AUDI CLAIM WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP TITLE IN SHORTENED 6 HOURS OF FUJI—
Torrential rain at Fuji International Speedway today unfortunately prevented the FIA World Endurance Championship’s competitors from putting on the fantastic show of racing they had planned for the 23,700 passionate Japanese fans present for the 6 Hours of Fuji.
The race was stopped after 3 hours and 46 minutes due to worsening weather conditions and deteriorating light, and the No.7 Toyota TS030 Hybrid of Kazuki Nakajima, Nicolas Lapierre and Alexander Wurz was declared the overall winner. Half points were awarded to all drivers.
Second place for the No.2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro of Tom Kristensen, Loïc Duval and Allan McNish was enough to seal the FIA World Endurance Manufacturers’ Championship for Audi, although the Drivers’ title has yet to be decided.
Only 16 laps of racing were completed – all behind the Safety Car – and the race was suspended twice by the Race Director for safety reasons. The No.8 Toyota of Davidson-Buemi-Sarrazin and the No.1 Audi R18 of reigning World Champions Lotterer-Tréluyer-Fässler both suffered from problems during the race. The Toyota started from the pit lane after missing the pit exit closure time, and the Audi had to make three unscheduled pit stops to deal with debris in the air intake system but still finished on the lead lap, albeit in 26th place.
The No.12 Rebellion Racing LMP1 Privateer entry of Mathias Beche and Andrea Belicchi filled the third place on the overall podium, the Lola-Toyota finishing just ahead of the LMP2 class winner – the No.35 OAK Racing Morgan Nissan of Bertrand Baguette, Ricardo Gonzalez and Martin Plowman. The 24 Hours of Le Mans winners headed the No.26 G-Drive Racing ORECA 03 Nissan of Rusinov-Martin-Conway and the Japanese-entered No.27 Gainer International Zytek Z11SN Nissan of Hiranaka-Ueda-Wirdheim. Delta-ADR, Lotus Praga, OAK Racing’s other two entries, KCMG and Pecom Racing all completed the race without issues.
Over 41,000 fans visited Fuji International Speedway over the weekend of the FIA WEC’s visit, and the Championship organisers, teams and drivers’ thoughts were all for those after the shortened race today.
Gerard Neveu, CEO of the FIA WEC said, “Today’s 6 Hours of Fuji was not the race we wanted to put on for the thousands of Japanese fans who travelled to see the FIA World Endurance Championship. However the sporting officials took the right decisions with regards to the race in the interests of safety for our drivers and teams, which is always of primary importance.
“We acknowledge that this situation is still a huge disappoint for the fans and we would like to personally thank everyone who stayed in the pouring rain until the final decision to stop the race was taken. As a token of our gratitude we opened the pit lane at the end of the event, so the drivers could also show their appreciation. We look forward to coming back again to Japan in 2014 and we hope that the fans will re-join us on the 5th October next year.”