In what can only be described as challenging conditions, Audi got the best possible start to their 2016 FIA World Endurance Championship with a qualifying 1-2 for the Ingolstadt team.
Sleet then snow, which in turn saw the cancellation of FP3, was not how anyone expected their day to begin but Audi played their hand perfectly. ‘The Audi R18 practically has not a single bolt in common anymore with its predecessor’ commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. ‘Congratulations to our driver squads and to the team on today’s performance’.
‘We had no idea what to expect. But we made the right decisions and were fast enough’ said German André Lotterer. Taking over the No. 7 hybrid sports car, Marcel Fässler said ‘Qualifying was fun. The car gave us very good feedback. ‘Thank you’ to the team that’s been putting in a lot of long and hard hours lately.’ Frenchman Loïc Duval in the sister Audi was hampered by slower rivals. ‘Unfortunately I didn’t find a clear lap in the beginning and afterwards the tires were a little worn’ but a front row start for the German marque already has them securing the first point of the season.
With Lucas di Grassi declaring a well balanced race car, the R18 will be put to the test in Sunday’s race and will have to prove its potential across the six-hour race.
1 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18) 1m 53.204s
2 Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18) 1m 53.308s
3 Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche) 1m 54.150s
4 Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche) 1m 54.266s
5 Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin (Toyota) 1m 58.200s
6 Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima (Toyota) 2m 00.109s
7 Rossiter/Trummer/Webb (CLM-AER) 2m 08.332s
8 Berthon/Rast/Rusinov (Oreca-Nissan) 2m 08.479s
9 Cumming/Dalziel/Derani (Ligier-Nissan) 2m 09.632s
10 Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna (Ligier-Nissan) 2m 10.295s