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Cadillac "back in the mix" after "big step" in Fuji WEC qualifying

Cadillac is “back in the mix” after the Chip Ganassi squad made a big step forward as Alex Lynn qualified fifth for this weekend’s Fuji round of the World Endurance Championship.

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

Photo by: Paolo Belletti

Lynn got down to a time aboard the #2 Cadillac V-Series.R that left him only three tenths behind the second-placed #8 Toyota GR010 HYBRID qualified by Brendon Hartley during the 15-minute Hypercar qualifying period on Saturday afternoon. 

That represented a major step forward on the Caddy's performance during free practice, where it could do no better than eighth in the Hypercar classification over the course of the three sessions. 

Cadillac found more than two seconds over its previous best lap of the weekend with Lynn's 1m28.770s qualifying mark.

Richard Westbrook, who shares Cadillac's solo full-season WEC entry with Lynn and Earl Bamber, believes that the car is now ready to challenge for another podium finish in the Fuji 6 Hours on Sunday. 

"I feel that we are back in the mix, at least to be best of the rest again behind the Toyotas," Westbrook told Motorsport.com.

"I feel like we've made a big step after struggling out of the box, which can obviously happen when it is your first time at the track.

"The set-up was not where it should have been; that much was obvious from the times."

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

#2 Cadillac Racing Cadillac V-Series.R: Earl Bamber, Alex Lynn, Richard Westbrook

Photo by: JEP / Motorsport Images

Lynn backed up Westbrook's comments about the chances of Cadillac getting back on the podium for the first time since the Le Mans 24 Hours in June. 

"We've shown in previous races that starting fifth is not a detriment, so we'll continue to work on the car and hopefully be in position at the end for another podium," he said.

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Laura Wontrop Klauser, who is sportscar programme manager for Cadillac parent company General Motors, praised the Ganassi-run factory team for its work ahead of qualifying.

"Clearly we've made a massive stride and we are very happy with that step," she told Motorsport.com.

"We've only got one car for all the testing through practice, but the team has been very smart about the way it's gone about it."

The Fuji 6 Hours, the penultimate round of the 2023 WEC, begins at 11:00 local time on Sunday.

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