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Audi Finishes Enduro Racing Stint In Style With 1-2 Win

Audi left the world of automotive endurance racing in style with a 1-2 victory at the 6 Hours of Dubai. The automaker ended up number two in the race for the Manufacturer's Cup and for driver honors.
Posted: November 21, 2016 - 9:13PM
Author: Marc Stern

What a way to go out! Hard on the heels of Audi’s recent announcement that it will be pulling out of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) series, Audi claimed a pole to pole victory in the 6 Hours of Bahrain, the final campaign of the 2016 season. Audi driver Lucas di Grassi set the fastest lap time.

Wonderful Season Finale

In the season finale, the driving trio of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis stormed into the lead from the start and held it until the end of the race. About one-third of the way into the six-hour enduro, the Number 7 car, piloted by the trio of Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer caught and temporarily slipped by into first place. The results could have ended up differently if there weren’t problems during a pit and tire change where Number 8 (Grassi, Duval, Jarvis) charged back into the lead, holding on to it through the end of the race.

It did take a bit of strategy to pull off the victory. On lap 104, the Number 8 car decided to pit while the course was under a yellow. The move paid off handsomely. The move, combined with excellent lap times, including the fastest lap of the race by di Grassi, set the Number 8 car on the way to its victory. Even an unscheduled stop on lap 149, so the team could remove rubber debris from the body, didn’t detract from the win.

Crossing the finish line 16 seconds ahead of the Number 7 car gave Audi a one-two finish. The finish was Audi’s second victory of the 2016 season following the 6 Hours of Spa in May. With the win, the automaker also recaptured the number two position in the competition for the manufacturer’s championship. The number one finish by the Number 8 car, followed by the Number 7 car in second place gave Audi its best result of the season.

“Thank you to the whole squad for an impeccable performance. You couldn’t wish for a sweeter farewell,” Dr. Wolfgag Ullrich, head of Audi Motorsport, said after the race. “Our competitors and the FIA WEC gave us a very emotional finale with many nice gestures, and we are saying thank you with the best possible sporting result for so many years of tremendous racing: an unforgettable weekend.”

Audi Races R18 Diesel-Hybrids

For 2016, Audi campaigned a pair of R18 diesel-hybrid sports cars. The Audi team finished up second in the hunt for the Manufacturer’s Cup and second in the hunt for driver honors.

“Our intention had been to achieve the maximum today in Bahrain, and that’s exactly what we did,” said Stefan Dreyer, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. “A huge thank you goes to this top team, to Audi Sport Team Joest, to our drivers, and to all the people who made this possible behind the scenes in Neuburg, Neckarsulm and Ingolstadt. As emotional and touching this farewell may seem it is matched by the joy we feel about this top sporting performance with our one-two result and the two vice-championship titles. Sincere congratulations to everyone.”

Audi has had a particularly good racing series since its first involvement. On 16 occasions, Audi’s sports cars were pole-sitters. Audi cars won 17 of 41 races, since 2012 and achieved 23 of the fastest race lap results. No other manufacturer’s team has been more successful in even just one of these categories. Also, Audi clinched two driver’s and two manufacturer’s world championships.

Race Results

  1. Di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis (Audi R18), 201 laps
  2. Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18), +16.419s
  3. Bernhard/Hartley/Webber (Porsche), +1m 17.001s
  4. Buemi/Davidson/Nakajima (Toyota), –1 lap
  5. Conway/Kobayashi/Sarrazin (Toyota), –1 lap
  6. Dumas/Jani/Lieb (Porsche), –3 laps
  7. Imperatori/Kraihamer/Tuscher (Rebellion), –10 laps
  8. Kaffer/Trummer/Webb (CLM P1/01), –14 laps
  9. Brundle/Rast/Rusinov (Oreca-Nissan), –17 laps
  10. Albuquerque/Gonzalez/Senna (Ligier-Nissan), –17 laps