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May 06, 2014 - 03:30 PM
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An Important Ardennes Assessment
Posted by: newsla on May 06, 2014 - 03:27 PM
Le Mans News
An Important Ardennes Assessment


Benoît Tréluyer, Marcel Fässler and André Lotterer made up for lost time in last weekend’s 6 Hours of Spa-Francorchamps (May 2/3). Despite not finishing on the podium, the Audi Sport trio left the Ardennes circuit satisfied that they have taken a significant step forward in understanding their new R18 e-tron quattro, giving them fresh impetus ahead of next month’s Le Mans 24 Hours.

 

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And while Tréluyer and his team-mates may have appeared somewhat disappointed with their eventual fifth-place finish, they were nevertheless satisfied by the progress made during the Belgian weekend.

“Overall the drivers, engineers and mechanics have done a good job,” reported the Frenchman after Saturday’s race. “The latter in particular have been simply extraordinary, not least in repairing a receiver's electrical connection during one of our pit-stops without losing much time. Strategy-wise we can be very satisfied, though we still have some minor issues that are masking our true pace.

“It’s unlikely we’ll completely avoid technical niggles, and given the incredible complexity of these cars one problem tends to cause another. We’ve learnt an awful lot this weekend and that’s the most important thing. Though we aren’t yet where we want to be we’re definitely getting there.”

After a good qualifying session, which saw Marcel and André place their #2 car third on the grid, the Audi Sport squad was confident ahead of Saturday’s race. However the initial stages would prove to be tough going.

“The team had to work on the car when André handed over to me,” explained Benoît. “Following some issues with fuel management we decided to carry out repairs in order to avoid a penalty, as this was costing us precious time.

“They also altered our hybrid system’s settings in order to extract more performance,” added Benoît . “During my second stint I felt increasingly comfortable and was driving much better. For my third I remained on the same rubber and was making good progress. Then I experienced a loss of pressure in one tyre and had to pit, with Marcel taking over. On fresh tyres his last two stints went smoothly and he drove very well.”

Ultimately Spa was very valuable for Audi Sport ahead of Le Mans. During the upcoming test day (June 1) Benoît and his team-mates will be able to quietly prepare for the season’s showpiece event. Their target is clear: to re-launch their world championship bid with a third victory at the La Sarthe circuit.

Round three of the FIA World Endurance Championship – the Le Mans 24 Hours – takes place on June 11-15. It will be broadcast live on Eurosport and the official FIA WEC website.

Le Mans 24 Hours schedule:

Wednesday 11 June
Free Practice: 16:00
Qualifying 1: 22:00

Thursday 12 June
Qualifying 2: 19:00
Qualifying 3: 22:00

Saturday 14 June
Race: 15:00


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