minute mark.
The team decided to swap tyres on both cars, which improved performance, but by this time the front-runners were out of reach. Davidson suffered a further delay, requiring five minutes in the pits for repairs after contact with a slower car.
Davidson reflected: “We finished where we deserved to today; our speed wasn’t enough over the race. We expected to be better and there were moments when we were, but it was not consistent. It was a tough race traffic-wise and I got caught up; I was in wrong place at the wrong time.”
The WEC season next moves to Central America for the first running of the 6 Hours of Mexico in Mexico City on 3 September.
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