Spa-Francorchamps 1000-kilometer race, May 7 2011

Peugeot Blows Past Audis for Spa Win

Audi leads 1-2-3 at the start of the Spa 1000k beore giving way to Peugeot

Audi Sport Team Joest experienced a roller-coaster ride of emotions on the new Audi R18 TDI’s race debut atSpa-Francorchamps (Belgium): After a perfect qualifying session and a great showing in the early phases of the race the three Audi R18 TDI cars occupied positions three, four and five.

At the beginning of the race the 34,600 spectators saw a strong performance of the new LMP1 sports car of AUDI AG. André Lotterer took the lead at the start and defended it almost up to his first pit stop. Timo Bernhard, who had started from pole, and Allan McNish (despite a spin on the first lap) were part of the action at the front of the field during the first hour as well and fought some thrilling duels with their rivals in heavy traffic.

However, a number of minor incidents, which in total had major effects, caused all three Audi R18 TDI cars to lose ground. André Lotterer, who had a clear lead in the early phase, had to be pushed backward at his first pit stop and lost valuable time in the process. His team-mate Benoît Tréluyer had to make an unscheduled stop after picking up an unsually large piece of rubber on his front left-hand tire. Shortly afterward the same phenomenon occurred again, causing the Frenchman to slide into the gravel trap and losing two laps. Marcel Fässler subsequently complained about a car that was too demanding to drive - he, too, was struggling with pick-up. In the end, the Audi R18 TDI designated as car number "2" finished fifth.

Timo Bernhard, who had started from pole position, suffered misfortune as well. In the battle for the top the rear of his car was touched by another vehicle in the fast "Blanchimont" sector. The rear hood and the diffuser were damaged in the incident. Romain Dumas and Mike Rockenfeller were subsequently struggling with handling differences in left- and right-hand turns. Like the other two Audi R18 TDI vehicles car number "1" had to make a brief refueling stop shortly before the finish. With a two-lap gap Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller came fourth.

The first podium result for the new Audi R18 TDI was clinched by Dindo Capello, Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish, who ,like last year, took third place at the Le Mans "dress rehearsal" at Spa. But the cockpit crew of car number "3" was also beaten below its potential. While a spin by Allan McNish on the starting lap had no consequences as the Scotsman quickly made up ground to the front of the field from 16th place, Dindo Capello on his stint accidentally activated the speed limiter for the pit lane and thus lost 20 seconds. After correcting the inflation pressure of the front tires Tom Kristensen was on the advance in the final phase: The Le Mans record winner was already setting his sights on the second-placed Peugeot when one hour before race end the left rear tire was suddenly losing air, which forced him to make an unscheduled pit stop. With a one-lap gap Capello/Kristensen/McNish ultimately finished in third place.



Quotes after the race

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "Naturally, the result of the race at Spa is disappointing for us because the Audi R18 TDI was clearly beaten below its potential on its debut. We were on a par with Peugeot in terms of pure speed but there were simply too may small things that went wrong - and unfortunately with all three cars. That was certainly frustrating. We’ll take hom the positive finding of having a fast car that we’ll have to make better use of though. We’ve learned a lot today in racing conditions. Now we’ve got to put these findings into action before Le Mans."

Dindo Capello (Audi R18 TDI #3): "It was a difficult race for me. On my first stint I was really struggling with the car. The front didn’t have any bite at all. I had the feeling that there was way too little downforce or a lot of pick-up on the front tires. It was strange that the car was suddenly feeling normal again toward the end of my second stint. That was a bit confusing."

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 TDI #3): "That was an action-packed weekend. We had a few problems in the race at first. But the car kept getting better after we adjusted the tire pressure. I was on the advance when I started suffering a slow puncture. Unfortunately, I had to drive a whole lap with this handicap but managed to bring the car to the pits safely. That wasn’t easy but (our engineer) Howden (Haynes) did a fantastic job and kept telling me the pressure levels over the radio. Still, the slow puncture destroyed our race because toward the end we had to make an additional pit stop to refuel. That I was ‘kissed’ by a GT vehicle just about at the same time I had the flat tire almost made no difference any more."

