AUDI TRIUMPH AT FIA WEC SILVERSTONE OPENER


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Tom Kristensen, Loic Duval & Allan McNish celebrate their Tourist Trophy win at Silverstone. Photo: www.jakobebrey.com

Donna Kelly reports from the FIA World Endurance meeting, which the BRSCC ran at Silverstone last weekend…..


Qualifying
Silverstone played host to the opening round of the FIA World Endurance Championship last weekend with the weather and a timing software glitch causing confusion out on track for Saturday’s qualifying session.

A new qualifying procedure for 2013 which takes an average time of four laps from two different drivers per car resulted in confusion when the times were not being properly recorded on the screens during the 20-minute LMP/GTE sessions.

An hour later, it was confirmed that Toyota Racing would lock out the front row for Sunday’s race with Alex Wurz and Nicolas Lapierre securing pole in the LMP1 class, +1.974 seconds ahead of teammates Anthony Davidson and Sebastien Buemi in the No. 8 Toyota TS030 Hybrid. The No. 2 Audi Sport Team Joest headed the second row.

In the LMP2 class, Antonio Pizzonia and James Walker topped the timesheets with an average of 1:53.810 to put the Delta-ADR Silverstone based team on pole, ahead of the No.24 Oak Racing Morgan-Nissan.

Aston Martin Racing dominated the GTE Pro and GTE Am classes, claiming pole position in both categories for Sunday’s race. Darren Turner and Stefan Mucke set an average time of 2:00:566 in GTE Pro, two tenths of a second ahead of Pedro Lamy and Fred Makowiecki in the No. 99 Aston Martin Vantage V8.

6 Hours of Silverstone
On Sunday, Toyota’s dominance was short-lived as the No. 2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Allan McNish took the lead from third on the grid within the first ten minutes of the race. Alex Wurz seemed to encounter problems in the No. 7 Toyota with smoke appearing from the back of his Toyota TS030 as he entered Vale, however the Austrian was able to keep going and maintain the gap to the front runners.

During the second hour, the No. 21 Strakka Racing HPD-Honda of Nick Leventis spun across the track at Village (T3), hitting the No. 61 Ferrari 458 Italia of Jack Gerber and forcing Leventis to retire.

A sharp rain shower during the third hour shook up the field as LMP2 leader John Martin spun his No. 26 G Drive Racing Oreca Nissan across the track on the exit of the final corner, hitting the pitwall. Full course yellow was declared but was withdrawn a short time later.

Audi continued to dominate the race in the fifth hour, a lap ahead of the two Toyota’s of Anthony Davidson (No. 8) and Alex Wurz (No. 7). In LMP2, Alex Brundle (No. 24) had trouble in the pits when a faulty starter motor left the British driver stranded in the pitlane, dropping down the order from third position as his mechanics worked to fix the fault.

With just 0.54 seconds separating the two Audi’s, it was a nail biting finish as Allan McNish swept past the No. 1 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Benoit Treluyer in the final five minutes to take the win and add the names of Audi, McNish, Duval and Kristensen to the 108 year Tourist Trophy roll of honour.

LMP2 victory went to No. 25 Delta-ADR of Antonio Pizzonia ahead of the No. 24 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan. In the Pro class, Darren Turner, Bruno Senna and Stefan Mücke drove a flawless race in their No.97 Vantage V8, leading from start to finish. In LMGTE, Alan Simonsen, Christian Nygaard and Kristian Poulsen also impressed, finishing a full three laps ahead of the No.50 Larbre Competition of Patrick Bornhauser, Julien Canal and Fernando Rees.

European Le Mans Series
Qualifying

Oliver Turvey (No. 38) pulled out a flying lap in the European Le Mans Series LMP2 qualifying session with a time of 1:48:032 to take pole position ahead of Murphy Prototypes’ Brendon Hartley (No. 18). Nelson Panciatici (No. 36) took third position in the LMP2 category, whilst Paul Loup Chatin (No. 49) set the fastest time in LMPC with a 1:54:102.

The RAM Racing Ferrari 458 Italia of Johnny Mowlem was on pole in the LMGTE category with a time of 2:02:358, ahead of Proton Competition’s Nick Tandy (No. 77) and Prospeed Competition’s François Perrodo (No. 75) in second and third respectively. Kuba Giermaziak (65) set the fastest time in GTC for Team MOMO-Megatron-DF1 with a time of 2:03:484.

3 Hours of Silverstone
Treacherous wet weather conditions forced an early end to the opening round of the 2013 European Le Mans Series. Action started on the formation lap with Greaves Motorsport’s Chris Dyson clipping the wall in his Zytek Z11SN Nissan. The Formula Le Mans Oreca 09 of Team Endurance Challenge’s Alex Loan (No. 47) also spun into the pit wall forcing a safety car out after the first lap.

As the green flag went out, Nelson Panciatici (No. 36) got off to a great start to take the lead as rain clouds started to gather over the iconic Silverstone track, but it wasn’t long before all of the leaders suffered a setback as the conditions worsened and drivers fought hard to keep their cars on the track.

