Audi Edge Porsche at Silverstone Six

Audi started the 2016 season in style today as the #7 R18 of Marcel Fassler, Benoit Treluyer and Andre Lotterer pipped Porsche to the post in the FIAWEC 6 Hours of Silverstone.

The two German manufacturers appeared to be evenly matched from the start, trading lap times for the first few hours with the #1 Porsche leading for much of it. A big smash for Brendon Hartley put paid to that half way through the race, however, and along with a hybrid failure for the #8 Audi it became a dogfight to the end between the #2 Porsche and the #7 Audi.

It was give and take right into the final hour, when a slow puncture and some questionable strategy choices put paid to the Porsche’s challenge. After six hours Fassler took the chequered flag to seal an impressive and well earned win.

Toyota Gazoo Racing had a quiet day - bar a dramatic, bodywork destroying puncture for Kazuki Nakajima - circulating a lap behind the pacesetters. A consolation prize came their way in the form of a podium place for the #6 due to the Porsche and Audi retirements, but the Japanese marque won’t be happy with what, on this showing, could be another year being the also rans.

The P1 privateer sub-class saw Rebellion take first and second due to their only competitor, the #4 CLM, spending a much of its time being fixed in the garage; the ByKOLLES team may be disappointed with 15th overall, but did show some promising pace in the early stages.

LMP2 was its usual mix of skill and catastrophe with multiple leaders over the course of the six hours. RGR by Morand took their Ligier to a class win on their debut, utilising a good driver lineup in Bruno Senna, Filipe Albuquerque and Ricardo Gonzalez to steer their Ligier into the lead in the final hour.

Other standout performances came from Extreme Speed Motorsports and G-Drive in taking second and third on the podium. A special mention should go to Manor, a team who performed well despite some bad luck and relative inexperience in endurance racing. It was a day to forget for SMP Racing, however, with both cars being handed multiple penalties to finish 8th and 10th.

It looks as though the GTE crown will be staying in Italy this year as AF Corse wrapped up a dominant 1-2 in GTE Pro and also took the win in GTE Am. Sam Bird and Davide Rigon drove well and without fault from the start but never looked in trouble of being beaten, while teammates Gimi Bruni and James Calado recovered from a three minute penalty to end the race second.

The #95 Aston Martin was best of the rest ahead of the two debuting Ford GTs who appear to have overcome some teething issues demonstrated at Daytona and Sebring. The Pro field was rounded out by the #77 Porsche and the #97 Aston which suffered a late engine failure.

The Am podium was topped by the #83 Ferrari of Perrodo, Collard and Aguas with the #98 Aston and #50 Corvette behind. The #78 and #88 Porsches both suffered mechanical issues, while the #86 Gulf Porsche, which was caught up in Hartley’s crash, finished last.