Allan McNish (Audi R18 TDI #3): "A podium is always a good result, also with a view toward the championship. But to be honest: It’s a bit frustrating dropping to third place after starting from one, two and three on the grid due to minor problems. The Audi R18 TDI was competitive at its first race from the outset. It was a very close battle between us and Peugeot during some of the phases. Unfortunately, in the end it didn’t turn out in our favor."

Timo Bernhard (Audi R18 TDI #1): "That was a very tough race today. The positive thing about it is that we can take a lot of things with us with respect to Le Mans because it was a test in racing conditions. Our car was lacking a bit of racing luck today. That was a shame because in the beginning I was definitely in contention. I was running in second and third place the whole time, everything was right, actually. But then an LMP2 unfortunately touched the rear of my car, which damaged the rear hood. Things like this can happen in a field of 55 cars."

Romain Dumas (Audi R18 TDI #1): "That was a pretty crazy day. We were strong throughout the weekend. Qualifying was great and we were running really well for the first hour and a half of the race. We had a fantastic battle with our main rival. Unfortunately, we lost ground due a lot of small things which made the difference in the end. The race at Spa didn’t go well for us. Last year it was similar here - and instead Le Mans was all the better."

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R18 TDI #1): "We had pretty high expectations before the race. Timo (Bernhard) fought a great battle at the beginning. Up to the incident with the LMP things were looking really good. We changed the rear lid but decided against replacing the whole rear body part although the damage was more extensive. That made the car extremely difficult to drive for Romain (Dumas) and me. Actually, we were just rolling around. I still tried to save diesel fuel but that didn’t really work out either. The positive thing is that we’ve learned a lot. And we were competitive. If we eliminate the mistakes for Le Mans our prospects should be pretty good."

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 TDI #2): "My car had oversteer. The aerodynamic balance had shifted somehow. The second stint in particular was difficult. I had three hairy moments, one in Blanchimont and two in Eau Rouge. That forced me to realize that it didn’t make any sense to continue to attack. In the end, I reduced my pace. There was no danger from behind and there was nothing I could do to push forward. For me, it was simply important to bring the car home."

André Lotterer (Audi R18 TDI #2): "The start was great. I had a good lead. Things were beginning to get more difficult when the tires started becoming more slippery. That allowed the others to come closer again. The fight with the Peugeot was pretty nice. At the pit stop we lost some time because we had to push the car back. I was able to attack again afterward and make up some ground to the Peugeot. But ‘Ben’ subsequently suffered a huge amount of misfortune with some really strange things. Twice he had an enormous amount of pick-up on his tires. We’ve still got to get a handle on a large number of minor issues before Le Mans to be well set there."

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 TDI #2): "The car was really good before we started having the pick-up problem. I had to make an unscheduled pit stop and shortly afterward it happened again. The pick-up was probably due to the fact that we had to overtake the GT cars alongside the racing line. I really don’t know though. We’ll find out and come up with a solution. The good thing is that the car is fast. I was almost always able to close the gap to the Peugeots when things were going normal. Naturally, it would have been nice to win thin this race. But our goal is Le Mans - we’ve got to continue to concentrate on that."

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "We had higher expectations of this race but encountered a lot of strange problems: incidents of body contact, pick-up on the tires and things like that. Mechanically, the cars held up. Still, we collected a long list for Le Mans today which we’ve got to check off. That was a championship round that we would have liked to have won. The Peugeots were quick and had no unusual issues. We’ still got quite a few things to do."

Results

1 Gené/Wurz/Davidson (Peugeot) 161 laps in 6h 02m 03.799s
2 Montagny/Sarrazin/Minassian (Peugeot) + 42.965s
3 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 TDI) - 1 lap
4 Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller (Audi R18 TDI) - 2 laps
5 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 TDI) - 3 laps
6 Collard/Tinseau/Jousse (Pescarolo-Judd) - 5 laps
7 Jani/Prost (Lola-Toyota) - 5 laps
8 Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud (Peugeot) - 6 laps
9 Belicchi/Boullion (Lola-Toyota) - 6 laps
10 Lapierre/Duval/Panis (Peugeot) - 9 laps

Rope-a-Dope Stalls Peugeot, Boosts Audi

First race, first pole position: In qualifying for the 1000-kilometer race at Spa the new Audi R18 TDI has confirmed the strong impression it made two weeks ago during the test day at Le Mans. By clinching positions one, two and three Audi Sport Team Joest achieved a perfect qualifying result.

