Porsche “still the favourites” for Silverstone win – Lotterer

Audi driver Andre Lotterer believes that Porsche remains the favourite to take victory in the FIA WEC season opener at Silverstone, despite the Ingolstadt marque sweeping the front row in qualifying.

Porsche “still the favourites” for Silverstone win – Lotterer
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
Polesitter LMP1 Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer, Audi Sport Team Joest
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
Andre Lotterer
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis, Audi Sport Team Joest
#8 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval, Oliver Jarvis
#2 Porsche Team Porsche 919 Hybrid: Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, Marc Lieb
#7 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer

In wet conditions, Audi turned the Friday formbook on its head by taking a shock one-two to demote the Porsches to the second row of the grid, Lotterer and Marcel Fassler putting the #7 R18 e-tron quattro on pole position.

It was Audi's first WEC pole position since Fuji in 2013, and brought to an end of streak of poles for Porsche that stretched back to the following year's Japanese race.

Lotterer however thinks that Audi, despite its advantageous starting position, will have a tough task on its hands keeping sister brand Porsche at bay in Sunday's race, which is forecast to be dry.

“Difficult to understand what to expect, it’s [still] early stages to see a tendency,” said the German.

“I think [Porsche] are still the favourites, we saw their speed yesterday, it’s quite strong but we’re there and we’ll give it everything.

“We’re starting in front, and hopefully we can stay there. For sure, it’s a long race; a lot can happen and it’s going to be the first race with this car.

“So we will have a neutral approach, we’re not thinking of beating somebody [in particular], we’ll just do our own best and see what happens.”

Brake problem hampers di Grassi charge

Lucas di Grassi, sharing the #8 Audi with Loic Duval, seemed poised to wrest pole position away from the #7, only to overshoot at Club corner on his final flying lap and miss out on pole by a tenth.

The Brazilian revealed that a brake problem was responsible, and admitted that Audi coming out on top came as a major surprise to him.

“We had a brake issue on the last lap, a problem with the braking system,” di Grassi told Motorsport.com. “I almost had no brakes, I tried to finish the lap anyway.

“I already had a big moment at Stowe, I had a big moment, then I arrive for a hard braking [at Club] and I just couldn’t stop the car.

“If I had finished that lap, it would have been pole; a shame we didn’t do it, but what’s important is Audi being on the front row.”

Echoing teammate Lotterer’s thoughts about Porsche, he added: “We were not expecting to be in front of Porsche. Maybe we can put the heat in the tyres better, maybe conditions favoured us somehow.

“Porsche has a very strong car, they were extremely fast in the dry yesterday, so it will be an incredibly tough race.”

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