Podium for Dindo Capello at inaugural ILMC round

Audi started into the new Intercontinental Le Mans Cup (ILMC) with a podium result. In the 1000-kilometer race at Silverstone (Great Britain) Timo Bernhard and Dindo Capello in the Audi R15 TDI occupied third place.
A differential failure on the sister car driven by Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish after just 15 of the 170 laps prevented a better result after the strong qualifying performance with grid positions one and two. In front of a crowd of 40,000 spectators McNish had taken the lead after starting from the pole position and fought a spectacular duel with the subsequent winner Anthony Davidson in the Peugeot in the early phase before the R15 TDI designated as car number "7” started to coast on the track without drive. It was the first retirement due to a technical failure since the launch of the R15 project and the first for Audi Sport Team Joest in more than four years.

The unusual defect on the differential, which will be carefully examined in the next few days at Audi Sport in Ingolstadt, affected the race of Timo Bernhard and Dindo Capello as well. Because the team did not want to take any risks with the tire strategy with one remaining car the tires of the second R15 TDI were changed at the first refueling stop to be on the safe side. This caused Bernhard/Capello to lose contact with the leading Peugeot that was driving two stints on one set of tires from the outset.
In addition, unusually heavy understeer caused the gap to the leading Peugeot to increase to slightly more than one minute by the end of the first half of the race. In the second half Bernhard/Capello were able to keep the pace of the front runners and to even reduce the gap to about 50 seconds. However, an additional refueling stop three laps before the finish locked third place of the German-Italian duo in concrete.

Quotes after the race

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): "It’s disappointing that we weren’t able to convert the good qualifying into a better race result. Unfortunately, Allan (McNish) retired very early in the race due to differential failure. We’ve never had this kind of problem before. With just one car we weren’t able to risk running double stints on one set of tires from the outset. That’s why we made an additional tire change at the beginning of the race which caused us to lose contact to some extent. We could have achieved a much better result today.”

Dindo Capello (Audi R15 TDI #8): "Our rivals were a bit quicker, particularly in traffic. We had some problems with understeer, that’s why our car wasn’t agile enough to keep up with them in traffic. That was the crucial factor. We made the maximum of the situation. We learned some more things with the new aerodynamics package and will continue to improve the car for the next race. It’s a shame that our team mates retired so early. Audi hasn’t had a technical defect in ages. And I’m sure that it won’t happen again very soon either.”

1 Minassian/Davidson (Peugeot) 170 laps in 5h 11m 41.835s
2 Lapierre/Sarrazin (Peugeot) + 42.920s
3 Bernhard/Capello (Audi R15 TDI) + 1m 46.357s
4 Barazi/Hancock/Mücke (Lola-Aston Martin) – 3 laps
5 Prost/Jani (Lola-Rebellion) - 5 laps
6 Ragues/Mailleux/Ickx (Lola-Aston Martin) - 6 laps
7 Mansell/Mansell (Ginetta-Zytek) - 9 laps
8 Leventis/Watts/Kane (HPD) - 10 laps
9 Amaral/Pla (Ginetta-Zytek) - 10 laps
10 Moreau/Hein (Pescarolo-Judd) - 10 laps

LMP1 manufacturers’ championship after 1 of 3 rounds:
1 Peugeot 47 points; 2 Audi, 21.