Murphy Prototype’s Brendon Hartley (No. 18) showed impressive pace,taking the lead from Frank Mailleux in lap 10 before a mistake at Stowe corner caused him to lose the back end of hisOreca 03 Nissan, putting the car into the gravel. Frank Mailleux (No. 43) inherited the lead before aquaplaning off the track, hitting the tyre wall heavily at Chapel (T14).

As the race progressed, the weather worsened forcing a Safety Car period of almost 50 minutes before a red flag was called with 39 minutes remaining on the clock. The all British Jota Sport team of Simon Dolan and Oliver Turvey (No. 38) took the LMP1 win ahead of the Race Performance Oreca Judd (No. 34) of Michel Frey and Patric Niederhauser. Pierre Thiriet and Jonathan Hirschifinished third for Thiriet by TDS Racing (No. 1).

The LMPC category was won by Soheil Ayari and Anthony Pons of Team Endurance Challenge (No. 48) whilst first place in the LMGTE class went to the No.77 Proton Competition Porsche 911 GT3 RSR of Nicholas Tandy, Gianluca Roda and Christian Ried.

In GTC, Ollie Millroy, Andrew Smith and Alasdair McCaig finished almost a lap ahead in their No.79 Ecurie Ecosse BMW Z4 to take the win over the No.62 AF Corse Ferrari of Andrea Rizzoli, Stefano Gai and Lorenzo Casé.

FIA Formula 3 European Championship

Race 1
It was an all British front row of the grid for race 1 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, with Harry Tincknell in pole position, followed by Alex Lynn and Felix Roseqevist in second and third respectively. In a busy first lap, Double R Racing’s Antonio Giovinazzi had a spin whilst Sean Galeal made contact with another car going into Abbey, losing his front wing and then receiving a drive-through penalty for speeding in the pit lane.

In the mid-field there were plenty of inter team battles with the Fortec Motorsports cars of Luis Felipe Derani (12) and Felix Serralles (11) side by side and Prema Powerteam team mates Raffaele Marciello (1) and Lucas Auer (24) fighting it out with ThreeBond with T-Sport’s William Buller (14) for fifth position. It was a disappointing race however for Fortec Motorsport’s Josh Hill when a battle with Sven Muller (7) resulted in contact, forcing Hill into retirement on lap 13 with a damaged underfloor.

Out in front, a great battle between Harry Tincknell (3) and Alex Lynn (2) provided some great spectator entertainment, with just 0.601 seconds between them at one point. In the final lap, Harry Tincknell kept his nerve to take the chequered flag over fellow Brit Alex Lynn in second, with Felix Roseqevist completing the podium line-up. Lucas Auer put in an impressive performance to finish fourth from sixth on the grid, whilst racing newbie Nicholas Latifi also impressed, finishing in fifth position despite his racing inexperience.

Race 2
Harry Tincknell was back on pole for race 2 of the FIA Formula 3 European Championship, followed by Felix Rosenqvist in second and Raffaele Marciello in third. A chaotic start saw Harry Tincknell drop back to third, whilst contact on start and finish line forced the Safety Car to be deployed and Antonio Giovinazzi, Felix Serralles and Jann Mardenboroughinto early retirement.

At the restart, Harry Tincknell took an early lead over Felix Rosenqvist whilst contact between Nicholas Latifi and Sven Muller resulted in early retirement for both drivers. As rain started to fall, Felix Rosenqvist charged forward to overtake both William Buller and Harry Tincknell to claim the lead. After a spin off in Village, Alex Lynn also showed good form as he charged through the field to climb back up the order after dropping back to 20th position to finish in 6th place overall.

A spirited performance from Felix Rosenqvist helped secure his first win of the season, with Raffaele Marciello taking second place, extending his points lead over Harry Tincknell to 20.5 points. Lucas Auer secured the final place on the podium.

Race 3
The sun was back out at Silverstone for the final FIA F3 Championship race with the Prema Powerteam of Alex Lynn and Raffaele Marciello locking out the front row, ahead of kfzteile24 Mucke Motorsport’s Felix Rosenqvist. A flying start from Rosenqvist saw him take the lead over Lynn into Abbey (T1), whilst further back, the No. 7 ma-con of Sven Miller spun out onto the grass, forcing the Safety Car out after the first lap.

Racing got back underway on lap 5 with Rosenqvist getting off to a good start. The wet tyres of Lucas Wolf offered more grip out on track allowing him to overtake Will Buller but as the race continued, Wolf’s tyres started to get overworked and he eventually dropped down the field to finish in 17th position.

At the front, an excellent battle between Raffaele Marciello and Felix Rosenqvist got underway with the Italian starting to close the gap on his Swedish rival, finally taking the lead on lap 15. At the chequered flag, it was Raffaele Marciello who took the win ahead of Felix Rosenqvist in second and Alex Lynn in third. Marciello now leads the championship by 36.5 points over Rosenqvist, with Tincknell in third place in the overall standings.