As early as in the three free practice sessions on Thursday and Friday the innovative LMP1 sports car, which turns Audi’s ultra lightweight technology into a visual experience, had been the dominant vehicle at the top of the time sheets. In qualifying Timo Bernhard in the black Audi R18 TDI designated as car number "1" then managed the fastest lap. Setting a time of 2m 01.502s he relegated his team-mates André Lotterer and Tom Kristensen to positions two and three by a narrow margin.

By starting from the pole position at its first race the Audi R18 TDI continues the tradition of the particularly successful predecessor models, R8 and R10 TDI, which had captured the top position on the grid on their debut as well (Frank Biela in 2000 at Sebring in the R8 and Allan McNish in 2006 in the R10 TDI). AUDI AG subsequently went down in Le Mans history with both sports prototypes.

The qualifying session at Spa-Francorchamps, however, did not provide a real clue about where the contenders stand. The session, which had originally been scheduled for 20 minutes, ended early after 14:06 minutes due to an accident which had severely damaged the guard rails. Not all of the top teams had completed their fast laps by that time. As the free practice sessions had already seen numerous incidents and red flags Audi Sport Team Joest sent its three Audi R18 TDI cars on the time chase right at the beginning of the qualifying session- a decision that proved to be strategically correct and earned Audi the top three grid positions.

The second round of the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) starts on Sunday at 14:05 hrs and lasts a maximum of six hours. Eurosport 2 will broadcast live from 14:00 hrs to 17:30 hrs (local time) from Spa-Francorchamps, Eurosport will cover the final phase from 17:30 hrs to 20:00 hrs.



Quotes after qualifying

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "This is a nice reward for the work done over the past few months and a great beginning for our new Audi R18 TDI. Unfortunately, we couldn’t see the level of our rivals’ potential because qualifying was stopped early due to an accident. The result provides good motivation to the squad. It’s not that important at a 1000-kilometer race but it’s a nice omen."

Timo Bernhard (Audi R18 TDI #1): "I’m incredibly happy about the result, particularly for the team. We did carry quite a big burden because every new car at Audi has immediately been successful. I think we’ve squeezed out the maximum today. That I had the good fortune of clinching the first pole position in the Audi R18 TDI fills me with pride."

Romain Dumas (Audi R18 TDI #1): "This was a great qualifying result: positions one, two and three for Audi! Naturally, I’m particularly happy that number ‘1’ is on pole. We’ve been showing a good performance throughout the weekend. At a six-hour race the position you start from is not so important. But it’s always better to be in front. The race will be very long. We’ve got to continue to work the way we have so far."

Mike Rockenfeller (Audi R18 TDI #1): "The timing in qualifying was perfect. Timo (Bernhard) nailed it down on the lap and also had that bit of necessary luck with traffic. We’re happy. But of course we all know that this was just qualifying. Tomorrow will be the day that counts. Still, it’s always nice to be on pole. And I believe we’ve got a good car."

Marcel Fässler (Audi R18 TDI #2): "I’m very pleased with the way things have been going the past two days. Actually, an Audi has always been at the top of the list. Coming out of qualifying with one, two, three is fantastic of course. I’m very happy, also for the team. We’ve got a competitive car. The grid positions confirm that. I’m excited about the race tomorrow."

André Lotterer (Audi R18 TDI #2): "A superb result for the entire squad: Audi one, two, three - perfect! We did a fantastic job, the car works very well. Personally, I’d have linked clinching pole myself. Unfortunately I hit traffic on both of my trials in the last turn. That’s why I’m afraid it didn’t work out. But the potential was there, and that’s the most important part about it. Tomorrow is an important day to prepare ourselves for Le Mans - and to hopefully win the race as well."

Benoît Tréluyer (Audi R18 TDI #2): "At the moment things are looking great for us. We’re on the top three grid positions and have a car that’s good to drive. The prospects for the race are good too."

