Audi has created an ideal starting base for round four of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). The two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars of Audi Sport Team Joest qualified for the front row of the 6-hour race with a difference of only five hundredths of a second.
The two Audi driver squads fought a thrilling battle for the best positions on the grid. Marcel Fässler (CH) on his two qualifying laps in car number ‘1’ met with his team-mate Loïc Duval (F) in number ‘2.’ Afterward, Benoît Tréluyer (F) and Tom Kristensen (DK) took over the cockpits. In the aggregate of the four fastest lap times, this year’s Le Mans winners initially had a lead of 0.172 seconds. But then Tréluyer upped the ante once more and in the average of all the times posted achieved an advantage of 0.05 seconds over the sister car. After Duval had last clinched the pole position at Le Mans in June, car number ‘1,’ just like at Spa in May, managed the leap to the top. Challenger Toyota with a gap of 0.277 seconds took third place in qualifying at São Paulo.
While the result was close on Saturday it hardly allows any conclusions to be drawn about the relative strengths on Sunday. On the track at Interlagos with its narrow and relatively slow middle sector, Audi, due to the regulations, is not allowed to use the hybrid system of the R18 e-tron quattro below 120 km/h. In addition, Audi Sport Team Joest is expecting to make an additional pit stop compared to the strongest competitor, Toyota, as the fuel tank capacity of the diesel hybrid sports car, due to the regulations as well, is significantly smaller.
The 6-hour race at São Paulo starts at 12:00, local time, on Sunday. Round four of the 2013 WEC season can be watched by live streaming on the internet at www.audi-motorsport.com and at www.fiawec.com. Eurosport will broadcast a summary of the race in Germany on Tuesday, September 3, from 9.15 to 9.45.