Friday, June 13, 2014

Le Mans 24 Hours: Audi drivers and officials quotes after qualifying

Audi Press Release

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “For us, it was important to put the three cars on the grid prepared as best we could despite the serious accident on Wednesday. Although there was another minor accident with our car No. 1 on Thursday, we managed to do this well. Afterwards, we fully concentrated on the optimal race set-up and have now created a good starting base for all three teams.”

Chris Reinke (Head of LMP): “This was an intensive day for the whole squad. Not only because we put in a night shift after the accident yesterday but also because we were obviously concerned about Loïc’s (Duval) condition. Now we’re all relieved that he’s well and has left the hospital. We completed our program for qualifying with concentration and clearly placed the main focus on preparing for the race. All drivers are feeling comfortable in the car – that makes me optimistic that we’re going to deliver a solid and hopefully successful performance.”

Ralf Jüttner (Team Director Audi Sport Team Joest): “The positive part first: We had three cars in qualifying, the No. 1 that was prepared from scratch again overnight and the other completely rebuilt ones. Initially, No. 1 had some problems with a sensor and then another, this time fortunately, minor accident. We let Marc Gené drive the largest number of laps in the car. I’m particularly pleased with the way our No. 3 fared. But No. 2 was doing well on track too although we’ve got to say that due to the many interruptions and danger zones there was no way to regularly check off all the items on our list. But in total, all our drivers are happy with their cars.”

Filipe Albuquerque (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #3): “I’m pleased with our qualifying session. Although we weren’t in contention for the pole position we’re not so far away with our time. The most important part is that we drove many laps – also at night – and have prepared our car well for the race.”

Marco Bonanomi (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #3): “A qualifying session with two different sides of the coin. On one side of the coin, our car was the fastest Audi and on the other I’m not completely happy with my own times. On two fast laps, I got stuck in traffic shortly before the end. That cost me half a second each time. Aside from that, I’m optimistic for the race. Our R18 is fast and so are we, especially Filipe (Albuquerque) put some great lap times on track at night.”

Oliver Jarvis (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #3): “We knew that qualifying would be a tough battle. Our focus was placed on preparing for the race as best we could. I think we managed to do that well. That’s why I’m very much looking forward to the race.”

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “We weren’t focused on the fastest lap. Qualifying was secondary for us. We just worked on the set-up of the car. At the end of the session, we wanted to drive a qualifying run. Unfortunately, there was a yellow period – that was a shame and not necessary either in my view.”

André Lotterer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “On the one hand, it was a good qualifying session and on the other a frustrating one. We managed to properly set up the car and to sort the tires. But in the end, the spectators were deprived of a spectacle because there was this long ‘slow zone’ through to the end of the session although there was nothing happening there anymore. As a result, I was able to drive good times only in the first two sectors.”

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #2): “Qualifying was difficult but we did a good job in setting up the car for the race. It was a bit disappointing that qualifying at the end was used to test ‘slow zones.’ The track was clean, so I don’t know why this test had to be so extensive. But now only the race counts. We’re ready for it and are going to play our hand.”

Marc Gené (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “The most important thing today was that we confirmed the excellent work of the mechanics with our laps. They put in a night shift to prepare a new car for us that was immediately running well. After car #1 did almost no laps on Wednesday, Tom (Kristensen), Lucas (di Grassi) and I concentrated on completing our mandatory laps. The main thing was to drive many kilometers and the thought of qualifying was just secondary. We’re prepared for the race.”

Lucas di Grassi (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “After Loïc’s massive accident on Wednesday, qualifying on Thursday for us was more like a roll-out with the new car. We had a few issues that we completely resolved. Especially in qualifying three we were able to drive many laps – the car is ready for the race.”

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 e-tron quattro #1): “The past two days were a tough experience. Our mechanics did a fantastic job overnight. That’s why we were able to use the last session after there’d previously been problems with a sensor. For us, the qualifying session was a roll-out in a way. All three drivers are happy with the car. It wasn’t about the grid position but about preparing the car for the race. I’m looking towards the race with a positive feeling.”

Photo credit: Audi Media