Dindo Capello (Audi R18 TDI #3): "That was an outstanding qualifying session for us. It’s been a while that we’ve had three Audi cars at the very front - that’s a very good feeling. Tom (Kristensen) drove the smallest number of laps before qualifying. That certainly counts when you’re fighting for tenths. We’re all looking forward to the race. We feel comfortable in the car and are able to attack. But the race is long and we know that a lot can happen."

Tom Kristensen (Audi R18 TDI #3): "The practice sessions and qualifying were pretty unusual. Everyone first had to get used to 55 vehicles being on the track. The result was many red flags. Audi 1-2-3 is a wonderful result for everyone who is part of the team and for all Audi fans around the world. This morning I had only two timed laps. Qualifying went well nonetheless until I hit traffic in the last chicane after Blanchimont. That’s why I wasn’t able to improve any more. Then the red flag came. But we’ve got a car in which we’re looking forward to contesting a 6-hour race - I think I’m just as hot about driving the R18 TDI in a race for the first time as Allan (McNish), Dindo (Capello) and the other drivers."

Allan McNish (Audi R18 TDI #3): "1-2-3 on the grid is an excellent result and a first reward for all the hard work Audi has been putting into this project over the past few months - during all the tests but also this weekend. Of course the red flag mixed up the grid a bit. But these things can happen if you don’t go out on track early. The engineers have done a pretty good job with the set-up. We’ve got a well-balanced car now. And we’re going into the first race of the Audi R18 TDI with a 1-2-3 on the grid - I don’t think there’s a better place to start."

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "We still don’t know how the relative strengths of the field actually pan out. We’ve seen yet again that our strategy of always going out early is right. All three cars did good laps. It’s a great sight having all three cars in front: A superb team result and a good start for the Audi R18 TDI. I’d like to really thank the squad: The past few weeks have been rough. The result today is a small reward. I’m hoping for things to continue like this tomorrow."

Qualifying results

1 Bernhard/Dumas/Rockenfeller (Audi R18 TDI) 2m 01.502s
2 Fässler/Lotterer/Tréluyer (Audi R18 TDI) 2m 01.788s
3 Capello/Kristensen/McNish (Audi R18 TDI) 2m 02.145s
4 Lapierre/Duval/Panis (Peugeot) 2m 05.482s
5 Jani/Prost (Lola-Toyota) 2m 06.767s
6 Amaral/Pla (Zytek) 2m 07.290s
7 Collard/Tinseau/Jousse (Pescarolo-Judd) 2m 07.528s
8 Lahaye/Moreau/Ragues (Oak Pescarolo-Judd) 2m 07.729s
9 Cortes/Geri/Piccini (Zytek) 2m 08.821s
10 Leventis/Watts/Kane (HPD) 2m 10.016s

Beautiful Race Cars at a Beautiful Track

Le Mans prototypes, including the Audi R18 TDI, head towards Spa

Now the action will begin in earnest. After thousands of test kilometers including the recent test day at Le Mans, the new Audi R18 TDI is ready for its first race. At the 1000-kilometer race at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) on May 7, Audi Sport Team Joest will perform its "dress rehearsal" for the Le Mans 24 Hours.

The racing debut of a new race car is always a very special event and Audi Sport has good experiences in this regard. Since 2000 every new sports prototype of the brand with the four rings has won its first race. In 2000, 2006 and 2009 Sebring in Florida (USA) was the venue of the respective debut victories of the R8, R10 TDI and R15 TDI models. The updated R15 TDI, internally designated as "R15 plus," won its maiden race as well, at Le Castellet (France).

Now Spa-Francorchamps is the track to see the debut of the latest LMP1 sports car made by Audi which turns the company’s ultra-lightweight technology into a visual experience and which is equipped with a new type of ultra-compact V6 TDI engine. The circuit in the Belgian Ardennes region is seen as particularly demanding and therefore well suited as the "dress rehearsal" for the season’s pinnacle at Le Mans on June 11/12. Audi Sport Team Joest learned a lot at Spa-Francorchamps last year as a month later, Audi celebrated a one-two-three result with the R15 TDI and broke the 39-year distance record.

