November 19, 2016 @ 07:24 PM

Audi begins final WEC charge from pole position

Lucas di Grassi’s phenomenal drive earns the brand a pole start and a new lap record in qualifying as well

Since it is Audi’s final performance at the World Endurance Championship (WEC), they are trying their best to make sure that this last hurrah is something that not only the fans will remember, but for themselves as well. And it seems that they have started off in the right direction as Lucas di Grassi’s exceptional drive during qualifying did not only put them in front of the pack to start the race, he had also set a new lap record in the #8 R18.

 

But the systems were not all green during the session as they did stumble upon a couple of hiccups along the way. Just before qualifying, safety reasons have prompted the team to perform an engine change on their LMP1 race car. While it may sound like a serious issue, it certainly did not slow the car down in any way as di Grassi’s pole also gave Audi their sixth pole position in nine races.

And with a lap time of 1 minute 38.828 seconds, the #8 R18 was in the spotlight once again as it had set an all-new lap record which was 0.842 seconds faster than the one set by Timo Bernhard last year. “I’m absolutely happy. This track record in qualifying is amazing,” said di Grassi. “The Audi R18 was fantastic to drive. I was able to give my all – on just a single set of tires,” said Oliver Jarvis, who shares the #8 R18 with di Grassi.

 

The mood however was not as jovial at the #7 R18 sister car as the duo of Andre Lotterer and Marcel Fassler were only able to secure a fourth spot on the grid, 0.491 seconds behind their teammates’ #8. “On both outings, I made a braking mistake on entering turn one. But I’m confident for Saturday because we have a good car over the distance,” said Lotterer.

With the R18 in pole and fourth position on the grid, Head of Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich was more than happy with the performance of the Four Rings squad. “Our team did a superb job, perfectly managed the engine and prepared a car for our drivers in which they were more than two tenths faster than our best rival. Thank you for this team performance.”

 

Hussein Zain

 

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