As expected, Audi will be facing a major challenge in the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in China. In qualifying on the track at Shanghai, the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars took positions three and four.
As in round five of the season at Austin, the number ‘8’ hybrid sports car was the best Audi in qualifying. Loïc Duval and Lucas di Grassi on average of their best laps set a time of 1m 44.200s, taking third place. The sister car, number ‘7,’ trailed them in position four with a gap of 445 thousandths of a second. “Our pre-race simulations showed us that the gaps would be somewhat larger again here than they most recently were at Fuji,” said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “On this track with its long straights and hard braking and acceleration stages, energy-intensive hybrid systems simply have an advantage. Within these boundaries, our drivers fully used the potential.”
Lucas di Grassi felt that progress was made in qualifying compared with free practice. “The car felt more balanced and traction was better than in the morning,” the Brazilian said. His teammate Loïc Duval added: “Qualifying went smoothly. But as a race driver you’re never happy if you’ve got no chance of setting the best time in the battle.” Benoît Tréluyer stresses the strides that were made in the practice and qualifying sessions with respect to the race on Sunday: “Our car is well balanced for the race. That makes us feel confident. My time was okay, but maybe I was a bit cautious on my fastest lap.” His teammate Marcel Fässler, on the other hand, was unhappy with his qualifying: “In traffic, I didn’t find a clear lap. That’s why my times simply weren’t competitive. Now we need to make optimal uses of our strengths in the race.”