Veloqx Audi Team Claims LMES "Hat-Trick" Third consecutive outright LMES victory achieved at "home" The Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx squad scored its third consecutive Le Mans Endurance Series victory when Allan McNish and Pierre Kaffer cruised...
Veloqx Audi Team Claims LMES "Hat-Trick"
Third consecutive outright LMES victory achieved at "home"
The Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx squad scored its third consecutive Le Mans Endurance Series victory when Allan McNish and Pierre Kaffer cruised to a comfortable "home" win in the 1,000km race at Silverstone today (14 Aug).
The British Audi team had looked set to achieve a third straight 1-2 LMES result but a handling imbalance forced the "sister" R8 of Jamie Davies/Johnny Herbert to concede second place to the similar Audi Sport Japan Team Goh R8 with a little over an hour to run. Despite the problem, the Davies/Herbert Audi finished third.
Davies and Kaffer started the 195-lap race from second and third places on the 38-car grid with the pole-starting Zytek (Robbie Kerr/Chris Dyson) setting the early pace around the 3.194-mile British Grand Prix circuit.
Kaffer moved in to second place on lap 14 and briefly led before and after the first scheduled pit-stops before the completion of the first hour. But 80 minutes in to the race, the leading Zytek touched another car necessitating a pit-stop for repairs.
At one-quarter distance (lap 49), Kaffer enjoyed a 29 secs lead over the "sister" Veloqx Audi of Davies with the Minassian/Campbell-Walter (DBA) a further second adrift in third and the Goh Audi (Rinaldo Capello/Seiji Ara) fourth.
McNish and Herbert took over their #8 and #88 Audi R8s from co-drivers Kaffer and Davies with 107mins and 104mins on the clock respectively and resumed the 623-mile race in first and second places (lap 64).
At three-quarter race distance (lap 147), McNish led Herbert by almost a full lap, the latter's Audi enduring a handling imbalance as had co-driver Davies earlier. Herbert relinquished second place when he made a quick, late stop for fuel. Johnny also stopped two laps from the chequered flag for new tyres.
Nurburgring race winners' McNish/Kaffer crossed the line over one lap ahead of the Japan Audi with the Herbert/Davies Veloqx Audi, the opening LMES race victors, a further lap in arrears. The final round of the inaugural Le Mans Endurance Series is staged at the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in Belgium on 12 September.
Audi R8 - #8 (Qualified -- 3rd [1min 36.395secs] AM; Race -- 1st)
Pierre Kaffer (D).
"I enjoyed a perfect double-stint and our early race strategy worked very well. I was happy to sit behind Jamie [Davies] early in the race and conserve fuel. I was more cautious lapping slower traffic than the Zytek which is how you need to drive in a long distance sportscar race - as I have discovered this year. This marks my third Audi sportscar victory having won at Sebring (ALMS) and at the Nurburgring."
Allan McNish (GB).
"Pierre completed an excellent double stint and handed me a car that was perfectly in the groove. The car continued to be consistent through each of my stints. I backed off to save having to make a late fuel stop which cost both the Japanese Audi and our 'sister' car time. Second place would be good enough for the LM P1 Driver's title at Spa but we want another win."
Audi R8 - #88 (Qualified -- 2nd [1min 35.724secs] JH; Race -- 3rd)
Jamie Davies (GB).
"In the opening laps I pushed hard and everything was fine. But once in traffic, having to go off the racing line caused my tyres to collect 'pick-up' which badly affected the handling. The Michelin tyre technicians also detected a very slow puncture on a rear tyre after I'd stopped and handed over to Johnny which would not have helped the balance. It's a shame but we still have a chance for title success."
Johnny Herbert (GB).
"On my first scheduled stop, we had to change the nose section which was possibly damaged when I nudged a kerb but that didn't cost much time. The handling was good on new tyres initially but each time it quickly deteriorated - it was bizarre. We suffered the same kind of problem in the previous race and thought it had been cured, there was no problem in qualifying but 24 hours later it was back. But so will we -at Spa!"
Sam Li, Team Principal: "A third consecutive LMES victory makes me very proud of the team. It was an especially good performance by car #8. There are now four points between our four drivers in the LM P1 standings with Team Goh a further five points back so there is still everything to play for at Spa. Our workshops are close to Silverstone while our partner, Audi UK, is based close by in Milton Keynes so the win is especially sweet."