Audi have appealed the decision to exclude the race-winning No 7 R18 e-tron Quattro from the World Endurance Championship curtain-raiser at Silverstone that handed Porsche an unexpected victory.
Audi Sport Team Joest celebrated a dramatic victory when Andre Lotterer, Benoit Treluyer and Marcel Fassler took the chequered flag to win a fourth Silverstone Six Hours in five years, only to be excluded from the result shortly after the race due to the front skid block thickness failing to meet with the LMP1 Technical Regulations.
As a result, race classification will remain provisional until a sport tribunal hears Audi’s appeal, with the No 2 Porsche 919 Hybrid of Romain Dumas, Neel Jani and Marc Lieb inheriting first place. The No 6 Toyota Gazoo Racing of Mike Conway, Kamui Kobayashi and Stephane Sarrazin is elevated to second, with Rebellion Racing’s No 13 of Alexandre Imperatori, Dominik Kraihamer and Matteo Tuscher taking the privateer team’s maiden WEC podium.
For much of the first half, Porsche looked like they were on course for victory in the form of the 2015 championship trio of Mark Webber, Brendon Hartley and Timo Bernhard. Webber managed to make his way past the No 8 Audi of Oliver Jarvis shortly after the start before passing Lotterer on lap 17 for the lead, and went about building a considerable lead by the time the Australian handed the car over to Hartley.
The New Zealander extended the lead to over 40 seconds, but an ill-advised overtake on the lapped GTE Am No 86 Gulf Racing Porsche of Michael Wainwright on the exit of Farm saw Hartley launch over the front of the 911 and slide along the track before coming to rest alongside the tyre barrier at Village.
Almost simultaneously, the No 8 Audi now in the hands of Lucas Di Grassi ground to a halt entering The Loop with a hybrid failure, and was forced to retire on the same lap as their Porsche rival.
The remaining Audi and Prosche battled it out to the finish with the Toyotas some way off the pace, with the Audi finishing 47 seconds ahead of the Porsche after Jani was forced to make an unscheduled stop with a puncture. The No 5 Toyota of Anthony Davidson, Sébastien Buemi and Kazuki Nakajima was taken out of contention after the Japanese driver suffered a tyre blowout at the start of lap, forcing him to drive a full circuit with a delaminating tyre ripping apart the bodywork and causing considerable damage that took nearly 45 minutes to repair.
In LMP2, the No 43 RGR Sport by Morand Ligier/Nissan of Ricardo Gonzalez, Filipe Albuquerque and Bruno Senna took the spoils after a fierce battle with the No 31 Extreme Speed Motorsports Ligier/Nissan of Ryan Dalziel, Luis Felipe Derani and Christopher Cumming and the No 26 G-Drive Racing Oreca/Nissan of Roman Rusinov, Nathanael Berthon and Rene Rast where all three finished on the same lap.
Ferrari celebrated victory in both GTE Pro and GTE Am as they blitzed away their opponents. Sam Bird and Davide Rigon took the spoils in GTE Pro to lead home an AF Corse one-two, with team-mates Gianmaria Bruni and James Calado battling back from a three-minute engine change penalty to take second ahead of the No 95 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 of Nicki Thiim, Marco Sorensen and Darren Turner.
In GTE Am, the No 83 AF Corse Ferrari of Francois Perrodo, Emmanuel Collard and Rui Aguas finished a lap ahead of the No 98 Aston Martin Racing Vantage V8 of Paul Dalla Lana, Pedro Lamy and Mathias Lauda, with the Labre Competition Racing Chevrolet Corvette of Yutaka Yamagishi, Pierre Ragues and Paolo Ruberti completing the podium.
The next race takes place at Spa-Franchorchamps in Belgium on 5-7 May.
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