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Saturday 4th November 2017, 10:17

 Car 24: P6 – 1:50.417
Car 25: P7 – 1:50.727
Shanghai International Circuit, China
4th November 2017

A clear blue Shanghai sky greeted the team on Saturday ahead of Qualifying for round 8 of the 2017 FIA World Endurance Championship. A strong breeze was blowing and temperatures were relatively cool, as they were for free practice.

Jean-Eric Vergne and Vitaly Petrov took responsibility for setting the first times, and both put in laps faster than had been seen in any of the free practice sessions. After changing the tyres on the left side of each car, the teams’ two Silver drivers, Matt Rao and Roberto Gonzales took over #24 and #25 respectively.

Both cars completed their laps without issue and after averaging the Platinum and Silver times to produce the overall qualifying time, cars #24 and #25 were classified P6 and P7.

Graeme Lowdon, President and Sporting Director
“That was not the qualifying session that we’d hoped for - although we found time after FP3 some, other teams managed to improve more. But our focus so far has been on setting the car up for the race and we are confident that both cars will be able to make progress towards the front of the pack. It’s important that we don’t over-react and move away from our strategy and then we believe we can have a good race tomorrow.”

Vitaly Petrov, Driver Car 25
“I think it was not the strongest qualifying from our side but the focus is more on the long race, and hopefully we have prepared more for that, I think it will be important to look after the front tyres and it’s important for us to make a good start and have a good strategy. I was quite happy with my lap, I did everything ok but I’m a little bit disappointed that the others found a bit more time.”

Roberto Gonzalez, Driver Car 25
“A very difficult qualifying for me. We used one set of tyres on one side of the car and another set on the other and I didn’t really know what to expect. Because of that I didn’t push that much on the out lap. I think we could have got more out of the car but I just didn't find the balance on those tyres. I’m very, very frustrated and I feel sorry for the team because I know we could have done better but it didn’t happen.”

Jean Eric Vergne, Driver Car 24
“My lap was clean, but it’s another race where we haven’t qualified as well as we should. Since Spa we have had a great car for the race but struggled in qualifying, it would be good if we could understand why this is. On a positive note I believe we have a good car for the race and that’s where all the focus is going to, hopefully we can have a clean race and aim for a podium.

Matt Rao, Driver Car 24
“I’m a little bit disappointed with qualifying, all the other teams managed to find more time from free practice than we did. We have to try and understand that before the end of the season but as usual I think we have a very good race car and from the long runs we did in practice we are quite confident that we can fight at the front once the first stints are over.”

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