Audi celebrates first WEC victory this season at Spa

106th LMP sports car victory of the brand with the four rings

Audi celebrates first WEC victory this season at Spa
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis race winners
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
Dr. Ing. Stefan Knirsch, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, Head of Audi Sport, Lucas di Grassi, Audi Sport Team Joest
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
Podium LMGTE Am: first place Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda, Aston Martin Racing, second place Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard, Rui Aguas, AF Corse, third place Paolo Ruberti, Yutaka Yamagishi, Pierre Ragues, Larbre Competition
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer

Audi has won the unusually tough second round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Spa-Francorchamps. In temperatures above 25 degrees centigrade, in the end only two of the six hybrid sports cars from all manufacturers that had started finished at the front of the field in Belgium. Victory with a two-lap advantage was celebrated by Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) following an impeccable race in their Audi R18.

The spectators in Belgium witnessed the most thrilling WEC round in a long time. At various times of the 6-hour race, each of the three brands was leading with a clear advantage at least once, but the heat and an action-packed race took their toll. Under the eyes of Matthias Müller, Chairman of the Management Board of Volkswagen AG, and Dr. Stefan Knirsch, Member of the Management Board of AUDI AG for Technical Development, Audi Sport Team Joest was the most successful squad.

Lucas di Grassi started the race in car number ‘8’ before his teammate Loïc Duval, followed by Oliver Jarvis, took over the cockpit. After six hours of racing with several yellow periods, numerous sports penalties, accidents and technical defects in the field, the trio celebrated its first joint victory. Di Grassi was pleased about his first-ever winners’ trophy with Audi, whereas Jarvis had previously scored one and Duval even four sports car victories with Audi.

“Today, the drivers, the team and the technology had to show real endurance qualities,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “I am very happy about the first joint victory clinched by Lucas, Loïc and Oliver. Sincere congratulations on their impeccable performance.” It was Audi’s 106th LMP success in total since the 2000 season.

The number ‘7’ sister car had no chance on this occasion after Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) suffered several setbacks. In a duel, Tréluyer drove over a kerb so hard that the damaged underfloor had to be changed. After the car spent 14.30 minutes in the pits for this to be replaced, the air ducts had to be cleaned at a later stage, which cost further time. When Marcel Fässler touched a car in front of him, the team had to change the hood of his race car. In addition, number ‘7’ received a drive-through penalty for this incident. In the end, the driver trio battled its way forward to position five overall. As a result, Audi scored 40 points in the manufacturers’ classification.

The next commitment for Audi Sport in the WEC will be the test day at Le Mans on June 5. There, the squad is going to prepare for Audi’s 18th participation in the 24-hour race that will be held on June 18 and 19 this year.

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “That was a mad race today. It’s great that in the end we took victory with our number ‘8’ car. Some of our competitors who had previously been leading either retired or lost ground due to issues. While our winners impeccably finished the race, it wasn’t a flawless one for number ‘7.’ Following our experiences from Silverstone, now winning round two was particularly sweet. That’s a good base for Le Mans.”

Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “FIA WEC history has arguably never seen a race like this before.Such a large number of accidents, retirements and technical incidents are unusual. On clinching victory with number ‘8’ we hopefully broke a spell, because these three drivers were often unfortunate before. Today, skill and fortune came together. We had strong rivals, but they had some issues, so the spectators got to see a truly varied race. Big praise goes to the whole squad for the hard work that was done. This is a solid boost for Le Mans.”

Lucas di Grassi (Audi R18 #8): “What a crazy race! We really didn’t expect this result. In the end, it was about endurance racing qualities and we were the only driver squad in a hybrid sports car to finish without issues. Following the season opener at Silverstone, Audi provided us with a very reliable car today. I’m very happy about my first victory with this team. This is a motivational boost for all of us. Now I’m wishing for us to have a good race at Le Mans.”

Loïc Duval (Audi R18 #8): “The entire squad worked hard and deserves this victory. These 25 points are valuable for all of us because it means a barren spell for number ‘8’ has ended.However, we shouldn’tforget that our number ‘7’ sister car, after many setbacks, recovered and scored important points for Audi as well.”

Oliver Jarvis (Audi R18 #8): “This was our first joint victory. Especially in this of all races we hardly expected it, because our pure lap times weren’t good enough this weekend. But we stayed clear of all trouble and did a good job of finishing the race. That’s a fantastic success for the team which it has deserved for a long time. What a great feeling before Le Mans.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 #7): “We had a lot of issues atSpa. Having so many contacts with other cars was unusual. After the practice sessions, the situation wasn’t easy, but at the beginning of the race we were running pretty well after all. But then we had to change the underfloor, clean the radiators, I touched an LMP2 race car, and in the end a rival hit the rear of my car. For the whole field the race was pretty chaotic.”

André Lotterer (Audi R18 #7): “This is what you’d call a ‘character-building’ race. We knew it would be difficult, plus a lot went wrong for us in a race that was simply mad. Congratulations to number ‘8’ on a great race. Our teammates have been waiting for this victory for a long time. This is a sweet and well-deserved result. Now we’re all concentrating on Le Mans.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 #7): “This was a tough race in which fortune wasn’t on our side.I’m happy that our sister car did so well. Our three teammates deserve this victory. A big ‘thank you’ goes to our pit crew that did a perfect job of handling a large workload. That makes us confident for Le Mans. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to reward them with a better result.”

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