Puncture is a big blow for Davidson’s chances at Silverstone

Anthony Davidson in action during the opening round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone. Picture (c) Rupert Matthews
Anthony Davidson in action during the opening round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone. Picture (c) Rupert Matthews

Anthony Davidson raced up to third place in an action packed opening round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone, but tyre failure forced him off the podium.

Davidson, in his new #5 Toyota Gazoo TS050 hybrid, could only manage sixth place after qualifying, but had high hopes of improving his placing on race day.

Competing alongside Toyota team-mates Sebastien Buemi and Kazuji Nakajima, Hemel Hempstead speedster Davidson and his fellow racers started the day in glorious sunshine, but the lead cars quickly took a commanding lead.

By the half race distance the Toyotas had built up pace and, after the #1 Porsche 919 collided with another car and the #8 Audi R18 suffered electrical failure, the #5 Toyota was up to third place.

That was as good as it got for Davidson and his team-mates, though. Nakajima encountered trouble at hour four with a rear puncture, forcing the safety car out as bodywork was scattered all over the track.

By the time he limped back to the pits – and around a quarter an hour later – the #5 Toyota rejoined in 29th place, before Buemi managed to climb back up to a 17th placed finish.

The sister Toyota car raced brilliantly without incident and drove across the line in third place, with the #7 Audi taking first and the #2 Porsche in second.

Surprisingly, after the race, the #7 Audi was excluded from the race due to a technical infringement, elevating all the of other competitors and meaning the Toyotas took second and 16th places.

After the race, Davidson said: “It was nice to see the other (Toyota) car score a podium and I am really happy for the guys in the team. It justifies all of the hard work over the winter.

“On our car we could say it could have been us if it was not for the puncture but at the end of the day we were not fast enough to win.

“There is a lot more work to be done and hopefully we will be even better in the next race.”

Racing continues next month at the famous Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium.