Published on April 19th, 2016 | by Daniel Sherman Fernandez0
Audi Wins First WEC 2016 Race at Silverstone [Update: Winning car under investigation]
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 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. Lucas di Grassi took over the cockpit after the first pitstop, but was forced to retire on lap 70 due to a malfunction of the hybrid system.
* UPDATE: The Stewards of the Meeting received a report from the Technical Delegate explaining that the thickness of the front skid block of car no. 7 doesn’t comply with article 3.5.6 a3 of the LMP1 Technical Regulations. Audi Sport Team Joest has appealed the decision to exclude the number 7 car from the results. Hence the race result will depend on the decision of a sport tribunal.
1 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18) 194 laps
2 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) +46.065s
3 Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin (Toyota) –1 lap
4 Imperatori/Kraihamer/Tuscher (Rebellion) –11 laps
5 Heidfeld/Piquet/Prost (Rebellion) –13 laps
6 Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna (Ligier-Nissan) –15 laps
7 Cumming/Dalziel/Derani (Ligier-Nissan) –15 laps
8 Berthon/Rast/Rusinov (Oreca-Nissan) –15 laps
9 Lapierre/Menezes/Richelmi (Alpine-Nissan) –16 laps
10 Kane/Leventis/Watts (Gibson-Nissan) –17 laps