October 19, 2013
WEC Drivers Prep for a Sunday Podium at Fuji Speedway
Oct. 19 – Oyama-cho, Japan – Drivers finished their qualifying runs in the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship at Fuji Speedway with eyes on a Sunday podium.
LMP2 veterans such as Keiko Ihara in the No. 45 car for OAK Racing Morgan Nissan aim to make a Top 3 finish. Ihara, the only woman driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship, is also Nissan’s Zero Emission Mobility Ambassador.
The Global Media Center spoke with Ihara and other drivers on their qualifying stints and expectations for Sunday’s six-hour race.
Keiko Ihara, No.45 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan – LMP2
“Unlike the 24-hour race, Sunday is just six hours, which means lap-by-lap, a 10th of a second will affect the results. So we need to keep on pushing on every lap, and I think it’s going to be a very tough race. Our team has only two drivers, unlike others, so it will be really tough, but we will keep on pushing and aim for a podium.”
Tsugio Matsuda, No.47 KCMG Morgan Nissan – LMP2
“Personally, I wanted to be a little bit faster than under 1:33 (qualifying lap time). That was a bit of a shame for me, but it was quite difficult using the tire warmers, which we don’t have in Super GT. Today the road temperature was very low, so the tires became cold quickly, and we couldn’t utilize the full performance of the tires. We would like to race persistently (Sunday) to have a smile on the podium in the end, as we have a full six hours. I have this precious opportunity, so I would like to use this as a step and would like to challenge Le Mans next year, where ZEOD RC is also racing and it will be special for Nissan. I would like to focus on achieving my dream.”
Shinji Nakano, No.25 Delta-ADR ORECA 03 Nissan – LMP2
“The car is performing better and better. When we brought the car at first the settings didn’t match the track, and it was uncomfortable to drive in the beginning. The team has fixed the car a great deal before the qualifying. I think the car is nearly 80%. Considering the fact that I am racing after a few months break, I am happy with current conditions. Although I am racing only twice or three times a year, it is a great honor for me to drive at Fuji. I would like to make the best of this opportunity and run a good race in front of the Japanese fans. I will give it my all, and we really appreciate the fans’ support.”
Alex Brundle, No. 24 Morgan-Nissan LMP2
“The car was good, actually. A little bit pointy, but I think we have a good chance in qualifying and hope to be on the front row (Editor’s note: Qualified Fourth). For the race it should be even better, I think we’re in a good place to win. No problem.”
“It was a good effort from the whole team to be able to qualify in the third position today. The car is very well-looked after by the Greaves team, who have been running for a long time. The people we have here from Gainer as well have put together a good set up for qualifying. In the end it turned out to be third position, which is great. From my point of view, it’s great to be back in a car again. I drove this car in Sao Paolo for the first time, and to come back here to a track I know very well means that I can start from a completely different level. So in the end, with the strategy we had in qualifying, I think we got the best out of both drivers. It’s a good starting point for (Sunday).”