Audi on pole position for the fifth time, Japan now

Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer fastest in qualifying at Fuji; Duval/Kristensen/McNish on second row.

Audi on pole position for the fifth time, Japan now

Ingolstadt/Fuji, October 19, 2013 – At round six of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Japan, Audi achieved the fifth consecutive best time of the season with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro. As at Spa and São Paulo, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer managed to leap onto the top spot of the grid.

Car number ‘1’ made its mark immediately in the qualifying session at the foot of the snow-covered Mount Fuji. André Lotterer (D) started qualifying in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro with a lap time of 1m 26.481s and on his next outing posted a 1m 26.235 as the fastest time of the entire qualifying session. Consequently the German who lives in Tokyo clearly beat the existing qualifying lap record, 1.264 seconds slower set by Toyota driver Kazuki Nakajima 12 months ago. Lotterer subsequently turned his car over to Benoît Tréluyer (F). The average of the four best laps from which the WEC qualifying result is calculated reflected a time of 1m 26.577s for the fastest Audi.

#1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer

Photo by: Audi Communications Motorsport

The sister car designated as number ‘2’ qualified for grid position four. Allan McNish (GB) and Loïc Duval (F) shared driving duties and, on average, achieved a time of 1m 27.425s. Both drivers were less fortunate as they did not always find a clear lap. In addition, on the day before, the team had lost about an hour and a half of driving practice due to unscheduled repairs after a GT entrant had hit the race car of the Le Mans winners. Still, Duval/Kristensen/McNish can tackle the event on Sunday without pressure – as the leaders of the standings, they are starting the race with a 32-point advantage.

Quotes after qualifying

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “Obviously, it’s great that we clinched pole here at Fuji even though it was very close. The guys in car number ‘1’ drove perfect laps. This cumulative team qualifying is something very special. Car number ‘2’ was a little less fortunate and its position was worse in traffic. That’s why the result wasn’t quite enough. But we all know that the qualifying result isn’t so important for the outcome of a six-hour race.”

Chris Reinke (Head of LMP): “A pole position is always a perfect start into a race weekend. Our two Japan protagonists managed a brilliant performance. That’s a good starting base for the race. In the case of car number ’2’ we shouldn’t forget that a complete session was lost. ‘Well done’ to the team that reassembled the heavily damaged race car. The car was certainly within the range in qualifying but we’re still going to do some detailed analysing and work on becoming faster.”

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “The qualifying result is nice and it was good to have clinched another Championship point for Audi. The two drivers who drove the qualifying session were very pleased. Their lap times were good – even faster than expected. But that was necessary, too, because the two Toyotas were trailing them closely. Car number ‘2’ is a little further behind. The drivers weren’t completely happy with the balance. We’ve still got to work on that for Sunday. But rows one and two on the grid are good starting bases.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer have their home around here. That was a trump card because they know the track well and had an incredible run. They burned the times into the tarmac right on the first two laps. A qualifying session can’t go any better than this. Even though it was very close some of the time, we deserve the pole position. My two team-mates were really perfect today.”

#1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer
#1 Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro: Marcel Fässler, Andre Lotterer, Benoit Tréluyer

Photo by: Audi Communications Motorsport

André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “A superb result, everything was going perfectly. I managed it in just two laps and afterwards Benoît (Tréluyer) was able to continue driving on relatively fresh tires. He was running perfectly. He had one lap for aiming and then was a real bombshell. The competition was strong and we’re happy to be in front of the two Toyota cars. For me, it’s a home round and a true highlight. Hopefully, things will continue this way in the race tomorrow.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “The whole team was great. André (Lotterer) did a fantastic job of driving. What he managed to do on the first two laps was brilliant. I was able to jump into the car and still had fresh tires. On my first lap, I was a bit cautious because the rear was a little unstable. The tires had probably cooled down a bit after the pit stop. The second lap was superb, the third one even better. The car felt great. We’re very pleased.”

