Last weekend’s season-opening round of the 2014 FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) ended with accidents for both Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars, giving the team an uphill climb ahead of them heading to Belgium for the 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps in two weeks.
“Losing both cars in a race due to accidents is extremely bitter,” said head of Audi Motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “It’s the first time since Road Atlanta 2011 that we’re going home from a race with the Le Mans prototypes without having scored a single point.”
The No. 1 Audi driven by Tom Kristensen, Loic Duval and Lucas di Grassi, along with the No. 2 Audi driven by Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer both spun out on the wet Silverstone circuit during the race, taking both e-tron quattros out of contention.
“The performance at the beginning of the race was good,” explains Ullrich. “When it started to rain we trusted our weather radar and waited too long before changing the tires. That was our mistake and, in retrospect, an unnecessary risk.”
Indeed the pace was there, as Audi took fastest lap honors during both the qualifying and the race sessions.
“Losing both cars and having to pack up shortly after the first half of the race was absolutely not what we’d imagined,” said team director Ralf Juttner. “The positive thing is: The car is good – that was obvious. Up to our retirement we also did a pretty good job of coping with the regulations, even though there’s still a lot to learn.”
“These things happen,” reasoned driver Tom Kritensen, “Unfortunately, our race was much too short after two promising days of practice and qualifying. The conditions became very dangerous in the rain. Our car spun off track.
“We need to avoid getting into such situations in the future. Unfortunately, the World Championship started for us with the worst possible result.”