Audi takes pole for inaugural WEC Six Hours of Mexico

BY foxsports • September 3, 2016

Audi will start Saturday's inaugural Six Hours of Mexico presented by AT&T from the pole, in a hard-fought qualifying for the fifth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship season.

Loic Duval and Lucas Di Grassi combined for a best two-lap average of 1:25.069 in their No. 8 Audi R18, edging out the No. 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid, qualified by Neel Jani and Marc Lieb, by just 0.042 seconds.

It was the German manufacturer's third pole of the season but the first for Duval and Di Grassi, who will share driving duties with Oliver Jarvis on Saturday.

The No. 8 Audi retained pole despite a late red flag for a spin by the No. 36 Signatech Alpine A460 Nissan of Nicolas Lapierre, which set up a three-minute and 30-second shootout, but saw few improvements.

Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer qualified the No. 7 Audi in third. The pairing is again without Benoit Treluyer, following a late decision by Audi to keep the Frenchman on the sidelines as he continues his recovery from a back injury.

Defending World Champions Brendon Hartley and Mark Webber qualified the No. 1 Porsche in fourth, with the No. 5 Toyota TS050 Hybrid completing the top-five overall and in LMP1, which is without Anthony Davidson this weekend.

The No. 6 Toyota, which missed most of Thursday's track action due to an accident from Stephane Sarrazin, will roll off sixth.

RGR Sport broke G-Drive Racing's four-race pole streak to take top qualifying honors in LMP2, at the team's home race.

Bruno Senna and team owner/driver Ricardo Gonzalez reeled off a best average of 1:35.485 in their No 43 Ligier JS P2 Nissan to edge out Lapierre's Signatech Alpine Nissan by a hefty 0.334 seconds.

It marked the Mexican team's first class pole, in a season that's been dominated by G-Drive in qualifying.

The No. 42 Strakka Racing Gibson 015S Nissan qualified a season-best third, ahead of the No. 26 G-Drive Oreca 05 Nissan, which made it four different constructors in the top-four.

Aston Martin Racing has swept GTE qualifying, with the British manufacturer locking out the GTE-Pro and GTE-Am classes.

Nicki Thiim and Marco Sorensen claimed their second consecutive FIA World Endurance Championship pole, with the pairing combining for a best two-lap average of 1:40.458.

The No. 95 Aston Martin was 0.142 seconds quicker than the sister No. 97 Aston of Darren Turner and Richie Stanaway, in what's been a dominant run for the brand so far this weekend.

James Calado and Gianrmaria Bruni was third in the No. 51 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GTE, although more than a half-second down on the normally-aspirated Astons.

The No. 77 Dempsey Proton Racing Porsche 911 RSR of Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen, and the No, 71 AF Corse Ferrari completed the top-five in GTE-Pro.

Both of the Ford GTs struggled in the 20-minute session, with Olivier Pla and Stefan Muecke qualifying sixth and Andy Priaulx spinning and making light contact with the wall in the No. 67 Ford.

It will roll off seventh on the grid with Priaulx and co-drivers Harry Tincknell and Marino Franchitti.

AMR's Pedro Lamy and Paul Dalla Lana scored their third class pole of the season in GTE-Am, in the first race with the car on Michelin tires.

Lamy and Dalla Lana combined for a 1:42.437 average in the No. 98 Aston Martin Vantage for the first Aston Martin class qualifying sweep of the season.

The pairing will share driving duties with Mathias Lauda in Saturday's race.

The No. 88 Abu Dhabi Proton Racing Porsche qualified second in class, ahead of the similar Porsches from Gulf Racing and KCMG.

The Six Hours of Mexico presented by AT&T gets underway Saturday at 2:30 p.m. ET with LIVE coverage on FS2.