Loïc Duval (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “It wasn’t the kind of qualifying we’d been hoping for our car. We’ve got to find out why the performance was lacking because things had been going better yesterday and this morning. Maybe we made a mistake with the set-up. But this was just qualifying and the race will still be very long. We’re not starting far behind the others. We’ve still got some more work to do. Sincere congratulations to the drivers of our sister car.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “Many thanks again to our squad. It did another superb job, considering that we lost a free practice session on Friday due to unfortunate circumstances. We had a decent qualifying session and are now looking forward to the race. ‘Well done’ to our sister car, the guys had a perfect run.”

Allan McNish (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “Our car was hit by an opponent yesterday. That cost us a practice session. Since then, we’ve been trying to catch up. Before qualifying, we made a few changes that didn’t work out perfectly. It wasn’t easy to put the performance on the ground and there was traffic on track. But the two Audi cars and the Toyotas are very close together. We’re no doubt in for a very tight race and are going to continue to work on the set-up to improve the car’s balance some more for Sunday.”

Audi Motorsport

shares
comments
Double pole for Aston Martin in Fuji

Previous article

Double pole for Aston Martin in Fuji

Next article

Belicchi and Beche to start from the third row for the 6 Hours of Fuji

Belicchi and Beche to start from the third row for the 6 Hours of Fuji
Load comments
Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked Prime

Why Toyota's Le Mans victory was not as simple as it looked

Toyota scored its fourth Le Mans 24 Hours victory and a 1-2, with the #7 car of Kamui Kobayashi, Mike Conway and Jose Maria Lopez beating the #8. But although it looked straightforward from the outside, Toyota faced serious problem that had to be solved with some quick-thinking and ingenuity.

Le Mans
Aug 24, 2021
What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far Prime

What we've learned from the Le Mans 24 Hours so far

The new dawn for the FIA World Endurance Championship has arrived at Le Mans, as Hypercars prepare to duel for victory in the world's oldest endurance race. Motorsport.com picks out the 10 things we have learned in the build up to the race.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide Prime

Le Mans 2021: The team-by-team guide

After a two-month delay due to the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2021 Le Mans 24 Hours is set to get underway with the start of the Hypercar era at the Circuit de la Sarthe.

Le Mans
Aug 21, 2021
Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse? Prime

Can Toyota's #7 crew break its Le Mans curse?

One Toyota, normally with the number 7 on the side, always seems to attract the bad luck in the Le Mans 24 Hours. Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Jose Maria Lopez are hoping for a change in fortune this time around, but face significantly more unknowns than in recent years

Le Mans
Aug 19, 2021
Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow Prime

Why Glickenhaus should be taken seriously on its Le Mans bow

Many were quick to dismiss Glickenhaus when the boutique American sportscar firm's entry into the top class of the Le Mans 24 Hours was announced. It's all-new LMH racer, powered by an engine built by a rally specialist, goes in as the underdog against Toyota but the mathematical odds suggest that it has more than just a faint hope of success.

Le Mans
Aug 18, 2021
How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car Prime

How 1971's benchmark Le Mans team lost with the best car

The JW Automotive Engineering team won twice at the Le Mans 24 Hours with ageing Fords and was considered the heavy favourite to add more victories to its tally after partnering with Porsche. But despite being armed with the all-conquering 917, this formidable combination was never as successful in real life as on the big screen.

Le Mans
Aug 15, 2021
Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio Prime

Why Jose Maria Lopez isn’t motivated by emulating Fangio

Having twice missed out on Formula 1 and reinvented himself as a touring car driver, Jose Maria Lopez has had a rocky ride to becoming a four-time world champion. One more would put him level with his nation's favourite son, but there's another prize he would value far more than the honour of matching Juan Manuel Fangio's tally.

WEC
Aug 14, 2021
The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial Prime

The understated Le Mans legend who has earned a testimonial

OPINION: After 24 Le Mans 24 Hours participations, 50-year-old Emmanuel Collard will be absent from the grid this year, stuck at the mercy of his gold driver grading. But, while he's not motivated by breaking start records, the French veteran is determined to return to the field next year.

WEC
Jul 24, 2021