News from the FIA International Court of Appeal yesterday proved bittersweet for Nissan. After taking third place at the Le Mans 24 Hours in June, Nissan Partner Team, G-Drive Racing, was disqualified from the results for a breach of article 6.5.1 of the Technical Regulations. The team appealed against this decision but it was rejected and the team’s exclusion stands.
With the lone Toyota crashing out early, it was clear sailing for Audi, which took a commanding 1-2 victory in Sunday’s Six Hours of Sao Paulo, the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship.
The No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler made up ground in the title race with their second win of the year, following a flawless performance for the diesel-powered hybrid prototype.
Sunday’s WEC Six Hours of Sao Paulo was briefly halted when Toni Vilander’s No. 71 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia erupted in flames just before the two hour mark.
— FIA WEC (@FIAWEC) September 1, 2013
Vilander admitted to struggling with rear grip, likely due to fuel or oil leaking onto the rear tires. Entering the final turn, Vilander’s concerns became reality as his Ferrari caught fire.
“It was quite scary,” Vilander said. “When I opened the door, I had the flames coming into the helmet.
Defending World Champions Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer combined for a best four-lap average of 1:21.303 in the 25-minute prototype qualifying session, which saw a red flag for a balloon that fell onto the circuit.
While action resumed with just over three minutes to go, it did not affect the results, which will see the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Fassler, Treluyer and Andre Lotterer start from the top spot tomorrow.
TOYOTA DEBUTS NEW AERO — In a bid for its first victory of the year, Toyota has rolled out with an updated aero package for its solo TS030 Hybrid this weekend in Sao Paulo. The Japanese manufacturer’s high downforce package features modifications to the front wheel arches, engine cover and wing, aimed to better suit the upcoming stretch of races on the FIA World Endurance Championship calendar.
“It’s bodywork that’s suited to the requirements in terms of aero efficiency of this track,” Toyota Racing technical director Pascal Vasselon explained. “Basically, some additional drag but a lot more downforce. This is what we need. Even though there’s a very long straight, you have a lot of low speed corners. Here, you need downforce, not only for pure performance but for consistency.”
According to Vasselon, development of the high downforce kit began before Le Mans and went into production shortly after, prior to a recent two-day test at EuroSpeedway Lausitzring.
So far, the package has seemed to have payed dividends on the high-speed and technical 15-turn, 2.676-mile Interlagos circuit, with the No. 8 entry of Stephane Sarrazin, Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi posting the quickest time on Friday.