Audi has taken first blood in the battle of the manufacturers in top level sports car racing, by securing pole position for the Silverstone Six Hours – the opening round of the 2016 World Endurance Championship.
The success for the new Audi R18 hybrid LMP1 race car brings to an end a two-year lockout of the top grid spot in WEC races by rival Porsche, winner in 2015 of the blue riband world sports car race the Le Mans 24hrs.
In a qualifying session at Silverstone significantly delayed by now and then rain, Audi’s no 7 car crewed by Andre Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Bernard Treluyer secured pole position for the race, a tenth quicker than the sister Audi of Loic Duval, Lucas Di Grassi and Oliver Jarvis.
The two Porsche 919 hybrid cars were third and fourth, 0.9 of a second down on pole and were chased by the third member of sports car racing’s top triumvirate, Toyota, the best time set by the Japanese manufacturer’s two entries five seconds down on the lead Audi.
The Silverstone race also marks the UK international debut of Ford’s new team of GTs, a pair of cars entered by US team Chip Ganassi Racing in the GTE classes. But in qualifying they were beaten by challengers from Ferrari and Porsche.