Race: Audi fights back

They may have had a scare in qualifying on Friday, but the Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx squad fought back on Saturday with Allan McNish and Pierre Kaffer taking the top honours at the Silverstone round of the Le Mans Endurance Series

Race: Audi fights back

The Anglo-German pairing finished the five and a half hour race one lap clear of the Team Goh Audi duo of Rinaldo Capello and Seiji Ara, with the second Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx car of Johnny Herbert and Jamie Davies in third.

Polesitter Robbie Kerr, in his first LMES race, gave an impression performance to take the Zytek team to fourth spot after leading the race in the early stages.

Kaffer drove the first stint, moving ahead of the sister car in the early laps taking the lead when polesitters Zytek pitted early. McNish took over the wheel on lap 64 and led for the remainder of the rest, comfortably lapping quicker than the other Audis. The Scot admitted he backed off in the closing laps to avoid another late pitstop.

"We had to be conservative - we backed off and I tried to bring the car home," he said. "The pace was there but we wanted to win the race."

Team Goh qualified the Audi R8 in sixth place and Capello had moved up to third by quarter distance. Ara then took over and benefited from a long pitstop by Herbert to take second place. The pair repeatedly exchanged second place during the remaining pitstops as Ara gradually moved further ahead on the track and eventually crossed the line over a lap ahead.

"In the first two stints the car was very hard to drive," explained Capello, "but in the last two stints it felt like a different car."

The other Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx car of Herbert and Davies ran ahead of Kaffer in the early laps but then slowly fell behind and was passed by Team Goh. "We had a good qualifying car but not a good race car - we didn"t seem to have any overall grip," said Herbert, who also lost twenty seconds in the pits on lap 92 after the car sustained damage to the front right section, and Davies also reported a slow puncture that caused unpredictable handling early in the race.

Zytek Engineering started from pole position and held the lead in the opening laps at the hands of Kerr, but the team was forced to make an early second stop to repair damage to the car after contact with the Lister Chevrolet of Robb Barff and Justin Keen. The team then suffered two slow mid-race stints and these were enough to drop them down to fourth place, crossing the line just over one lap behind Herbert.

Labre Competition took the GTS category courtesy of Pedro Lamy, Christophe Bouchut and Steve Zacchia with the Barron Connor Racing Ferrari of Mike Hezemans, Jean Denis Delatraz and Andrea Piccini second. The all-British Graham Nash Motorsport trio of Phil Benett, Paul Wight and David Leslie was third.

Finally, in the GT category, Roman Rusinov and Stephane Daoudi took victory for the JMB Racing team, with Piers Masarati helping the Sebah Automotive team to second.

Kaffer/McNish (Audi R8) 195 laps
Capello/Ara (Audi R8) +1 lap
Davies/Herbert (Audi R8) +2 laps
Kerr/Dyson (Zytek) +3 laps
Lupberger/Stirling/Dumas (Nasamax DM139) +13 laps
Hignett/Stack/Collini (Zytek) +14 laps

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