audi loses silverstone pole position plans to appeal fia decision – DOC673045
The first race of the 2016 FIA WEC season kicked off this weekend with 6 Hours of Silverstone. Two free practice sessions were held on Friday, April 15th, and qualifying took place on April 16th. At first, it looked like Audi was starting the 2016 season out very well, despite some questionable track conditions during the qualifying rounds. The No. 7 car, driven by Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer, and Benoit Treluyer, posted the fastest qualifying time with 1m 53.204s. The No. 7 car, driven by Di Grassi, Duval, and Jarvis came in at a close second, posting a time of 1m 53.308s.
After posting the best qualifying times in the pack, both Audi R18s were more than prepared for Sunday’s race. The No. 8 car, however, was only able to complete 69 laps – earning it a position at the bottom of the list. The No. 7 car came out on top, completing 194 laps in 6:01’06.963 and securing Team Joest’s first win of the season – or so everyone thought. If you look at the results of the race here, you’ll see that the No. 7 car is actually in the very bottom spot. So, what happened?
As it turns out, the results of the season opener remain provisional at this time, but for good reason. The Technical Delegate inspected the No. 7 car and found that the thickness of the front skid block doesn’t comply with current standards – according to article 3.5.6 a3 of the LMP1 Technical Regulations manual. As such, the No. 7 car, who was initially in first place, has been excluded. Team Joest has appealed the decision, so if the appeal is approved, the No. 7 car will find itself at the top again, but I wouldn’t hold my breath. If the appeal is denied, the first win of the season will go to Romain Dumas, Neel Jani, and Mark Lieb, who drove a Porsche 919 Hybrid and completed 194 laps in 6:01’53.028.
Why it matters
This is a pretty big deal for Team Joest. You come out of the gates in the first event of the season, finish first in qualifying, then go on to take first overall in the official event. Mid-celebration, you find out that your car failed to meet a certain standard. That’s got to hurt. The question now is: what really happened? Did the Audi R18 have an advantage over all of the others, or has a mistake been made by the Technical Delegate? It’s really anybody’s guess at this point, but stay tuned. We’ll update you as soon as we hear the result of Team Joest’s appeal on the exclusion of the No. 7 car.