Silverstone WEC: Audi holds out Porsche to win season opener

Audi claimed a narrow victory in the opening round of the 2015 World Endurance Championship at Silverstone with Benoit Treluyer, Marcel Fassler and Andre Lotterer

Silverstone WEC: Audi holds out Porsche to win season opener

The #7 Audi R18 e-tron quattro triumphed by just 4.6 seconds from the best of the Porsche 919 Hybrids driven by Romain Dumas, Marc Lieb and Neel Jani, after making two pitstops in the final 15 minutes of the six-hour race.

The Audi, with Fassler at the wheel, looked certain of victory entering the closing stages, even in the knowledge that the Swiss driver would have to make a splash-and-dash fuel stop.

He was then awarded a stop-go penalty for overtaking a GTE Aston Martin beyond the track limits out of Club Corner.

A lead of 1m12s was reduced to 37s after making his splash and then just nine seconds after serving the penalty the following lap.

The chasing Jani was able to chip away at the margin, but Fassler had enough in the tank to hold on and score Audi's first WEC victory since Austin last September.

Audi had the fastest car in race conditions at Silverstone, even though Porsche held sway at the front of the field for the first half of the race.

Dumas, Lieb and Jani were were able to exploit their superior acceleration and straightline speed to hang onto the lead until Lotterer managed to nip past Dumas in hour four.

The Frenchman went wide and got on the kerbs and Lotterer was able to build enough of a gap to prevent the Porsche repassing on the Wellington Straight.

Lotterer said: "It was important to get ahead of the Porsche so we could use the potential of the car; we were quicker in the corners so it was vital that we had a clean run."

Audi gained a grip on the race because the R18 could double stint its tyres, whereas Porsche opted against it, dropping the the #18 car to third, behind the best of the Toyota TS040 HYBRIDs driven by Sebastien Buemi, Anthony Davidson and Kazuki Nakajima.

Porsche elected to save fuel to do away with the late-race stop, which was enough to leapfrog Jani ahead of Buemi into second.

Mark Webber, driving the #17 Porsche he shared with Timo Bernhard and Brendon Hartley, held a lead of just under 10s in the second hour when it made an unscheduled pitstop with a gearbox issue.

It was wheeled into its garage for attention and eventually retired without returning to the track.

G-DRIVE TAKES LMP2 1-2, FERRARI WINS GTE

The G-Drive Racing team dominated LMP2 on the way to a one-two victory with its pair of Ligier-Nissan JSP2s

Sam Bird, Roman Rusinov and Julien Canal had the edge over the sister car driven by Luis Felipe 'Pipo' Derani, Gustavo Yacaman and Ricardo Gonzalez and was more than a lap ahead at the chequered flag.

Gianmaria Bruni and Toni Vilander started the defence of their GTE Pro title with victory for the factory AF Corse Ferrari team.

Bruni dropped to the back of the field at the start, but two early stops under during safety car periods allowed the Italian and his Finnish team-mate to get back on terms and ultimately win the race.

Michael Christensen and Richard Lietz were only 10s behind aboard their factory Porsche 911 RSR at the finish.

GTE Am honours went to the Aston Martin Vantage GTE shared by Pedro Lamy, Mathias Lauda and Paul Dalla Lana, which triumphed by 13s over the AF Ferrari shared by Emmanuel Collard, Rui Aguas and Francois Perrodo.

RESULTS:

Pos Class Driver Team Car Laps Gap
1 LMP1 M.Fassler, A.Lotterer, B.Treluyer Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 201 6h00m30.876s
2 LMP1 R.Dumas, N.Jani, M.Lieb Porsche Team Porsche 201 4.610s
3 LMP1 A.Davidson, S.Buemi, K.Nakajima Toyota Racing Toyota 201 14.816s
4 LMP1 A.Wurz, S.Sarrazin, M.Conway Toyota Racing Toyota 200 1 Lap
5 LMP1 L.di Grassi, L.Duval, O.Jarvis Audi Sport Team Joest Audi 197 4 Laps
6 LMP2 R.Rusinov, J.Canal, S.Bird G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 185 16 Laps
7 LMP2 G.Yacaman, P.Derani, R.Gonzalez G-Drive Racing Ligier/Nissan 184 17 Laps
8 LMP2 N.Leventis, D.Watts, J.Kane Strakka Racing Dome/Nissan 178 23 Laps
9 GTE Pro G.Bruni, T.Vilander AF Corse Ferrari 172 29 Laps
10 GTE Pro R.Lietz, M.Christensen Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 172 29 Laps
11 GTE Pro D.Rigon, J.Calado AF Corse Ferrari 172 29 Laps
12 GTE Pro C.Nygaard, M.Sorensen, N.Thiim Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 171 30 Laps
13 GTE Pro D.Turner, S.Mucke Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 171 30 Laps
14 GTE Pro A.MacDowall, F.Rees, R.Stanaway Aston Martin Racing V8 Aston Martin 171 30 Laps
15 GTE Pro P.Pilet, F.Makowiecki Porsche Team Manthey Porsche 170 31 Laps
16 GTE Am P.D.Lana, P.Lamy, M.Lauda Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 168 33 Laps
17 GTE Am F.Perrodo, E.Collard, R.Aguas AF Corse Ferrari 168 33 Laps
18 GTE Am V.Shaytar, A.Bertolini, A.Basov SMP Racing Ferrari 168 33 Laps
19 LMP2 M.Howson, R.Bradley, N.Tandy KCMG ORECA/Nissan 167 34 Laps
20 GTE Am F.Castellacci, R.Goethe, S.Hall Aston Martin Racing Aston Martin 166 35 Laps
21 GTE Am C.Ried, K.Al Qubaisi, K.Bachler Abu Dhabi-Proton Racing Porsche 166 35 Laps
22 LMP2 J.Nicolet, J-M.Merlin, E.Maris Oak Racing Ligier/Nissan 165 36 Laps
23 GTE Am P.Dempsey, P.Long, M.Seefried Dempsey-Proton Racing Porsche 165 36 Laps
24 LMP2 E.Brown, J.Fogarty, D.Brabham Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD 165 36 Laps
25 GTE Am G.Roda, P.Ruberti, K.Poulsen Larbre Competition Chevrolet 160 41 Laps
- LMP2 S.Sharp, R.Dalziel, D.H.Hansson Extreme Speed Motorsports HPD 183 Disqualified
- LMP1 S.Trummer, V.Liuzzi, C.Klien Team ByKolles CLM/AER 116 Retirement
- LMP1 T.Bernhard, M.Webber, B.Hartley Porsche Team Porsche 44 Retirement
- LMP2 N.Panciatici, P-L.Chatin, V.Capillaire Signatech Alpine Alpine/Nissan 20 Retirement


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