Even before the qualifying session in Shanghai, Toyota was sentenced to fourth and fifth places, its cars being too weakened by the performance handicap, rated at 2 "7 lap for this round. Japanese manufacturer, preceded by Rebellion and Ginetta.
"We knew it, there is no surprise"stresses the technical director Pascal Vasselon, who accepts the rules of a game that his team was favorable, but whose evolution with a coefficient of application increased after Silverstone is less appreciated. "The correction probably takes us to an area where the handicap is too important, and it's a little problematic"says Vasselon. "But basically, we support the principle, we think there should not have been any overreaction after Silverstone, to keep the numbers more reasonable, it just went a little too far, especially compared to LMP2 and to the GTE, that we have trouble doubling. "
If the result in the exercise is not a surprise for Toyota, there is still a certain surprise that reigns on reading the chronos. Last year, the TS050 Hybrid turned in 1'42 "6 in Shanghai, and once its performance lowered it now evolves to 1'46" 5, which is consistent with simulations of the manufacturer. On the other hand, the pace of the Rebellion has also dropped, despite the pole position won by the Swiss team, with a loss of 2 "5 that the competition is not explained.
"The surprise is that Rebellion is so slow"cowardly Vasselon, wary. "We have no reference for the Ginetta, with the Rebellion it's very strange, they should have been in 1'43 or in the low range of the 1.44 We have no explanation why they are in 1'46, the gap with the LMP2 is incredible, last year they were 5 "6 faster than the best LMP2. This year, they're only 2 "3 faster, it's just amazing, I do not understand how Rebellion can be so slow, there's no simple explanation, knowing they've done development pneumatic, which normally improves the problems they suffered, I do not let anything, I just put together the numbers, and they are incredible. "
Toyota will let go at the start
In this context, Toyota has practically done the minimum service in qualifying, saving in particular a set of new tires for the race with its two cars. Without this sacrifice, a place in front of the Ginetta was perhaps conceivable, but the choice was to ensure a cautious start of the race to bet on the length of the event, although it is only four hours.
"With a second set of tires, we could have been on the front line"says Vasselon. "The pole position was out of reach, that's why we did not put on a second set of tires, in which case we prefer to save it for the race. that we know we have no chance in straight lines against the Ginetta, so there was no point in qualifying ahead of them and taking the risk of being dubbed. beating with Rebellion, maybe touching each other, and having a safer start, we have no chance on new tires at the start of the race, they will be much faster than us, we are going for a different race. "
Interviewed by Jamie Klein