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World Champions Honored at FIA Prize-Giving Gala
The FIA honored the title winners of the FIA racing series in Paris on Friday night. Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich accepted the trophy for the successful title defense of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The Audi factory drivers Loïc Duval, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish were honored as driver World Champions. All three attended the gala evening at Luc Besson’s ‘Cité du Cinéma’ together with their partners – Allan McNish appropriately clad in a Scottish kilt. The runners-up in the World Championship, Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer, represented Audi at the FIA ceremony held in honor of the winners as well. “Our whole squad achieved everything early this year that was to be achieved,” said Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “After the success at Le Mans we won both WEC titles and made a very good showing in all the races. We can be very pleased with this season.” Allan McNish was happy too: “Even in karting I battled for a World Championship. I then drove in the Formula 1 World Championship but didn’t have a real chance. Now, in my third motorsport discipline with the sports cars, the World Championship title worked out.” Loïc Duval won the title right away: “This was my first full motorsport season with Audi. The Championship win in a season in which we also won Le Mans is an overwhelming feeling.” Tom Kristensen summed up the season in these words: “After finishing a World Championship in karting as the runner-up I’ve now won a World Championship with Audi. In doing so, we defeated last year’s World Champions. Loïc, Allan and Audi Sport Team Joest were brilliant.”
Tom Kristensen to Join Executive Committee of FIA Institute
Tom Kristensen was elected to a leadership role on Thursday. The FIA General Assembly elected the Audi factory driver as a member of the Executive Committee of the FIA Institute. The committee plays a crucial part in determining the orientation, strategy and future projects of the institute. Safety and sustainability – including a climate protection project – are two key topics pursued by the institute.
Audience Award for Audi R18 e-tron quattro and Tom Kristensen
The international listeners of ‘Radio Le Mans’ cast their vote and selected the Audi R18 e-tron quattro ‘Eye Respect Car of the Year.’ At the same time, Audi factory driver Tom Kristensen received yet another accolade this year. The Danish Le Mans record winner was recognized with the ‘Eye Respect Listener Award’ for his grace in dealing with the loss of his compatriot Allan Simonsen at the Le Mans 24 Hours.
Q&A: Loic Duval
Together with Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish you became WEC Champion this year – and did so in your first full season for Audi. Did you expect this success to come so early?
“When I had the opportunity to drive three races for Audi in 2012, I felt proud, but a season like 2013 is something you can only dream of. I’m driving for the best team in the world and had Tom and Allan as team-mates, two absolute sports car legends. With that, we had very good chances, but we first had to use them and convert them into results. The pressure of being successful could clearly be felt. But my first full season with Audi couldn’t have gone any better.”
What does the WEC title mean to you in your career?
“Winning a Championship is always difficult. That’s why the WEC title is a nice reward. As soon as the FIA and the WEC had announced this new World Championship two years ago I wanted to win it at all cost. A World Champion’s title in one’s discipline is a really special achievement for any sportsman. The WEC is one of five FIA Automobile World Championships. This year, three Frenchmen – Sébastien Ogier, Yvan Muller and I – managed to become World Champions – that’s a pleasant feeling.”
How strong is the team that’s backing you?
“The love of every single team member for our sport is impressive. It took me a while to get to know every team member but by now, they’ve all become family to me. There is strong cohesion across the whole team and everyone backs each other. And whenever things don’t go according to plan for a change, the whole squad pulls together to try and quickly move forward again.”
You had two very successful, long-standing Audi drivers as team-mates this year. Who benefited the most from whom?
“It’s a give and take situation. Maybe I learned a bit more from them than they learned from me. Their technical knowledge and years of experience with Audi no doubt were of great help to me. They know what areas to focus on, how to manage one’s energy during the long Le Mans week, how to best deal with the media and much more. I contributed the working style I’d previously learned in Japan. This mix was very productive and soon made for a good atmosphere.”
Your best moment in the 2013 season?
“When I was on podium at Le Mans! I’d always wanted to enjoy the view of the crowd because I’d never been up there at Le Mans before. That was actually my main aim before ever thinking of victory. The joint success with Tom and Allan for Audi was tremendous.”