Gene wins on Audi debut in Belgium

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MOTORSPORT: Marc Gene made the dream start to his career as an Audi Sport driver in the FIA World Endurance Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium last weekend when he sensationally won the 6-Hours of Spa, write Colin and James Beckett.

Having lost his 2012 WEC drive when the Peugeot Sport team withdrew from competition in January, Gene was signed by Audi just two weeks ago as their reserve driver to cover for the injured Timo Bernhard. Gene joined Romain Dumas and Loic Duval in the number 3 Audi R18 ultra and the trio commanded the majority of the rain-soaked race.

The former Buckingham University student took the start for the trio and circulated in fourth position for much of his opening stint in the car. However, near the end of his first session the track began to dry and Gene made the call to switch his car onto slick tyres. He said afterwards: “I could see that the track was getting drier in some areas and I tested out how dry it was on a couple of laps. I made the call to my engineer that I wanted slicks at my stop and when I had the tyres on the car I never looked back.”Gene was the only Audi driver to make the decision to switch to slick tyres, and with the other three Audi R18’s opting to stay on intermediate tyres, Gene was instantly handed an advantage. Gene moved his car into the lead and it was a lead that the car was not to lose, eventually running out the winner by a margin of 46 seconds.

Audi cars swept the podium. Marcel Fassler, Andre Lotterer and Benoit Treluyer finished second with their R18 e-tron quattro, with Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis - a former competitor in Silverstone’s Walter Hayes Trophy, third.

After enjoying his podium celebrations Gene said:“I am so happy. This has been an amazing weekend.”

Gene will test for the Audi Sport team at Le Mans on June 3 but it is not yet certain if he will drive in the actual 24-Hour race. “Everything depends if Timo Bernhard recovers from his injuries sustained while testing in America,” Gene confirmed. “The team have said if Timo is fit then he will race at Le Mans, if there is any doubt about his fitness then I will be handed the opportunity to drive.

>>This weekend Gene will represent Ferrari as their reserve driver at the Spanish Grand Prix at the Circuit de Catalunya near Barcelona.