Audi wins first WEC round at Silverstone
Victory and lead of the standings for Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer
Audi managed an opening round in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) that was made to measure. Following a riveting battle with Porsche at Silverstone, the new Audi R18 won at its first fielding in a race. Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) secured pole position on Saturday and celebrated victory with a 46-second advantage on Sunday.
Audi put a clear mark on the season opener in the United Kingdom. Following grid positions one and two in qualifying, the two Audi driver squads were battling for the top spot from the first lap on. After the start, André Lotterer in the number “7” Audi R18 maintained the lead. Shorter pit stops by the competitors meant that the German lost a little ground and dropped to third place. When Benoît Tréluyer took over the cockpit, he battled his way back to the front at the race’s mid-point that was marked by caution periods.
Marcel Fässler drove the Audi R18 in the final stage and soon built an advantage of more than ten seconds. Like last year, the Swiss battled for victory at Silverstone with his compatriot Neel Jani – and again kept the upper hand. In the end, the driver trio of Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer celebrated its eleventh joint WEC victory with Audi and, as a result, remains the most successful driver squad in the racing series’ history.
“Sincere congratulations to our three drivers and to our whole team,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “This team, not only at Silverstone but also in the weeks and months before, gave everything to make our most sophisticated and efficient race car to date a success.” The Audi R18 diesel hybrid sports car uses 46 percent less fuel than Audi’s first diesel-powered sports car, the 2006 R10 TDI.
The sister car with Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) started the race from grid position two. Following the first pit stop, Oliver Jarvis in position two was the best Audi driver some of the time at his home round. Lucas di Grassi took over the cockpit, but was forced to retire on lap 70. A malfunction of the hybrid system put an early end to the race. Consequently, Audi, like the other two manufacturers in the LMP1 class, suffered a setback with one of its two race cars.
Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer are the first leaders of the standings at the beginning of the fifth FIA WEC season. The trio has scored 26 points in the United Kingdom. As a result, the Audi drivers will be traveling to Belgium in three weeks time with an eight-point advantage. On the circuit at Spa, the FIA WEC will be holding its second six-hour race on May 7 before the season’s pinnacle event in June – the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Quotes after Race
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “This was a race that remained a thriller up until the checkered flag. The first fielding of the new Audi R18 resulted in both the first pole position and the first victory. This entailed a huge effort by the whole team. The result was the greatest way of thanking everyone who had worked so hard. We’re very happy about this result. At the same time, the retirement of number ‘8’ showed that there’s still a lot of work for us to be done.”
Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “Like last year, we again experienced a thriller atSilverstone. It was extremely close. At the same time, Porsche, Toyota and us suffered some setbacks. I’m happy that our number ‘7’ got through the race without any issues whatsoever and won with a strong driver squad. The mechanics of the number ‘8’ in the final stage helped with the sister car because we knew how close it would be. The trophy is a sweet reward for some strenuous months. We have to continue to work intensively but following a success like this it’ll be a little easier.”
Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 #7): “What a riveting race. And the traffic on track made everything even more unpredictable. I was always informed about the time gap with the Porsche that was chasing me. I managed to control the advantage well because the way our Audi R18 felt was awesome. A huge ‘thank you’ goes to our trackside squad, as well as to our employees in Neuburg and Neckarsulm. This is their success, too.”
André Lotterer (Audi R18 #7): “When you win you arguably had the best car as well.But we also recognize how fast the number ‘1’ Porsche was today. I’m happy that our car was running so impeccably. That provides our engineers with a boost. Obviously, there’s still some more work to be done, as the retirement of our sister car has unfortunately shown. Still, the entire squad can be happy about this initial success.”
Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 #7): “For us, this was the best way to open a season as you can imagine.The team’s victory is a tremendous success. However, our sister car’s misfortune was a shame. But in spite of this we again saw the great sporting spirit that exists at Audi and in Audi Sport Team Joest. They all work towards achieving a goal and support each other – such as the mechanics of the number ‘8’ who helped us today. The new Audi R18 is great fun. That gives you a relaxed feeling in the cockpit.”
Lucas di Grassi (Audi R18 #8): “A great result forAudi Sport following an intensive winter is the main thing today – congratulations to the whole squad. We’d have liked to contribute to the result as well, but unfortunately suffered a failure of our car’s hybrid system. Obviously, we’re disappointed because in qualifying and at the beginning of the race we saw what was basically possible. We were even running in front of our sister car. ‘Thank you’ for that to the whole team.”
Loïc Duval (Audi R18 #8): “Sincere congratulations to Audi on clinching victory. Now we know that our car is basically in contention for winning. ‘Thank you’ to Audi Sport for a car that we took a position on the front row with. The second place my teammate Oliver Jarvis held in the beginning was great too. Unfortunately, a defect got in the way. Our mechanics and the engineers did an outstanding job throughout the weekend.”
Oliver Jarvis (Audi R18 #8): “On taking grid positions one and two we managed a perfect start to the weekend. In the beginning, Audi was in front, but we also saw how fast Porsche is. I was ahead of our sister car by five seconds some of the time. But then a hybrid problem cropped up which initially cost us four seconds per lap and ultimately resulted in retirement. That was very disappointing. Now we’d like to show what we’re capable of from the second race on.”
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About this article
|Drivers||Marcel Fassler , Lucas di Grassi|
|Article type||Race report|