Sunday 13 November 2011

Podium for Audi at ILMC finale in China

Podium for Audi at ILMC finale in China

􀀁 Timo Bernhard/Marcel Fässler on position three at Zhuhai
􀀁 Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish retired
􀀁 One-two success for Audi R8 LMS in the GTC class

Ingolstadt/Zhuhai, November 13, 2011 – At the end of the Intercontinental Le
Mans Cup (ILMC) Audi Sport Team Joest achieved another podium result with the
Le Mans winning Audi R18 TDI at the season finale in China. Timo Bernhard and
Marcel Fässler finished the 6-hour race at Zhuhai in third place. Allan McNish and
Tom Kristensen in the “sister car” were forced to retire due to a collision in which
they were not at fault.
As was often the case this year, Audi Sport Team Joest was lacking the necessary bit
of luck at Zhuhai after both Audi R18 TDI cars had been setting the pace at the
beginning of the race. As early as on lap one Allan McNish and Timo Bernhard
managed to pass one of the two Peugeots and to take over positions two and three.
On lap 18 both Audi drivers also overtook the Peugeot of Sébastien Bourdais which
had been leading up to that point.
The Audi squad was not able to enjoy the one-two lead for very long though: Allan
McNish lost a lap early on when during the first refueling stop the rear bodywork of
the Audi R18 TDI had to be exchanged as a result of contact with a GT car in which
he had not been at fault. More serious consequences were caused by the mistake of
a rival in the LMP1 class who made a braking mistake in front of Turn 1 and slid into
the rear of the Audi that was running in front of him causing a cable harness to be
severed. The resulting short circuit caused irreparable damage to the onboard
electronics of the R18 TDI. Following several unscheduled pit stops Audi Sport
Team Joest took the car out of the race after three hours and 46 minutes.
Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fässler were running at the front of the field for a long
time. However, toward the race’s midpoint the Audi R18 TDI designated as car
number “1” lost too much time since the tires started degrading much more heavily
than expected during the second stint. While trying to overtake the leading Peugeot
and to recover the lap that way, Marcel Fässler went into a spectacular spin in the
fast finish turn shortly before the end of the race. The Le Mans winner managed to
regain control of the R18 TDI without touching the track barrier and thus secured
third place. After Imola and Silverstone, this marked the third joint podium result in
the ILMC for Bernhard and Fässler.
One-two victory for the Audi R8 LMS in the GTC class
In the GTC class Audi recorded a one-two-three success at Zhuhai: Audi Sport
customer racing China celebrated a commanding victory on its first appearance with
the Audi R8 LMS. DTM racer Edoardo Mortara on his GT debut won together with the
Hong Kong Chinese Darrel O’Young and the Swiss Alexandre Imperatori. Second
place went to the Audi R8 LMS fielded by Audi race experience. The Audi GT3
customer sports car will make another appearance next weekend in China at the GT
race in neighboring Macau.
Quotes after the race
Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “In the first two hours we were
absolutely part of the action at the front. Unfortunately, though, we weren’t able to
convert the good speed we had into victory at the finale – and that’s no doubt
disappointing for everyone in the team. With car number ‘1’ we lost a lot of time at
the end of the second double-stint which we weren’t able to recover although
afterward we again drove the times of the two leading Peugeot cars pretty
consistently. That’s why in the end it was no longer possible to attack. Car number
‘2’ became entangled in a rear-end collision in which it was not at fault and, as a
consequence, developed an electrical problem which we weren’t able to repair. That
was of course disappointing.”
Timo Bernhard (Audi R18 TDI #1): “The pace definitely existed today – as had
actually been the case at all the previous races. It’s a shame because on the first
stint we took the lead and after the second one we were leading for about ten
seconds. Unfortunately, in the second part of Marcel’s double-stint we had to note
