“We will not surrender!”
FIA WEC, Round 7/9 | 6 Hours of Fuji
With lady luck definitely not on the Audi squad’s side this season, Benoit Tréluyer and his team-mates André Lotterer and Marcel Fässler remain more motivated than ever to get back on the path to victory.
In Japan, the sun never really rose for the Frenchman and his colleagues, with issues arising as soon as free practice started.
“We were not able to run the qualifying simulations because two sets of tyres were ruined after going off the track,” Benoît explained. “From that moment onwards, we decided to focus on race settings, even if it meant we had to drop further back on the grid.”
After qualifying on the third row, the #7 Audi made an excellent start thanks to Benoît being totally focused.
“I was up to third by the first corner,” he enthused. “The car understeered a bit at the beginning, and I used the opening stages of the race to make some adjustments. After a few laps, it was going well and the confidence was there. I was certain we could do something special, but the hybrid system decided otherwise quite quickly. It is a real shame as the car had potential to fight for victory as we have seen with the #8. I hope – and all the team agree with me – that luck will turn around as this difficult season is starting to drag on. Regardless of this, we continue to work hard. We do not surrender!”
In what was a grey weekend for the 2012 FIA WEC champion, the Japanese fans made sure the sun shone through the clouds with their support and enthusiasm.
“I can’t find any words to express my gratitude towards the fans,” said Benoît. “Both André and I would have liked to thank them for their kindness and fidelity by climbing on the top step of the podium, but it will have to wait until 2017. I have only been able to race there once a year these past few seasons, but they still show a huge amount of support towards me. It means a lot and is a unique relationship which I shall always treasure.”
This victory that Benoît would like so much to achieve not only for his Japanese fans, but also for his followers around the world, may yet happen during the next round for the 6 Hours of Shanghai, on 6 November.
“In any case,” he adds, “the layout of the Shanghai International Circuit is more suited to us. With the recent work we have done, I can only be optimistic. Each weekend we make some progress and there is no reason to suggest that it won’t start paying off. The performance is there and it is going to happen. We need to find that little extra that we had for years and that’s what we are currently missing.”
That “little extra” that they need this year may well be just more luck and Benoît is hoping that they will get some in the last couple of rounds.
“What we need,’ he concluded, “is a victory that will help boost our spirits, which has been hit hard recently. Issues and bad luck are difficult to accept and it has been going on for far too long.”
The competition has been warned…