Season » 2014 » 6h Fuji (J)


Audi Sport Team Joest maintains its challenge for WEC title

Round five of the FIA World Endurance Championship marked the end of a superb string of results for Audi. Following two consecutive one-two victories and a total of five podium results since May, Audi Sport Team Joest had to settle for positions five and six at Fuji. As a result, the battle for the World Championship is intensifying as the lead of the standings has changed again three races before the end of the season. Audi, as the runner-up in the manufacturers’ classification, now trail Toyota by just 8 points, continues to maintain its challenge.

For the third time in succession, Audi is set on winning the WEC title. In pursuit of this aim, the squad from Ingolstadt and Neckarsulm scored 18 points in Japan in difficult conditions and remains within striking distance of the top. On the 4.563-kilometer circuit south-west of Tokyo that with its combination of a long start-finish straight and a narrow last sector that primarily rewards race cars with extremely powerful hybrid systems, Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen (BR/F/DK) managed to improve from grid position six to fifth place. A well-balanced driving performance and a favorably timed third pit stop in a yellow period helped them to do so.

With car number 2 Audi Sport Team Joest had opted for different tactics. Following a brilliant beginning of the race, André Lotterer tried to use his first set of tires a second time beyond the first refueling stop. But the team stopped this attempt early as the lap times did not remain sufficiently consistent. Consequently, the German pitted again after just 17 instead of 35 laps which saved him an additional stop, however. The tires of the hybrid sports car kept picking up rubber from the track on lapping other participants, which caused the lap times to increase.

In spite of this, Audi scored 18 valuable points in the manufacturers’ classification on a track that did not suit the R18 e-tron quattro well. In three weeks from now, on November 2, the sixth race of the season will be on the calendar at Shanghai (China). On its largest single market, Audi achieved its sixth WEC victory of the season last year.