01. October 2012
One-two success in the desert of Sakhir: Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer in the Audi R18 e-tron quattro won the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) in Bahrain. The trio won the race staged in hot weather conditions in their Audi R18 e-tron quattro ahead of the sister car. For Audi, this marked as many as five victories from six events.
It was the toughest 6-hour race of the year so far. At the beginning of the race, air temperatures were at 34 degrees with a track temperature of 45. The five drivers, the two hybrid race cars and Audi Sport Team Joest were exposed to extreme strains and showed flawless performances. The race that was started at 16:00 local time was predominantly held in the dark. In the end, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer enjoyed an advantage of one lap. The three Le Mans winners had started from position two and celebrated their third victory of the season after Le Mans and Silverstone.
The second Audi R18 e-tron quattro had every chance of clinching victory as well. Allan McNish defended the lead in the early phase after having started from the pole position. Soon, a battle with Toyota ensued. The Japanese team led the race until stopping for a repair and ultimately retired after a collision. Tom Kristensen/Allan McNish were not spared from minor setbacks either. On lap 25, a defective headlight forced the number "2" Audi to make its first unscheduled stop. In a subsequent duel, the valve of the left rear tire was damaged. This required another unscheduled stop on lap 89. Finally, the recurrence of lighting problems made it necessary to change the hood two more times on laps 115 and 117.
Audi’s hybrid technology on the other hand proved extremely viable in the rough ambient conditions on taking its third victory. For the first time since Le Mans, Audi fielded two R18 e-tron quattro cars in order to afford its two driver squads optimal equality of opportunity in the battle for the title. Whereas the gap between the two teams was only 7.5 points before the race in Bahrain it has now increased to 13.5. However, in the two remaining races in Japan and China, 52 points will still be awarded, so the battle for the title in the drivers’ championship remains open. Only two weeks from now, the WEC will make its Japan debut with the seventh round of the season at Fuji on October 14.
Dieter Gass (Head of Racing Commitments): "Obviously, we’re very pleased with the success in Bahrain. These were extremely hard six hours for us with a lot things happening over the whole race distance. Fortunately, we were able to bring both cars to the finish without any major problems. That way, we managed to score an excellent one-two win."