Audi wins dramatic World Endurance Championship race at Silverstone

Audi claimed victory in the opening round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone

Audi wins dramatic World Endurance Championship race at Silverstone

Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler took a first WEC win for Audi since the Spa round last May by 46 seconds from the #2 Porsche 919 driven by Neel Jani, Romain Dumas and Marc Lieb.

NEWS UPDATE: Porsche handed win as Audi excluded

A battle that had raged between the winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro and the Porsche for the second half of a race looked set to come down to a thrilling climax.

Fassler was 16s ahead when he made his final full pitstop with just over an hour to go, but Porsche was able to reduce that gap to 6s when Jani took on only two tyres at his pitstop six laps later.

But within three laps Jani had to return to the pits after sustaining a right front puncture.

Jani was back within 10s of the Audi when Fassler came in for a splash-and-dash pitstop with 35 minutes to go, but the Porsche's unscheduled stop had come too early for it to make it to the flag without a final top-up of fuel.

The forced the Porsche back into the pits seven laps before the end of the six-hour race.

Lotterer said: "It is amazing that at this stage of the programme we have been able to win a race.

"We had luck on our side because the #1 Porsche had its accident, but that is part of motorsport."

Jani reckoned that he would have been in a position to fight for the victory but for the puncture.

"I wouldn't want to say that we definitely would have won, but I would have given it everything.

"But we didn't just lose it today with the puncture."

The #2 Porsche also lost time with a nose section that was damaged early in the race and wasn't changed until the fourth hour, as well as a spin.

Porsche and Audi each got one car to the chequered flag.

Mark Webber had built up a clear lead after overtaking the pole-winning Audi with Lotterer at the wheel on lap 17.

Brendon Hartley continued to extend the advantage and was more than 40s ahead of the #2 Porsche just after the two-hour mark when he made contact with the GTE Am class Gulf Racing Porsche.

Hartley reprimanded for 'shocking' crash

The Kiwi was overtaking the Porsche with Michael Wainwright at the wheel around the outside of Farm, which resulted in retirement for both cars.

The second Audi driven by Oliver Jarvis and Lucas di Grassi retired early in the third hour before Loic Duval could drive.

A problem with the energy-retrieval system forced di Grassi to turn off the single front-axle motor generator before the car stopped on track with what Audi described as "hybrid malfunction".

Toyota took the final spot on the podium with the new TS050 HYBRID driven by Mike Conway, Stephane Sarrazin and Kamui Kobayashi.

The sister car shared by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima had been ahead until it sustained a puncture in the fourth hour.

Nakajima had to drive a full lap on the punctured right rear, resulting in a lengthy pitstop and an eventual 17th place.

Rebellion equalled its best WEC result for the R-One chassis thanks to the problems of the factory teams.

Alexandre Imperatori, Matheo Tuscher and Dominik Kraihamer claimed fourth position after enjoying a clean race.

The RGR Sport by Morand squad took honours in LMP2 with its Ligier-Nissan JSP2 driven by Bruno Senna, Filipe Albuquerque and Ricardo Gonzalez.

The Morand car finished half a minute up on the best of the Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier-Nissans driven by Pipo Derani, Ryan Dalziel and Chris Cumming.

Ferrari dominated the GTE Pro class on the way to a one-two result for the AF Corse team led by Sam Bird and Davide Rigon.

Their Ferrari 488 GTE was in front from the start and was barely challenged over the course of the race.

The second-placed Ferrari of Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado came back from a three-minute stop-go penalty for a post-qualifying engine change.

GTE Am was won by the AF Ferrari 458 Italia shared by Emmanuel Collard, Rui Aguas and Francois Perrodo.

RESULTS - 194 LAPS:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Gap
1 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 6h01m53.028s
2 LMP1 S.Sarrazin, M.Conway, K.Kobayashi Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 1 Lap
3 LMP1 M.Tuscher, D.Kraihamer, A.Imperatori Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 11 Laps
4 LMP1 N.Prost, N.Piquet Jr., N.Heidfeld Rebellion Racing Rebellion/AER 13 Laps
5 LMP2 R.Gonzalez, F.Albuquerque, B.Senna RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan 15 Laps
6 LMP2 R.Dalziel, P.Derani, C.Cumming Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 15 Laps
7 LMP2 R.Rusinov, N.Berthon, R.Rast G-Drive Racing ORECA/Nissan 15 Laps
8 LMP2 G.Menezes, N.Lapierre, S.Richelmi Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 16 Laps
9 LMP2 N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane Strakka Racing Gibson/Nissan 17 Laps
10 LMP2 M.Rao, R.Bradley, R.Merhi Manor ORECA/Nissan 17 Laps
11 LMP2 D.Cheng, H-Pin Tung, N.Panciatici Baxi DC Racing Alpine Alpine/Nissan 18 Laps
12 LMP2 V.Petrov, K.Ladygin, V.Shaytar SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 18 Laps
13 LMP2 S.Sharp, E.Brown, J.van Overbeek Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan 19 Laps
14 LMP1 S.Trummer, O.Webb, J.Rossiter ByKOLLES Racing Team CLM/AER 22 Laps
15 LMP2 N.Minassian, M.Mediani SMP Racing BR Engineering/Nissan 23 Laps
16 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Gazoo Racing Toyota 24 Laps
17 GTE Pro D.Rigon, S.Bird AF Corse Ferrari 27 Laps
18 GTE Pro G.Bruni, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 28 Laps
19 GTE Pro N.Thiim, M.Sorensen, D.Turner Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 28 Laps
20 GTE Pro M.Franchitti, A.Priaulx, H.Tincknell Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 29 Laps
21 GTE Pro B.Johnson, S.Mucke, O.Pla Ford Chip Ganassi Team UK Ford 29 Laps
22 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 31 Laps
23 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 32 Laps
24 GTE Am Y.Yamagishi, P.Ragues, P.Ruberti Larbre Competition Chevrolet 33 Laps
25 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 40 Laps
26 GTE Am C.Ried, W.Henzler, J.Camathias KCMG Porsche 40 Laps
27 GTE Am K.Al Qubaisi, D.H.Hansson, K.Bachler Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 41 Laps
- LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi Disqualified
- GTE Pro R.Stanaway, F.Rees Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin Retirement
- LMP2 T.Graves, W.Stevens, J.Jakes Manor ORECA/Nissan Retirement
- LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche Retirement
- LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi Retirement
- GTE Am M.Wainwright, A.Carroll, B.Barker Gulf Racing Porsche Retirement


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