SPORT

WEC 6 Hours Of Silverstone: Tom Kristensen Expects Close Season (PHOTOS)

20/04/2014 11:00 BST | Updated 20/04/2014 11:59 BST

World champion Tom Kristensen expects a tough World Endurance Championship ahead as he prepares to start the opening race of the season on the front row.

The nine-time Le Mans winner had to settle for second place in qualifying for the 6 Hours of Silverstone in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro he shares with Loic Duval, just 0.005s behind the pole-winning #7 Toyota TS040 HYBRID of Alex Wurz and Kazuki Nakajima.

tom kristensen

Tom Kristensen thinks fans are in for a 'mega' WEC year

The Dane won the race in 2013 for the first time but this year's WEC is a very different beast with major changes in the regulations and the return of Porsche to endurance racing after a 16 year-absence with the added attraction of ex-Formula 1 driver Mark Webber. That hasn't put him off one iota though and Kristensen is looking forward to a competitive season - and one that should have the fans excited.

"These new intensified regulations [are] a great challenge for us behind the steering wheel but for the fans it's going to be mega because they will see more excitement from different strategies," Kristensen told The Huffington Post UK.

"It has the potential to be incredibly close racing... Toyota and Porsche, they're all threats."

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And it's Toyota who start with a slight edge after taking pole at Silverstone with the slenderest of margins, while Porsche made their mark with third place on the grid thanks to Romain Dumas and Neel Jani in the 919 Hybrid.

For Kristensen, 2014 could be a landmark year with the mouth-watering prospect of a 10th Le Mans victory but although he admits personal ambition is important, his focus is on tasking the fight to his rivals - and also his success may not be for everyone.

"A lot of the drivers don't necessarily want to see me winning again but that's our ambition. Every race we want to compete and see if we can win. At the moment we are under no illusions about our competitors and with Porsche coming back again it looks like a grand season."