Silverstone WEC: Audi secure front row lockout


The Audi Sport Team Joest secured the front row for the season opening FIA World Endurance Championship at a wet Silverstone on Saturday.

The #7 machine of Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Benoit Treluyer will start the six hour race on Sunday from pole position, with Lotterer and Fassler taking control in qualifying to set an average lap time of 1m53.204s,

The #7 was just 0.104s ahead of the sister #8 car of Lucas di Grassi, Loic Duval and Oliver Jarvis as Audi managed to out pace the pre-session favourites Porsche to the front row.

The #1 Porsche of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard will start from the second row of the grid after ending 0.946s adrift of the pole time, with the second Porsche of Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb set to start fourth.

The two Toyota Gazoo Racing teams appeared to struggle in the tricky conditions, ending up in fifth and sixth, the #6 ahead of the #5 but both well off the pole position time of the Audi.

The ByKolles Racing entry of Simon Trummer, Oliver Webb and James Rossiter will start seventh in the leading of the privateer LMP1 entries after both Rebellion Racing entries hit trouble – the #13 failed to set a time at all after Alexandre Imperatori brought the car into the pits, while only one driver of the #12 could set a time before it too hit pit lane.

The #26 G-Drive Racing entry of Roman Rusinov, Nathanael Berthon and Rene Rast was the quickest of the LMP2 racers during the session and will start eighth overall, ahead of the Extreme Speed Motorsports entry of Ryan Dalziel, Luis Felipe Derani and Christopher Cumming.

There was disappointment in the #51 AF Corse garage after losing the opportunity to take pole position in the LMGTE Pro class, with the team having been fastest with James Calado before a mechanical issue on the Ferrari for team-mate Gianmaria Bruni saw all his good work go to waste.

Pole in the class went instead to the sister #71 car of Davide Rigon and Sam Bird, while the #77 Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche of Richard Lietz and Michael Christensen was second ahead of the #66 Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK entry of Stefan Mücke, Olivier Pla and Billy Johnson.

It was more straightforward in the LMGTE Am class, with the #88 Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing team of Khaled Al Qubaisi, David Heinemeier Hansson and Klaus Bachler taking class honours ahead of the #78 KCMG outfit of Christian Ried, Wolf Henzler and Joel Camathias.