The squad led by Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich would again like to decide the "dress rehearsal" in its favor, given that the 1000-kilometer race at Spa-Francorchamps is also the second round of the newly incepted Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC).

At Spa-Francorchamps speed and reliability will not be the only crucial factors as a massive 60-car entry comprising of sports prototypes and GT vehicles have entered the race. Consequently, the 7.004-kilometer track will be extremely packed.

Practice in the Ardennes will start as early as on Thursday. Qualifying is scheduled for Friday afternoon. The 1000-kilometer race will start at 14:05 on Saturday and last a maximum of six hours.

Topics of the weekend

• Will the Audi R18 TDI be able to win right away on its debut?
• How will Audi fare in the first comparison with the competition?
• How fuel-efficient will the new V6 TDI engine of the Audi R18 TDI be?
• Will Audi manage the first victory in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup?
• What role will the often changeable weather in the Ardennes play?
• How many spectators will turn out for the Audi R18 TDI’s race debut?

Quotes by the officials

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "We want to mainly use the race at Spa-Francorchamps again to prepare for Le Mans. It’s important for the teams to develop a feeling of working together in a racing situation before going to Le Mans. We’ve already started to work on this at our 30-hour endurance run at Le Castellet and the test day at Le Mans. But Spa also gives us a first assessment of where we stand compared with the competition. For us the 1000-kilometer race is a very important preparatory race for the 2011 Le Mans 24 Hours."

Ralf Jüttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest): "The 1000-kilometer race at Spa is an ILMC round, which makes it very significant for us since we’re contesting the whole ILMC season. Spa is the second round after Sebring. We’re running behind in the championship and want to score as many points as possible. Our aim, very clearly, is to try and equalize Peugeot’s advantage or to take the lead ourselves. Naturally, for us Spa is also a ‘dress rehearsal’ for the Le Mans 24 Hours, so it serves a dual purpose."

Facts and quotes by the Audi drivers

Timo Bernhard (30/D), Audi R18 TDI #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)
• Clinched position two on the grid in last year’s qualifying at Spa
"I’m looking forward to the first race with the new Audi R18 TDI. I’ve got particularly fond memories of Spa from last year. We had good qualifying there in 2010 because I put the car on the front row of the grid. Although in the end we only finished fifth, the race helped us a lot to prepare for Le Mans. Achieving a great result this year would be a nice motivation for the whole team. In the end this race is intended to be our ‘dress rehearsal’ for Le Mans."

Romain Dumas (33/F), Audi R18 TDI #1
• Won at Le Mans in 2010 together with Timo Bernhard and Mike Rockenfeller
"It’ll be an important race for us for two reasons. We’ve got a lot of learning to do again. It’s important to be ready for Spa because obviously we want to win. But the race is also a major practice for Le Mans. Last year we learned a lot. Together with Timo (Bernhard) and Mike (Rockenfeller) I gained a great deal of self-confidence. We did a good job of working together and preparing at Spa - with respect to quick driver changes, for example. I’m hoping that we’ll have the same situation again this year."

Mike Rockenfeller (27/D), Audi R18 TDI #1
• Will race at the DTM season opener at Hockenheim one week before Spa
• Finished Spa in 2008 as the runner-up in the Audi R10 TDI
"I’m really looking forward to driving the Audi R18 TDI for the first time in racing conditions. We’re all very excited to see where we stand. We put a lot of work into the car during the winter. It’s great to see it on the track for the first time now. I’m happy that after Sebring, where we ran with the R15 TDI, we can now race the new car."

Marcel Fässler (34/CH), Audi R18 TDI #2
• Was the 2006 runner-up at Spa in a Courage
• Also knows the track from numerous runs in 24-hour races
"I’m looking forward to this first race in the Audi R18 TDI at Spa with eager anticipation. This track is a challenge, it’s like it was built for sports cars. It has really great sections with very fast turns such as Eau Rouge and Blanchimont. Generally speaking, Spa suits me very well. I’ve frequently won there and am always happy when I get the chance to drive there again."

