World Champions Audi hapless in WEC deteriorate opener after clever performance

The World Champions had started strongly. At a commencement of a new sports automobile epoch that is governed by potency regulations, Audi valid a technological imagination in a conflict opposite dual challengers. World Champion Tom Kristensen (DK), pity automobile #1 with Loïc Duval (F) and Lucas di Grassi (BR), managed environment a fastest singular path in subordinate on Saturday. A day after André Lotterer (D), on posting a fastest competition lap, showed that a diesel hybrid sports automobile from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm is quick opposite a singular path notwithstanding a limiting rating.

In a stirring early proviso of a 6-hour race, Lotterer modernized from position 4 on a grid to a front within 22 minutes. Rainshowers environment in done for intensely vicious line conditions in a initial hour. On a sleazy track, Lucas di Grassi mislaid control of his automobile and crashed into a safeguard rails. The Audi bureau motorist managed to conduct for a pits underneath his possess power. However, Audi Sport Team Joest detected repairs to a monocoque and took automobile #1 out of a race.  

When André Lotterer slipped into a sand trap on a soppy line on path 34, automobile #2 mislaid 4 laps in a rescue operation. The 2012 World Champion incited over his competition automobile after 1h 51m of pushing time in fourth place to Benoît Tréluyer (F). When a sleet became heavier a Frenchman perceived an middle tire chronicle from partner Michelin. Twelve laps later, Tréluyer, in a quick Copse corner, slipped off line and shop-worn a front of his R18 e-tron quattro too exceedingly for streamer behind to a array lane.

With that, Audi gifted a unhappy premiere. The 2012 and 2013 World Champions had never suffered a retirement of all a competition cars in any of a prior WEC races. The final sports automobile competition in that repairs ensuing from an collision prevented Audi from finishing was a Petit Le Mans competition during Road Atlanta in a 2011 season. With 13 victories in 24 races (success rate: 54 percent) a R18 has set a benchmark in a epoch given 2011.

For Audi Sport and Audi Sport Team Joest, a competition opposite time has begun. In usually dual weeks, turn dual of a WEC is on a bulletin during Spa (B). By that time, a shop-worn cars #1 and #2 have to be prepared from blemish again. In addition, in credentials for a Le Mans 24 Hours, a third R18 e-tron quattro, common by Filipe Albuquerque (P) and Marco Bonanomi (I), is being prepared.
Quotes after a competition

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “Losing both cars in a competition due to accidents is intensely bitter. It’s a initial time given Road Atlanta 2011 that we’re going home from a competition with a Le Mans prototypes yet carrying scored a singular point. But a opening during a commencement of a competition was good. When it started to sleet we devoted a continue radar and waited too prolonged before changing a tires. That was a mistake and, in retrospect, an nonessential risk. It unequivocally strike us during full force: Both cars slipped off track. The automobile of Lucas (di Grassi) was so heavily shop-worn that we had to take it out of a race. André (Lotterer) was means to continue pushing yet mislaid a lot of time. Although thereafter we played it protected with a tires and Benoît Tréluyer was using on intermediates that worked well, he slipped off track, too. As both cars were heavily damaged, we’re in for a genuine marathon run before a subsequent WEC competition during Spa.”

Chris Reinke (Head of LMP):
“The commencement of a competition weekend during Silverstone was a approach we’d illusory it to be. The margin was tighten together and we were means to endorse a opening in subordinate by environment a fastest singular lap. The fastest competition path goes to a R18 as well. That both cars didn’t finish is – opportunely – an surprising conditions for us. But I’m certain this will move a group even closer together and that we’re going to do all within a energy to scrupulously ready a cars again for Spa and strike behind there.”

Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest):
“A sum detriment is a worst-case scenario. We’re going home with 0 points. We’d have wished to finish a race, also in sequence to accumulate experience. Of march a conditions were intensely formidable and with courtesy to a tires we done a choice that valid too risky. Losing both cars and carrying to container adult shortly after a initial half of a competition was positively not what we’d imagined. The certain thing is: The automobile is good – that was obvious. Up to a retirement we also did a flattering good pursuit of coping with a regulations, even yet there’s still a lot to learn. For a guys, carrying to ready dual cars again from scratch, is going to be unequivocally severe now. There’s not most time left until Spa – where we’ll have to try and do better.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2):
“The weekend showed a lot of certain things for us. The automobile was really quick in qualifying, as good as in a early proviso of a race. We were in a good simple position before a sleet set in. But afterwards we unfortunately done a wrong preference of stability to expostulate on slicks for such a prolonged time. Of march I’m happy that zero happened to Ben in his accident. We’d have apparently favourite to finish a competition and take home points. Unfortunately, that wasn’t probable today. A few things went wrong currently that routinely never occur during Audi. Scoring no points during all is something that hasn’t happened in a prolonged time.”

André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2):
“I had a good start and quick took a lead. In a beginning, it was also genuine fun. But, unfortunately, you’ll have days like this during some indicate in time. That’s really unfortunate, yet we’ve got to live with it. Luckily, zero happened to Lucas and Benoît. The good news is that a automobile is fast, that a fastest competition laps has shown as well.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2):
“As distant as a opening of a automobile goes, we can be pleased.  But, unfortunately, we had dual accidents in a race. Obviously, not finishing with possibly automobile is not what we aim for. In such soppy conditions, it’s tough to name a cause. Whether it was a driver, a ubiquitous line conditions, a curbs in a sold dilemma or a automobile is tough to contend in such conditions. We’re going to investigate this in fact over a subsequent few days. As a driver, we can make a mistake, yet we need to find out a means and safeguard that something like this won’t occur to us during Le Mans.”

Lucas di Grassi (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1):
“We hadn’t approaching a sleet to turn so heavy, that’s since we continued to run on slicks. But, unfortunately, a line was too cold and soppy for a tires. That’s since we had an collision in that a monocoque was so exceedingly shop-worn that we had to give up. This wasn’t a good day for us, nonetheless in dry conditions a prospects had been earnest during a commencement of a race. There were a few good duels during a front of a field. It won’t be an easy year, from now on we can’t means to make any some-more mistakes. But a deteriorate is still prolonged and I’m assured that Audi will be successful again in a subsequent competition and we’re going to measure many points.”

Loïc Duval (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1):
“Today, unfortunately, a fitness we need in racing left us in formidable continue conditions. I’m not blaming anybody since it was raining heavily while we were still using on slicks. We’d approaching a sleet to finish soon. That’s since my team-mates didn’t pit. Unfortunately, a sleet wouldn’t stop and so a automobile had an collision and subsequently a sister automobile too. But on a certain not, we were really rival this weekend. From now on, we mustn’t remove any points anymore.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1):
“Lucas was pushing an glorious stint. Unfortunately, a competition was most too brief after dual earnest days of use and qualifying. The conditions became really dangerous in a rain. Our automobile spun off track. These things can happen. We need to equivocate removing into such situations in a future. Unfortunately, a World Championship started for us with a misfortune probable result.”

Race results

1 Buemi/Davidson/Lapierre (Toyota), 167 laps in 5h 22m 42.296s
2 Nakajima/Sarrazin/Wurz (Toyota) – 1 path
3 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) – 2 laps
4 Beche/Heidfeld/Prost (Lola-Toyota) – 8 laps
5 Canal/Pla/Rusinov (Morgan-Nissan) – 13 laps
6 Bradley/Howson/Matsuda (Oreca-Nissan) – 15 laps
7 Holzer/Lietz/Makowiecki (Porsche) – 20 laps
8 Bergmeister/Pilet/Tandy (Porsche) – 20 laps
9 Mücke/Turner (Aston Martin) – 20 laps
10 Bruni/Vilander (Ferrari) – 20 laps

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