that the tires had heavily degraded. Exactly the time we lost at that point was the
time we were lacking in the end. We weren’t able to make up for that any more as
the competitiveness in the ILMC is too high to be able do so. I do think though that
Marcel (Fässler) and I did a good job today. The pace was good, we always managed
to get through the field in a nice, clean drive.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 TDI #1): “Basically speaking, this wasn’t my weekend,
unfortunately, because I was struggling a bit here. The race had started well and
Timo (Bernhard) did a good job. We were really competitive. Unfortunately, the
performance of the tires dropped severely during my double-stint. On the last ten
laps on this tire we simply lost too much time. That’s a shame because we’re not
happy with third place, even though that was obviously the maximum we could
achieve today.”
Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 TDI #2): “A frustrating end for our ‘yellow’ car. Until
today it’s been a perfect weekend. The tests in wet and dry conditions, the qualifying
session – everything went according to plan or even better. From the start, Allan
(McNish) and Timo (Bernhard) were running really fast. But when Allan was hit in
the rear by the Rebellion car, the impact apparently caused a short circuit. We had
to change the battery several times but that didn’t eliminate the problem. That was
a shame because we were definitely quick enough to be able to win the race – and
that was clearly our goal. It’s been a character-building year.”
Allan McNish (Audi R18 TDI #2): “I think everyone in the team did an outstanding
job. That’s why it’s so disappointing that we had to give up with our Audi R18 TDI.
We had a really good pace, Tom (Kristensen) and I were both really pleased with the
set-up. In addition, Tom drove a fantastic qualifying session. So we started into the
race with a lot of self-confidence and a good feeling and immediately put pressure
on our rivals from Peugeot and took the lead. Unfortunately, a GT car touched me as
early as on the first stint, which meant we had to change the tail due to the
regulations. But the real problem happened when I was hit in the rear by a
prototype. That damaged the wiring and caused a short circuit in the car which
couldn’t be repaired. I’m a little sad because I was confident that we’d be able to
clinch victory here – and I wasn’t the only one in the team who had that opinion. In
the future, Audi Sport will come back stronger than before, this much is sure.”
Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “The season finale of the
ILMC was like the previous races of the season: It started really well and in the
beginning we had the impression that we were quicker than our competitors. That
changed after about two hours though. At the end of the second stint we lost a lot
of time but our strategy had paid off up to that point. The Peugeot cars though
apparently benefited from the increasing amount of pickup on the track. In these
conditions they weren’t struggling quite as much with degrading tires as we were.
For car number ‘2’ the race here at Zhuhai was a mirror image of the season as well.
Allan (McNish) didn’t even notice the damage to the rear of his car after contact
with the GT vehicle and in the second incident with the LMP vehicle he wasn’t able to
do anything either. Afterward the race was over for Allan and Tom (Kristensen) due
to a resulting electrical problem. I want to thank the team a lot for having shown
outstanding morale here. All we can do now is look toward the future with

1 Bourdais/Davidson (Peugeot) 249 laps in 6h 01m 24.879s
2 Montagny/Sarrazin (Peugeot) + 38.651s
3 Bernhard/Fässler (Audi R18 TDI) - 1 lap
4 Jani/Prost (Lola-Toyota) - 7 laps
5 Nicolet/Premat/Pla (Oak-Pescarolo-Judd) - 9 laps
6 Meyrick/Mücke/Primat (Lola-Aston Martin) - 10 laps
7 Lahaye/Moreau/Ragues (Oak-Pescarolo-Judd) - 11 laps
8 Mailleux/Ordonez/Vernay (Oreca-Nissan) - 21 laps
9 Farfus/Müller (BMW) - 28 laps
10 Priaulx/Alzen (BMW) - 29 laps
18 Mortara/O’Young/Imperatori (Audi R8 LMS) - 39 laps (1 GTC)
19 Lee/Gruber/Tak Mak (Audi R8 LMS) - 46 Rd (2 GTC)

Audi Sport.

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