Audi rues cost of collisions to both cars' race hopes

Audi was left to rue the cost of two individual incidents which deprived both the #1 and #2 R18s the chance to fight for victory

Audi rues cost of collisions to both cars' race hopes

Early aggression had seen Allan McNish take the lead in a thrilling sequence with Peugeot's Sebastien Bourdais, but the Scot's hopes of victory in the #2 Audi were undone when he collided with the #66 JMW Ferrari at Becketts. The damage required two pit stops, the latter a serious overhaul of the front, which put him and Tom Kristenen five laps down and out of the running.

In their absence Timo Bernhard and Marcel Fassler took up the charge in the #1 Audi, but another clash with traffic - this time at Becketts - required repairs. The Audi crew were superb, wheeling the car into the garage and fixing the rear bodywork in just over one minute, but the deficit proved too much to overhaul.

"At the end of the day it is part of the racing," McNish reflected. "Without the damage we or the sister car had it would have been close, but that's the way it is.

"It was a good fight from the start, ebbing and flowing quite a lot - Bourdais was very quick at the beginning and then came back to me; then I got past him in traffic, and he got past me in traffic. It was good stuff, very, very close.

"One lap I thought we were going to rub, or I would rub the pit wall, and later he had a run on me at the hairpin and we went through side by side. Then two laps later the incident happened which put us out.

"Coming through Becketts Bourdais had overtaken [the #66 JMW Ferrari] in the first part, and I went round the outside as [the Ferrari] went to the left, opening the door. Then he came back quickly which was a bit of a shock, and I pulled back as much as I could but the left front got damaged.

"Traffic was bad because the circuit is quite wide and you had quite a variation of lines and lap times. Some people had interesting approaches to corners and you think the door is open and then they come straight back across. I think that was one of the issues."

Speaking of his own costly clash, Fassler said: "It was unlucky and unnecessary. We came into Becketts and the guy didn't know which way he wanted to go, I dived to right and was probably already past and then he changed, he punched me in the left-hand side and the contact broke the bodywork.

"We lost a lot in the pits because we had to change, and also we had to change strategy after Timo did a stint. The only thing we could do was to push and try to catch up, but it was much harder than the previous stint because the balance changed. Then I had another contact and that made the car tricky to drive, and very nervous into the last corner.

"For sure we could have at least had a nice chance to win. If you are on the lead lap with all the traffic there is always a chance to overtake. We had a chance."

Timo Bernhard was reflective, saying the fact such mistakes proved so important only underlined the competitiveness of the race.

"In the end it was quite an intense race," he explained. "We showed good performance but you see this is top level motorsport: if you have a small problem then it is hard to come back."

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