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WEC: Grid Positions 1 & 2 for Audi R18 at Silverstone


• Benoît Tréluyer claims pole position
• Allan McNish only one hundredths of a second behind
• Unsettled weather causes tricky conditions

Ingolstadt/Silverstone, August 25, 2012 – Perfect qualifying result in England: Despite the difficult weather conditions Audi secured the fastest time in qualifying for the fourth time this season in the FIA World Endurance Championship WEC. Audi remains unbeaten in qualifying in the first half of the season after Benoît Tréluyer took pole position in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro at Silverstone. Both Audi R18 sports cars start from the front row on Sunday (August 26, 12:00). 

The spectators were treated to a thrilling 20 minute long qualifying session as the tire choice was not easy on the damp track at the start. Audi started qualifying with both R18 sports cars on intermediate tires. Initially Allan McNish held sway in the conventionally powered Audi R18 ultra with start number ‘2’. Afterwards, on the drying track the lap times improved by seconds. When both Audi drivers swapped from intermediate tires to slicks at the halfway stage, Toyota took first place. Three minutes before the end of the session Allan McNish moved to the front. Benoît Tréluyer, who is driving for the first time at Silverstone, countered with a lap time of 1m 43.663s. The Le Mans winner in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro with start number ‘1’ bettered the time of his team mate by two tenths of a second. Allan McNish then went on to improve again. The Scotsman was beaten in qualifying for his home race by the incredibly small margin of one hundredths of a second.

Following the exciting battle between the concepts the Audi hybrid car defended its unbeaten run: at the second race of the season at Spa as well as at the 24 Hours of Le Mans the Audi R18 e-tron quattro remained unbeaten in all three qualifying sessions. It was the first fastest time of the season for Benoît Tréluyer.

Qualifying at Silverstone rounded off a perfect qualifying Saturday for Audi. Roughly two hours before, the brand clinched the first five grid positions at the DTM race at Zandvoort.

Qualifying result

1. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro) 1m 43.663s
2. Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 ultra) 1m 43.673s
3. Wurz/Lapierre/Nakajima (Toyota) 1m 44.411s
4. Leventis/Watts/Kane (HPD-Honda) 1m 46.160s
5. Prost/Jani (Lola-Toyota) 1m 46.207s
6. Belicchi/Primat (Lola-Toyota) 1m 46.234s
7. Brabham/Chandhok/Dumbreck (HPD-Honda) 1m 46.758s
8. Ordonez/Brundle/Brundle (Zytek-Nissan) 1m 49.964s
9. Potolicchio/Dalziel/Sarrazin (HPD-Honda) 1m 49.997s
10. Martin/Charouz/Graves (Oreca-Nissan) 1m 50.129s

QUOTES:
Dieter Gass (Head of Racing Commitments): “It was very nice that at Silverstone we managed to continue the success of our colleagues at Zandvoort. We put both cars on the front positions and have done so in a session that has certainly not been easy. Qualifying started on a damp track and we had a prediction of rain for the beginning of the qualifying session. That’s why it wasn’t easy to make a tire decision. But the right decisions were made at the correct moment. That was the prerequisite for the perfect results clinched by our drivers.”Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “As always in such weather, qualifying was a real thriller. We started running on intermediates in order to set a time early on. Others then switched to slicks a little earlier while we were posting several good times on our tires in order to be prepared for rain, as this risk definitely existed. After taking these safeguards, we switched to slicks. ‘Well done’ to Benoît (Tréluyer) and to Allan (McNish), who are separated by just a hundredth of a second. We’ve now got a superb starting base for the race. Let’s continue like this.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “I watched this really exciting qualifying session from the telemetry room. The track conditions were constantly changing. In the end, it was extremely close but Ben managed a fantastic lap. Congratulations to him and the team that did a great job.”

André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “That was extremely thrilling! And for us it was a bit stressful because Ben only started the chase for times at the very end. He drove a fantastic lap even though Allan came pretty close again. A big ‘well done’ to Ben! It’s not easy for us because we don’t know the track yet. Now I’m happy to be able to start in first place tomorrow. I’m hoping for a good race.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “That was a pretty tough qualifying session! I’m happy to be at the very front in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. For me, this augurs well for the race. After all, this is my first race weekend at Silverstone. I think the track likes me and I like the track!”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 ultra #2): “Allan did a good job. The changes between quick and slow turns at Silverstone are challenging. In addition, you can feel the wind this weekend and the weather is keeping us on the go. That’ll be the big challenge on Sunday as well. Audi has been in front in each session throughout the weekend. I think we can expect a good race. Nobody should underestimate us even though after running in the R18 e-tron quattro we’ve still got to get used to the R18 ultra a little more.”

Allan McNish (Audi R18 ultra #2):
 “It was a close battle in which the weather played a part as well. The strategy was important today. The car felt excellent. It gave me a lot of confidence and even in difficult track conditions we received positive feedback. We’re only lacking a hundredth, which is negligible. We can really be pleased. We’ve got a very good race car that also feels perfect in traffic. I’m expecting a close battle.”

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