Audi wins first WEC round at Silverstone

Victory and lead of the standings for Fässler/Lotterer/TréluyerAudi Sport Team Joest celebrates 16th race victory in the FIA WECDebut win for Audi’s most efficient LMP1 race car

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.

Race results

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