There was embarrassment for the Audi Le Mans team this week with news that race victor Andre Lotterer had immobilised his winning R18 E-tron diesel hybrid by filling it up with petrol on the way home.
‘After the race Andre asked if he could borrow the car,’ said one high ranking Audi engineer. ‘I think he wanted to catch up with some friends back in Duisburg.’
Team insiders says they sent the German driver on his way and heard no more from him until several hours later when he called to say he was in a service station on the Belgian border waiting for a recovery truck.
‘For sure, this was totally my fault. It was late, I was tired, I made a mistake,’ a sheepish Lotterer said later. ‘And you know these modern diesels are so quiet that you forget they don’t run on petrol,’ he added hopefully.
The team say the stricken R18 has now been taken to the nearest Audi dealer where sources indicate that draining the tank and flushing the fuel system could cost up to 1500 Euros. ‘For sure, this will be coming out of my bonus,’ noted Lotterer glumly. ‘This is doubly annoying for me,’ the endurance racer added. ‘I bet I won’t get back the bag of Haribo I left in the cupholder.’