Ingolstadt/Fuji, October 19, 2013 At round six of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Japan, Audi achieved the fifth consecutive best time of the season with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. As at Spa and São Paulo, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer managed to leap onto the top spot of the grid.
Car number 1 made its mark immediately in the qualifying session at the foot of the snow-covered Mount Fuji. André Lotterer (D) started qualifying in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro with a lap time of 1m 26.481s and on his next outing posted a 1m 26.235 as the fastest time of the entire qualifying session. Consequently the German who lives in Tokyo clearly beat the existing qualifying lap record, 1.264 seconds slower set by Toyota driver Kazuki Nakajima 12 months ago. Lotterer subsequently turned his car over to Benoît Tréluyer (F). The average of the four best laps from which the WEC qualifying result is calculated reflected a time of 1m 26.577s for the fastest Audi.
Quotes after qualifying
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): Obviously, its great that we clinched pole here at Fuji even though it was very close. The guys in car number 1 drove perfect laps. This cumulative team qualifying is something very special. Car number 2 was a little less fortunate and its position was worse in traffic. Thats why the result wasnt quite enough. But we all know that the qualifying result isnt so important for the outcome of a six-hour race.
Chris Reinke (Head of LMP): A pole position is always a perfect start into a race weekend. Our two Japan protagonists managed a brilliant performance. Thats a good starting base for the race. In the case of car number 2 we shouldnt forget that a complete session was lost. Well done to the team that reassembled the heavily damaged race car. The car was certainly within the range in qualifying but were still going to do some detailed analysing and work on becoming faster.
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): The qualifying result is nice and it was good to have clinched another Championship point for Audi. The two drivers who drove the qualifying session were very pleased. Their lap times were good even faster than expected. But that was necessary, too, because the two Toyotas were trailing them closely. Car number 2 is a little further behind. The drivers werent completely happy with the balance. Weve still got to work on that for Sunday. But rows one and two on the grid are good starting bases.
Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer have their home around here. That was a trump card because they know the track well and had an incredible run. They burned the times into the tarmac right on the first two laps. A qualifying session cant go any better than this. Even though it was very close some of the time, we deserve the pole position. My two team-mates were really perfect today.
Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): The whole team was great. André (Lotterer) did a fantastic job of driving. What he managed to do on the first two laps was brilliant. I was able to jump into the car and still had fresh tires. On my first lap, I was a bit cautious because the rear was a little unstable. The tires had probably cooled down a bit after the pit stop. The second lap was superb, the third one even better. The car felt great. Were very pleased.
Loïc Duval (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): It wasnt the kind of qualifying wed been hoping for our car. Weve got to find out why the performance was lacking because things had been going better yesterday and this morning. Maybe we made a mistake with the set-up. But this was just qualifying and the race will still be very long. Were not starting far behind the others. Weve still got some more work to do. Sincere congratulations to the drivers of our sister car.
Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): Many thanks again to our squad. It did another superb job, considering that we lost a free practice session on Friday due to unfortunate circumstances. We had a decent qualifying session and are now looking forward to the race. Well done to our sister car, the guys had a perfect run.
Allan McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): Our car was hit by an opponent yesterday. That cost us a practice session. Since then, weve been trying to catch up. Before qualifying, we made a few changes that didnt work out perfectly. It wasnt easy to put the performance on the ground and there was traffic on track. But the two Audi cars and the Toyotas are very close together. Were no doubt in for a very tight race and are going to continue to work on the set-up to improve the cars balance some more for Sunday.