André Lotterer (30/D), Audi R18 TDI #2
• Had an accident on the formation lap last year at Spa
"After so many tests and preparations with the new car you’re particularly eager to drive it at the first race. Spa’s a great track and not far from the place where I grew up. Last year I spun on the formation lap in difficult conditions. Unfortunately, the wall there was very close and that meant I destroyed our race. I’ve learned a lesson from that incident and am sure something like that won’t happen to me again. But we still managed to prepare well for Le Mans. A good preparation for Le Mans is again our goal this year."

Benoît Tréluyer (34/F), Audi R18 TDI #2
• Contested a race in Japan between the test day at Le Mans and the round at Spa
"For the first time we will drive a closed car in a race. That’s a very special thing. It’s always fun to begin the season with a new car. That’s why we’re just dying for the first race. New regulations have come into effect. We’re eager to see the performance of the vehicle compared with the competition. Naturally, nobody will have finished their preparations 100 percent, but Spa gives us a small but vital pre-taste of Le Mans."

Dindo Capello (46/I), Audi R15 TDI #3
• Clinched second place at Spa in 2004 together with Seiji Ara
• Contests the Italian GT Championship this year as well
"On any debut of a brand new car like the Audi R18 TDI it’s difficult to make a prediction. We’ve been working hard on making this car fast and reliable. Everyone is optimistic about managing a good result right in the first race. The whole team knows that Spa is a very beautiful as well as a difficult and demanding track. What’s more, there will be about 60 cars in the field, which makes the race even more demanding. For Spa you need a combination of performance and agility. We’re there to win but we mustn’t lose sight of the fact that our main job is to improve the car for Le Mans and to prepare for the 24-hour race. Spa’s our only chance to drive the R18 TDI at a race before the big run in June."

Tom Kristensen (43/DK), Audi R18 TDI #3
• Won the 1000-kilometer race at Spa in 2003 in the Audi R8
"We’re all looking forward to the ILMC race at Spa. It’s the debut of our Audi R18 TDI, our new baby, on a fantastic race track. Personally, Spa is my favorite track, but I think all drivers like it. This year there will be 60 cars in the field, so there will be a lot of traffic on the track. That means You’ve got a car about every 100 meters. It’ll be a very demanding situation for all the drivers. But we’re looking forward to what will hopefully be a good ‘dress rehearsal’ for our run at the Le Mans 24 Hours a month later."

Allan McNish (41/GB), Audi R18 TDI #3
• Clinched Audi’s only ILMC pole position to date at Silverstone in 2010
"I’m always particularly keen on going to Spa. With a new car like the R18 TDI the race will be very interesting for us and the fans. It marks the first occasion that all our main rivals will be on track at the same time, so everyone looks forward to qualifying with particularly eager anticipation - at least I do. The track is arguably one of the top three for any driver. The weather at Spa though is usually unpredictable. Last year it was raining on the grid while the track was bone dry on the other side. We’ve tested the Audi R18 TDI a lot this year. We understand the potential of the new car and know that we’ve got to get into a racing situation now to see how the car performs in different conditions. Tom (Kristensen), Dindo (Capello) and I are looking forward to being part of the whole action again. We know from last year that Spa is a replica of Le Mans. We’ll be represented there with all three race teams. That adds further spice to this race."

The Audi drivers at Spa-Francorchamps

Timo Bernhard (D): *Feb 24, 1981 in Homburg (D); residence: Dittweiler (D); married to Katharina; height 1.73 m; weight: 61 kg; Audi driver since 2009; Le Mans victories: 1; ILMC races: 4; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 5

Dindo Capello (I): *Jun 17, 1964 in Asti (I); residence: Canelli (I); married to Elisabetta, one son (Giacomo); height: 1.72 m; weight: 66 kg; Audi driver since 1994; Le Mans victories: 3; ILMC races: 4; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 2

Romain Dumas (F): *Dec 14, 1977 in Alès (F); residence: Basel (CH); single; height: 1.74 m; weight: 60 kg; Audi driver since 2009; Le Mans victories: 1; ILMC races: 4; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 5

Marcel Fässler (CH): *May 27,1976 in Einsiedeln (CH); residence: Gross (CH); married to Isabel, four daughters (Shana, Elin, Yael, Delia); height 1.78 m; weight 78 kg; Audi driver since 2008; Le Mans victories: 0; ILMC races: 1; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 2

