Audi Sport Team Joest's Marcel Fassler says he was certain victory had slipped through his fingers after his stop and go penalty at the end of the FIA World Endurance Championship season opener, admitting he had no idea what his track position was.

The Swiss driver had been coasting to victory at Silverstone, enjoying a lap advantage over Porsche in second place, but that lead was almost completely destroyed when Fassler was given a penalty for exceeding track limits while overtaking a slower car. After serving the penalty Fassler emerged eight seconds in front of Neel Jani in the number 18 Porsche 919 Hybrid.

The 38-year-old was able to sprint to the chequered flag for victory with Jani just 4.6 seconds behind. After the race the Audi driver admitted he was certain he had been bumped back into third after serving the penalty.

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"There was a lot of angry shouting in the car, for sure," Fassler said. "I didn't actually know why I was given the penalty but I assumed I knew why. I had seen some overtaking like that before but nothing had happened.

"So I wasn't very happy when I got the penalty because we were leading at the time and I really felt I would lose the lead because of it.

"I didn't know where I was on the track after the stop and go penalty. I thought I had fallen back to third place but my race engineer told me I was in the lead by eight seconds, which was enough to manage until the end. It was an exciting end for me."

The Audi driver says he is elated with the victory after the team had to come from behind when the number seven car suffered a dreadful start off the line. In an exhilarating race all the LMP1-H teams were involved in pulsating track battles and Fassler hailed it as one of the best races of his career.

"This was one of the best fights in my whole career, I really enjoyed it today. I must also say it was pretty fair racing between us and the Porsche drivers."