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For Audi, an important race is coming up before its imminent withdrawal from the FIA World #endurance Championship (WEC). Once a year, the LMP sports cars visit #china – the company’s largest market. On Sunday, November 6, Audi is going to battle for points and trophies in the 6 Hours of #shanghai.
The race is getting closer and closer. Most recently, in Japan, Audi missed victory by just 1.439 seconds. The near-five-year history of the FIA #wec has seen an even closer outcome only once before and this season, it has been the narrowest margin by which a race has been decided to date. “If you aim to win in this hard-fought series, you can’t afford the slightest weakness,” says Head of #audimotorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “That’s why we’re leaving no stone unturned to make another step ahead in #china.” In the second half of 2016, the current Audi R18 has been more competitive on these circuits than its predecessors. All three manufacturers of hybrid sports cars – Audi, Porsche and Toyota – have demonstrated that they are in contention for victory. Following the 24 Hours of Le Mans, Audi has consistently improved in the subsequent four #wec rounds. At the Nürburgring, the brand with the four rings led the race for 46 laps, which equates to about 24 percent of the distance. In Mexico, Audi increased this rate to 27 percent, and to 61 percent at Austin. Most recently, at Fuji, the R18 was the front runner for almost 72 percent of all race laps. In total, Audi led these four rounds over a distance of 1.935 kilometers. Five pole positions in 2016 and three fastest laps in the most recent four events underline the qualities of the technology and the drivers.
On clinching second place in Japan, Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Oliver Jarvis (BR/F/GB) reduced the deficit to the leaders of the standings by 9 to 28.5 points for Audi Sport Team Joest. At the same time, another driver trio – Mike Conway/Kamui Kobayashi/Stéphane Sarrazin – inserted itself between the Audi campaigners and the front runners. “We’re going to see a three-way battle for the title,” says Stefan Dreyer, Head of LMP at Audi Sport. “However, as far as the gaps are concerned, we have to remain realistic. Mathematically, everything is still possible, but with 52 points yet to be awarded, the leaders of the standings do have a clear advantage. We will spare no effort to keep the battle open until the end.”
In addition to di Grassi/Duval/Jarvis, Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) will be attacking for Audi. The trio, in 2013, clinched Audi’s only victory at #shanghai to date. The 5.451-kilometer track features some extreme sections. Two helical turns are unique and two long straights call for good top speed. The other cornering radii range from three turns being driven in first gear to fast bends which the drivers tackle in fourth or fifth gear.
For Audi, #china including Hong Kong is the largest single market anywhere in the world. Last year, Audi delivered 571,000 automobiles there. In the first three quarters of 2016, the brand increased its deliveries by 6.2 percent compared to the same period of the previous year.
In addition to the FIA #wec, local fans can look forward to being treated to another great #racing #event. As part of the supporting program at #shanghai, the Audi R8 LMS Cup will take place on the same weekend, Audi’s first one-make cup holding its two final rounds there. The top five drivers in the standings still have chances of winning the title.
The 6 Hours of #shanghai race will start on Sunday, November 6, at 11:00 local time (04:00 CET). On its German website, Eurosport will be offering free video live streaming for the entire race and live TV coverage of the final stage (08:30 to 10:15 CET) on Eurosport 1. Audi is going to keep its fans up to speed on Facebook (AudiSport) and Twitter (@audisport).
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