Points leader Jani laments “our worst qualifying in history”

FIA World Endurance Championship points leader Neel Jani was left to lament what he described as “our worst qualifying in history” on Saturday at Fuji.

Points leader Jani laments “our worst qualifying in history”
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
Neel Jani, Porsche Team
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
Timo Bernhard, Neel Jani, Porsche Team
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#1 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Timo Bernhard, Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb

The #2 Porsche that Jani shares with Marc Lieb and Romain Dumas could do better than sixth quickest during a tight session, six tenths of a second slower than the polesitting #8 Audi.

Speaking afterwards, the Swiss driver revealed that he and Lieb, who he shared the car with in qualifying, were both losing upwards of half a second in the middle sector alone.

“Not a good qualifying, actually our worst in history, I would say at Porsche,” Jani told Motorsport.com. “We’ve never qualified sixth so far, so we are very unhappy.

“First sector is good, last sector is good, it’s all in the middle sector we lose. it’s only three corners but we lose up to seven tenths in just 25 seconds. So we have to analyse it and see what’s going on.

“In that sector you’ve only got high speed corners. Either we are scared to drive in high-speed corners or we have some other issues.”

Despite holding a comfortable advantage of 37.5 points over the drivers #8 Audi in the standings, Jani said he, Lieb and Dumas still have to target victory in Japan.

“For sure we have to target the win, that has to be the aim,” he said. “But we also know we can just finish fourth and it will be ok. 

“We would like to make two places in that way. We’re targeting maximum points, but for sure we don’t do anything stupid, or take any risks.”

Webber: “We’ll keep the pressure on”

The sister #1 Porsche, which has won the last three rounds of the series in the hands of Mark Webber, Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, qualified second, 0.025s behind the #8 Audi.

Webber, who drove the car for the final part of the session, admitted that Audi had the edge on outright speed at a track he feels isn’t particularly well suited to the 919 Hybrid.

“It was a tight qualifying,” the Australian told Motorsport.com. “Timo and I did what we could, but that #8 Audi was just a little bit quicker, a very tight margin for pole position. 

“We’d obviously like to be on pole but it’s a super-long race tomorrow. We did a pretty good job today, we maximised what we could.

“It’s probably not the best track for us, but that’s the way it is – we’ve had other tracks where we’ve been stronger.

“We’ll put up a good fight and we’ll try to keep the pressure on the other guys.”

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Fuji WEC: Audi shades Porsche to take hard-fought pole

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