In qualifying, Audi was in front of Toyota five times in the 2013 season.
Ingolstadt/Bahrain - In the last qualifying session of the 2013 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC), Audi had to admit defeat in Bahrain. The World Championship winning squad will start the race from positions three and four.
In the final qualifying session in Bahrain, Audi experienced an emotional roller-coaster. Initially, André Lotterer in the number 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro managed to set the fastest time before his lap was beaten by only 80 hundredths of a second. At the end of his two laps, he occupied second place in front of his team-mate Loïc Duval in the sister car designated as number 2.
With track temperatures of 27 degrees centigrade it became clear in qualifying that the tires by partner Michelin will be decisive on the 5.412-kilometer track on Saturday. The spectators in Bahrain can look forward to a strategically exciting 6-hour race that promises a particular visual thrill in conditions of darkness from about 17:00.
The finale starts on Saturday at 15:00 local time (13:00 CET). The race can be watched on the internet by live streaming at www.audi-motorsport.com and www.fiawec.com. In Germany, a one-hour broadcast on Eurosport 2 will start at 18:00, followed at 21:30 by a 45-minute summary report on Eurosport.
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): The qualifying session more or less reflects our performances in the sessions at previous events. This track probably isnt ideal for our car, but its part of the World Championship and were going to make the best of it. On the first qualifying laps, we were on a par with Toyota. But afterwards the tires on our cars clearly degraded more heavily. Thats why Toyota is on the front row. Thats definitely not the most important thing in a 6-hour race, but its a bit of a pre-taste of Saturday. Were going to battle hard for a good result.
Chris Reinke (Head of LMP): We traveled to Bahrain with the aim of successfully closing a very good season. Were sticking to this goal even after the qualifying session. Obviously, the qualifying results are a little disappointing but we knew that the abrupt rhythm of this track doesnt suit us well. Still, were determined to compete for the top spots again in the race.
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): At the beginning, things were looking good when André Lotterer was following Toyota very closely. But after the driver change, on used tires, we lost too much time. Now were on the second row, which isnt dramatic. In this race, the tires will be crucial similar to the most recent event at Shanghai. There, it worked out and thats what Im hoping for again this time.
Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): André Lotterer completed two clean and very consistent laps. I was pleased with my first lap. I subsequently wanted to improve some more but hit traffic. Weve got to recognize that Toyota was stronger than we were in qualifying today. Im very happy with the balance of our car and our good squad is another forte in the race.
André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): On my first outing on new tires it was very close. We were almost in front. But it looks as though our tires degrade faster than those of our opponents because we lost more time. So weve got to do a few more things for the race. But itll be a long race. At Shanghai, three weeks ago, things werent looking so good either but we still managed to turn the tables.
Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): The track isnt easy for us. We saw that our tires were superb only for two laps and then degraded a bit. That wasnt so easy for the second drivers in the car but they, too, did clean laps. Toyota was simply stronger today.
Loïc Duval (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): The free practice session on used tires wasnt easy because I wasnt able to develop a real feel for the track. The second practice session was better and in the third one I drove many kilometers and got a better feeling. In qualifying, we werent as consistent as Toyota and couldnt really attack.
Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): The temperatures in Bahrain are completely different this year than in the heat a year ago. Thats why the race wont be as much of a physical strain as it was last year. For two thirds of the distance, well be running in darkness. Itll be a nice 6-hour race that wed like to win.
Allan McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): A year ago, we achieved a one-two victory in Bahrain but even at that time we sensed that the track suited our opponent a bit better. I drove two clean qualifying laps. Unfortunately, we werent fast enough for the front row. But, on the whole, Tom, Loïc and I are happier now with the car than we were in the free practice sessions. Im hoping that on Saturday well be as competitive as the others.