Season » 2012 » 6h Fuji (J)


Audi Sport Team Joest occupies two podium places in Japan

Two podium places in the Far East: Audi had to settle for positions two and three at the seventh round of the FIA World Championship (WEC). A sporting penalty deprived the number "1" Audi R18 e-tron quattro of all chances for victory at Fuji.

Up to the six-hour race’s mid-point, Audi was fighting a thrilling battle for victory with Toyota. At the beginning of the race, André Lotterer in the number “1” R18 e-tron quattro constantly remained within striking distance of Toyota driver Alexander Wurz. Benoît Tréluyer, who took over driving duties of the hybrid prototype from Lotterer, continued the chase and took the lead after a thrilling duel. However, shortly after the race’s mid-point, a GT vehicle collided with the Audi in a lapping maneuver. Due to the resulting damage, a pit stop was made to change the front hood. This cost a further 24 seconds in addition to the regular duration of the pit stop. When the race directors decided that the Audi was to blame for the accident and issued a stop-and-go penalty, car number “1” dropped to third place. André Lotterer drove good lap times and recovered to second place in the penultimate hour of the race. Only 11.2 seconds separated him from the winning Toyota in the end. With this result, the three Le Mans winners Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer extended their lead of the standings by three to 16.5 points.

At this point in time, Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen were struggling with the handling of their number “2” Audi R18 e-tron quattro. The reason was that in the fourth hour of the race, a LMP2 prototype had hit Audi’s prototype, damaging various small aerodynamic components at the front of the R18 in the incident. The team, however, decided not to change the hood, as this would have cost more valuable time. Consequently, the Anglo-Danish duo ultimately took third place.

Although Audi, despite a good race performance, was deprived by the sporting penalty of any chance of taking its sixth victory of the season, the entire squad can look forward to the finale at Shanghai two weeks from now. After the early win of the manufacturers’ world championship* by Audi in August, the title in the drivers’ championship will be awarded at the finale. Irrespective of whether the decision will be in favor of Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer or Kristensen/McNish - Audi will win this classification in the inaugural season of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) as well.

* Subject to the official publication of the results by the FIA