Audi just missed out on a podium place in round six of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) at Shanghai. Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer (CH/D/F) in the best Audi R18 e-tron quattro had to admit defeat in the six-hour race. The Le Mans winners crossed the finish line in front of their team-mates Lucas di Grassi/Loïc Duval/Tom Kristensen (BR/F/DK).

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Audi had no chance of repeating last year’s victory on the 5.451-kilometre track at Shanghai. Qualifying had previously indicated that the R18 e-tron quattro is unable to show its full potential in    tight turns and on long straights. In spite of this disadvantage, a thrilling battle with the number 14 Porsche for a podium position ensued. Thanks to a successful race set-up and good driving performances Audi remained in striking distance of its rival, who had achieved the best time in qualifying, for a long time. However, an additional refuelling stop shortly before the end of the race deprived the Audi squad of any chance to clinch a trophy.

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Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer were running in fifth place for a long time. However, a fifth pit stop that was made earlier than scheduled for tactical reasons gave the 2012 World Champions an advantage over the sister car and they achieved fourth place. As a result, the driver trio improved from third to second place in the drivers’ standings. Di Grassi/Duval/Kristensen completed Audi’s team result in China in fifth place, with Audi outperforming the number 20 Porsche in the process.
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After the sixth of eight WEC races, the brand with the four rings, trailing Toyota with a 29-point gap, remains the runner-up in the manufacturers’ classification. As a result, the title decision has been postponed. In just 13 days from now, the FIA WEC will be holding round seven at the Bahrain International Circuit. Audi – the early winners of the manufacturers’ and drivers’ world championships in 2012 and 2013 – is going to leave no stone unturned to continue to delay the title decision in the desert of the gulf state.