Tom Kristensen (DK): *Jul 07, 1967 in Hobro (DK); residence: Monaco (MC); single (partner Hanne), two sons (Oliver and Oswald) and one daughter (Carla Marlou); height: 1.74 m; weight: 72 kg; Audi driver since 2000; ILMC races: 4; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 1

André Lotterer (D): *Nov 19, 1981 in Duisburg (D); residence: Tokyo (J);
single; height 1.84 m; weight 74 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Le Mans victories: 0; ILMC races: 1; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 12

Allan McNish (GB): *Dec 29, 1969 in Dumfries (GB); residence: Monaco (MC); married to Kelly, one son (Finlay), one daughter (Charlotte); height: 1.65 m; weight: 58 kg; Audi driver since 2000; Le Mans victories: 2; ILMC races: 4; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 1; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 3

Mike Rockenfeller (D): *Oct 31,1983 in Neuwied (D); residence: Altnau (CH); single; height 1.75 m; weight 67 kg; Audi driver since 2007; Le Mans victories: 1; ILMC races: 2; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 2

Benoît Tréluyer (F): *Dec 7, 1976 in Alençon (F); residence: Gordes (F); married to Melanie, 1 son (Jules); height 1.78 m; weight 68 kg; Audi driver since 2010; Le Mans victories: 0; ILMC races: 1; ILMC victories: 0; pole positions: 0; fastest laps: 0; best result at 1000 km Spa: 12

All winners of the 1000-kilometer race at Spa-Francorchamps (since 2003)

2003 Ara/Kristensen (Audi)
2004 Herbert/Davies (Audi)
2005 Nielsen/Elgaard/Shimoda (Zytek)
2006 Collard/Boullion (Pescarolo
2007 Lamy/Sarrazin (Peugeot)
2008 Gené/Minassian/Villeneuve (Peugeot)
2009 Minassian/Pagenaud/Klien (Peugeot)
2010 Lamy/Bourdais/Pagenaud (Peugeot)

Track info

Track length: 7.004 km
Race distance: 1000 kilometers
Qualifying record set on this track: Sébastien Bourdais (Peugeot), May 08,10, 1m 57.884s (213.892 km/h)
Race record set on this track: Franck Montagny (Peugeot), May 09,10, 1m 59.797s (210.476 km/h)
Pole position 2010: Sébastien Bourdais (Peugeot), May 08,10, 1m 57.884s (213.892 km/h)
Fastest lap 2010: Franck Montagny (Peugeot), May 09,10, 1m 59.797s (210.476 km/h)

André Lotterer about Spa-Francorchamps: "For me Spa is like a home track because I grew up just an hour away from there. It’s one of the most beautiful race tracks in the world. Overtaking is possible right in the first turn, La Source. The famous Eau Rouge is next. Will we able to take it flat-out in the R18 TDI? In the R15 TDI we still had to ‘lift’ slightly. The section in front of Les Combes is another good place for overtaking. The turn drops toward the outside and you’re always a little too fast there. The Pouhon double left-hander opens up a long way. You’ve got to take a lot of speed with you. Then the Fagnes high-speed chicane literally flies toward the driver. It should be possible to drive the Blanchimont passage flat-out if you put yourself in a good position. The end of the circuit is marked by the slowest corner, the new chicane in front of the start and finish."

ILMC LMP1 manufacturers standings after 1 of 7 rounds:
1 Peugeot 27 points; 2 Audi, 17.

ILMC LMP1 team standings after 1 of 7 rounds:
1 Team ORECA Matmut, 15 points; 2 Peugeot Sport Total, 12; 3 Audi Sport Team Joest, 9; 4 Rebellion Racing, 6.

Schedule (local times; CET)

Thursday, May 5
12:20-13:20 Free practice
16:55¬-17:55 Free practice

Friday, May 6
11:50-12:50 Free practice
15:50-16:10 Qualifying (GTE vehicles)
16:20-16:40 Qualifying (prototypes)

Saturday, May 7
09:55-10:15 Warm-up
14:05-20:05 Race (1000 kilometers, maximum of 6 hours)

courtesy of Audi