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Audi team quotes before the ILMC 6-hour race at Zhuhai

Dumas puts Audi R18 TDI on top during Wednesday practice

Photo: © 2011 Corey Beaman

Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport):

“The 6-hour race at Zhuhai marks the close of a long, tough, but very successful season for Audi Sport. We won the most important race of the year – the Le Mans 24 Hours – with the Audi R18 TDI, the Spa 24 Hours with the R8 LMS and the DTM with the A4. We still have some unfinished business in the Intercontinental Le Mans Cup. That’s why I’m wishing for a race with a fair sporting competition at the end of the season and a bit more fortune than we last had at Silverstone and Road Atlanta. It would be nice if we could close the year with a success in what has meanwhile become the world’s largest single market for Audi.”

Ralf Juttner (Technical Director Audi Sport Team Joest):

“When we arrived at Zhuhai in 2010 everything was new to us. With the knowledge we gained last year many things will be easier. We know what to expect. And we’re aiming to win the season finale after not having had any chance at Road Atlanta due to too much misfortune, aggravating situations and accidents. We were quick enough there and are hoping to be able to convert that into victory in China. Twelve months ago the Audi R15 TDI was fast at Zhuhai as well, even though it had not been designed for slow corners. The current R18 TDI is even better in tight corners than the R15 TDI. So good lap times should be possible. I’m expecting similarly close gaps as at all the races this year. If, on top of that, we’ve got that necessary bit of racing luck and fair play prevailing in the field, then I think we’ll have good chances.”

Timo Bernhard (30/D), Audi R18 TDI #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

“I’ve never driven at Zhuhai before and have never been to China in my career before either. That’s why I prepared for the track with onboard camera footage. On location, you walk the track before you drive it the first time. As a professional, you’re able to quickly implement the things you’ve learned in the cockpit. The many tight turns after the long straights will be rough on the brakes. But that also makes nice passes under braking possible. The fact that only 29 cars will be on the grid will help us after almost twice as many were in the field most recently. The risk of accidents thus clearly drops. Our lap times were absolutely competitive at the past two races but we often found ourselves in the wrong place at the wrong time. I’m hoping for better racing luck in China. It’s nice that we’re arriving as a strong squad. At Audi, we never give up and always support each other a lot.”

Tom Kristensen lapped a 1:09.875 to put the no2 Audi R18 TDI into third.

Photo: © 2011 Corey Beaman

Marcel Fassler (35/CH), Audi R18 TDI #1 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

“I’m already very much looking forward to competing at Zhuhai again. When the circuit was inaugurated in the nineteen-nineties we drove in the Formula Campus there. Rolled sod alongside the track that would get caught in the radiator and workmen with bamboo poles – that was definitely adventurous back in those days. Meanwhile the track has established itself on the international calendar. The last race I drove in China was in 2004, in the DTM, at Shanghai. It would be nice if we could be as competitive with the Audi R18 TDI at the ILMC finale as we were at Silverstone and Road Atlanta. At Silverstone we saw that the R18 TDI is very competitive even in slow corners. Zhuhai has several very slow corners. We are expecting strong competitors and I’m hoping for a fair and nice sporting decision at the end of the season.”

Tom Kristensen (44/DK), Audi R18 TDI #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

“I’m already looking forward to the last ILMC race in history. Next year the series will become a world championship. Last year I drove at Zhuhai for the first time. The track is narrow and has quick, longer straights and many very slow corners. The brakes have to work hard and good traction is important. The crowd was incredibly enthusiastic. I’m looking forward to seeing the fans again. As their interest in our sport keeps growing, so do their knowledge and enthusiasm. And China has meanwhile become the number one market for Audi in terms of deliveries. It’ll definitely be a very exciting race for us.”

Allan McNish (41/GB), Audi R18 TDI #2 (Audi Sport Team Joest)

“While our rivals have decided the title among themselves I’ve got one goal left: to win the last race of the year. After Audi was the winner of the Le Mans 24 Hours I’d like to end what personally has been a rather frustrating year on a strong, positive note. The Audi R18 TDI has been updated since Le Mans and at Silverstone and Atlanta we saw that our pace was really good. We’ve always battled for victories but they were thwarted by incidents. In China I’m again expecting a thrilling battle between Peugeot and us, like last year. In 2010, a safety car cost us a lot of time and our rival also made a few doubtful moves to slow us. Zhuhai has some narrow corners whereas the R18 TDI tends to be designed more for fast turns like those at Le Mans. But maybe the weather will also be playing a crucial role.”

Tom Kristensen about Zhuhai:

“Zhuhai is a friendly city, and it is much larger than you think. You travel there by ship via Hong Kong. The temperatures in November are perfect with a little humidity. The track is very tight and the circuit layout not exactly fluid. This is due to the slow corners at the end of the long straights. It’s also very hard on the brakes. You can take the fast corners 2 and 6 flat out. I like corners 10 and 14 the most. The turn 5 chicane is very aggressive and gives good feedback to the cockpit. The pit lane entry is the quickest one on the whole calendar. At Zhuhai it’s about having very high-quality and durable brakes combined with good traction and acceleration. In a nutshell: I’m convinced that the Audi R18 TDI is the best solution …”

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