Anthony Davidson and Sébastien Buemi drove the #8 TS030 HYBRID in the 25-minute session, with Stéphane Sarrazin watching from the garage. The pair came within 0.277seconds of pole position on their way to a second-row start.
This season’s qualifying format requires two drivers from each car to set a minimum of two flying laps each. The grid is decided by the combined average of each driver’s fastest two laps.
Sébastien was the first TOYOTA Racing driver on track and he set two lap times before handing over to Anthony.
He was frustrated by yellow flags at the start of what would have been his third and final flying lap. A red flag for debris on the track then effectively ended the session prematurely, with three minutes on the clock.
Earlier in the day, Anthony and Sébastien were also at the wheel for final practice which, despite a short red flag interruption, ran smoothly and saw the #8 classified second.
TS030 HYBRID #8 (Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi, Stéphane Sarrazin)
Free practice 3: 2nd (1min 21.452secs), 29 laps
Qualifying: 3rd (1min 21.580secs average)
Anthony Davidson: “We had a nicely-balanced car again so in terms of ultimate lap time that was the best we could manage. We are a tiny bit off but pole position is never essential; the most important thing is we have a good balance for the race. It was a bit frustrating that on my last flying lap I arrived into turn one and saw a yellow flag, so I had to settle for the time I had done previously which I know I could have beaten. But third is where we were today in terms of genuine pace. It’s good to be a lot closer than we have been all season; we feel we can fight for victory tomorrow.”
Sébastien Buemi: “Obviously I’m a little bit disappointed to be just a couple of tenths behind the two Audis but this is how it is. We think we have a good shot in the race tomorrow; the car felt good and we have a strong race set-up. I am quite happy with our performance because we didn’t do mistakes. We also improved the lap time from this year to last year. It is one second quicker which shows positive progress and we can be quite happy with that. We have to see how the race will go with strategy and traffic but everything is possible.”