For the World Champions Tom Kristensen (DK) and Loïc Duval (F), the beginning of the season was made to measure. The Dane started qualifying and on his two fastest laps achieved an average of 1m 42.625s before turning the car over to the Frenchman. At 1m 42.477s, the nine-time Le Mans winner also drove the fastest lap in the whole field. Together with the two best laps by Loïc Duval car #1 achieved an average of 1m 42.779s, which meant it was the front runner for a short time. In the end, the Audi factory drivers had to admit defeat to the #7 Toyota by only 0.005 seconds. Regarding the results it should be noted that, according to the new regulations, not only the fastest times are crucial in qualifying. Just like in the race, the efficiency rules allow the entrants to use a maximum amount of energy per lap in qualifying. The new Audi R18 e-tron quattro consumes up to 30 percent less, but despite the lower consumption is on par with last year’s time levels.
The #2 sister car on the other hand struggled with some adversity in the season’s first qualifying session. Benoît Tréluyer (F), according to his own assessment, found it difficult to optimally coordinate the maximum permissible energy consumption with his time chase. The 2012 World Champion did not find his typically fast rhythm. Afterwards, his team-mate André Lotterer (D) had to do without radio communications on his first two laps because a cable had separated from his helmet. When he established the connection again himself and was able to rely on Audi Sport Team Joest’s instructions from the pit lane he improved once more on his last outing and the #2 diesel hybrid sports car advanced from fifth to fourth place.
The 6-hour race at Silverstone starts on Sunday at 12:00 (13:00 CEST). Lucas di Grassi (BR), who has been registered for the World Championship for the first time this year, will drive the first stint in car #1, André Lotterer in car #2. Eurosport 2 will broadcast the race from 14:00 to 15:00, Eurosport 1 will cover the final stage of the race from 18:00 to 19:00 (CEST).