Published on August 8th, 2013 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi Has 3 R18 e-tron’s at the front of the 2013 Le Mans
After the first day of practice for the Le Mans 24 Hours (start on Saturday at 1500 CEST) all three Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars are at the front of the field. The Frenchman Loïc Duval managed to beat the best time from last year by almost 1.5 seconds. The hybrid race cars with the four rings, which have been undefeated in the current season so far, dominated on the 13.629-kilometer track in Western France on Wednesday right from the beginning. In free practice and in qualifying, Audi maintained the top three positions. The fastest in both qualifying sessions was the number ‘2′ Audi R18 e-tron quattro driven by Loïc Duval (France), Tom Kristensen (Denmark) and Allan McNish (Scotland). The best time of the day of 3m 22.349s was achieved by Loïc Duval shortly after qualifying started at 22:00.
The Spaniard Marc Gené, who is sharing the number ‘3′ Audi R18 e-tron quattro with Lucas di Grassi (Brazil) and Oliver Jarvis (Great Britain), achieved the second-fastest time of the day (3m 24.341s). Trailing them in third place were last year’s winners and current World Endurance Champions Marcel Fässler (Switzerland), André Lotterer (Germany) and Benoît Tréluyer (France). The fastest lap of car number ‘1′ was driven by André Lotterer in 3m 25.474s.
But none of the three Audi squads was mainly focused on the chase for fast lap times on Wednesday. Following the predominantly rainy pre-test on Sunday before last, Audi Sport Team Joest continued the test program that had been started then, focusing on tire tests and a perfect race set-up of the three R18 e-tron quattro cars. In addition, all drivers tried to do the mandatory laps at night. All, except for Marcel Fässler, who was stopped twice by red flags, managed this. Both the free practice and the first qualifying sessions were stopped early after incidents in which the guard rails of the race track were damaged – qualifying even ended as early as after 65 minutes of the originally scheduled two hours.