Audi driver Allan McNish is expecting a fierce challenge from Toyota in this weekend’s round of the World Endurance Championship at Fuji.
McNish, who leads the WEC points with team-mates Tom Kristensen and Loic Duval, believes that that the threat from Toyota will be stronger than in the previous round at Austin in September as the Japanese manufacturer returns to two cars.
“It is going to be pretty tough; Toyota was strong at Fuji last year and won the race,” McNish said. “And our winning advantage was just 23 seconds after six hours of racing last time out in America (Circuit of The Americas last month, highlights of which air this coming Monday on Fox Sports 1).
“They have two cars and they are on home soil, so they will be very keen to impress their board,” he added of Audi’s Toyota rivals. “I can only see them going all out, not only for the win but a one-two.”
McNish believes that the Toyota TS030 Hybrid could have the upper hand over the Audi R18 e-tron quattro around the 2.84-mile Fuji Speedway.
“They definitely had the straightline speed in America and there is a very long straight at Fuji,” he explained. “The last sector suits them perfectly. It is stop-start and their car likes that much more than our car.”
McNish, Kristensen and Duval head into the Fuji event with a 33-point championship lead over Audi teammates Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer.
Toyota will be running two cars in Fuji for the first time since the Le Mans 24 Hours, before reverting to a one-car entry for the remaining rounds in China and Bahrain.
Alex Wurz, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima rejoin the WEC in the No. 7 Toyota and are then expected to carry its hopes in the final two races.