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Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Double Victory for Audi Hybrids at WEC round in Brazil [VIDEO]

Audi has remained unbeaten in the 2013 sports car season to date. The Audi R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car has won the fourth of eight rounds in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). In addition, it claimed victory in the 12-hour classic at Sebring in March.

The race weekend in Brazil ended in victory for Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) ahead of Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish (F/DK/GB). On clinching their success in the São Paulo 6 Hours, the winners reduced the gap to their team colleagues in the drivers’ standings by eight to 22 points.

After a flawless race, the current World Champions celebrated their second WEC win of the season following their success at Spa in May. 38,000 spectators watched Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer in car number ‘1’ cross the finish line at Interlagos with a three-lap advantage over their sister car.

The situation in the standings at the season’s midpoint has thus become more thrilling again after the Le Mans winners Loïc Duval (F), Tom Kristensen (DK) and Allan McNish (GB) had arrived with a 30-point advantage.

The significant gap in the race, though, does not reflect the true performance delivered by car number ‘2.’ In the early phase, Audi factory driver Allan McNish dominated the action. But then the drivers’ trio experienced an unusual streak of misfortune. In a safety car period, Tom Kristensen, after pitting, returned to the track behind a slower GT race car.

The nine-time Le Mans winner, who drove the fastest race lap as well, lost around half a minute because the car in front was not keeping the pace of the pack ahead. Loïc Duval subsequently took over the cockpit and was in the process of starting a recovery when, on lap 142 at the exit of the pit lane, he lost the right rear wheel of his car, which had gotten jammed while being mounted.

Thus, Duval had to complete one lap on three wheels. The resulting two stop-and-go penalties completed the misfortune of the leaders of the standings who thus lost four laps in total.

In the end though, Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich had reason to be pleased with a race weekend that left nothing to be desired. Audi Sport Team Joest, on taking grid positions one and two, setting the fastest race lap and scoring a one-two result, achieved the maximum that was possible and celebrated the first victory in South America.

Only the eagerly awaited battle with Toyota did not take place. The challenger’s only race car had become involved in an accident as early as on lap 25 and, as a result, was forced to retire.

In three weeks from now, Audi Sport is aiming to continue its string of success. On September 22, the WEC will be racing on the circuit at Austin in the US state of Texas for the first time.

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