– Positions five and six following various setbacks
– Audi maintains second place in the manufacturers’ standings
Audi proved its untiring endurance racing spirit in round eight of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in China. In spite of diverse adversities, the six drivers and the team never lost their concentration and in the end still managed to score 18 points. As a result, Audi defended second place in the manufacturers’ standings before the finale to be held in Bahrain in two weeks’ time.
The 6 Hours of Shanghai turned into a perseverance test for Audi this year. Initially, car number 8 driven by Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) was among the front runners. One hour into the race, di Grassi, with a gap of 6.4 seconds, was in position two. During the first pit stop, however, the team noticed an irregularity. The R18 could not be refueled as intended. The fuel tank was absorbing clearly less fuel than planned, reducing the subsequent pit stop intervals accordingly until the mechanics managed to correct the defect during a service. Number 8, however, ultimately had to settle for fifth place.
Car number 7 of Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) was initially running in position six and advanced to fifth place about halfway through the race. However, a misunderstanding shortly after the race’s midpoint resulted in the team suffering unsuspected long-term consequences. While lapping slower participants, the race cars of Oliver Jarvis and Benoît Tréluyer touched. The contact damaged the right-hand side pod of car number 7 at the level of the compressed air connector. As a result, the air jack could no longer be operated at the next pit stop. Replacing the damaged components cost the team more than 25 minutes. With a 14-lap deficit, Fässler resumed the race in 16th place, subsequently making up ground to see the checkered flag in position six.
“These setbacks were very disappointing,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, summing up the event. “Seeing the strong commitment shown by the entire team and our drivers was gratifying for us. They never gave up and battled for Audi for six hours straight. As a result, we scored 18 points and managed to defend our second place in the standings. We can still become vice world champions in the finale.”
Stefan Dreyer, Head of LMP at Audi Sport, added: “Since May, we’ve been delivering an unbroken string of podium finishes including a victory in the FIA WEC. Today, we would again have liked to take a trophy home, but didn’t manage to do so. Instead we experienced the spirit of endurance racing. Even if a situation appears to have no prospect of success, it’s always worth battling for every single point. A big thank you for this goes to the entire squad.”
In only two weeks’ time, Audi will be contesting an emotional finale. Round nine of the FIA WEC in Bahrain on November 19 will not only mark the end of the 2016 endurance racing season. After 18 years and 106 victories achieved with its Le Mans prototypes to date, Audi will be ending a particularly unusual success story in modern automobile racing.
1 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) 195 laps
2 Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin (Toyota) +59.785s
3 Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima (Toyota) +1m 06.038s
4 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) + 1m 40.855s
5 Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18) –3 laps
6 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi) –14 laps
7 Kaffer/Trummer/Webb (CLM P1/01) –14 laps
8 Brundle/Rusinov/Stevens (Oreca-Nissan) –15 laps
9 Blomqvist/Gelael/Giovinazzi (Ligier-Nissan) –16 laps
10 Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna (Ligier-Nissan) –16 laps