Sunday, June 30, 2013

BES: A weekend to forget for Audi teams at Paul Ricard

By Tarek Ramchani

The third round of the Blancpain Endurance Series at Paul Ricard today was a very hard event for the Audi Sport customer racing teams. Nine Audi R8 LMS ultra cars from four different teams entered the race with very disappointing performances and results.

At Paul Ricard no less than seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars had been entered in the upper Pro-Cup class. However right from the start of the race it was obvious that the Audis will not fight for top positions, and started to struggle a lot with a very obvious lack of top speed compared to the other cars and brands. After three hours of racing a single Audi R8 LMS ultra was within the top 10. The best ranked car was the #1 R8 LMS ultra in ninth overall. The car was from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and shared by drivers René Rast, Laurens Vanthoor and Stéphane Ortelli. The #16 Audi from Phoenix Racing finished in twelfth overall with drivers Anthony Kumpen, Enzo Ide and Markus Winkelhock. The second car from Phoenix Racing was classified in seventeenth place, the #6 Audi in the hands of Harold Primat, Christopher Haase and Oliver Jarvis.

It was a much harder race for the remaining Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. The #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (Pro-Cup) was twenty-first. #36 Team Speed Car (Pro-Cup) was twenty-sixth. #13  Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (Pro-Cup) was twenty-seventh. #40 Sainteloc Racing (Pro-Cup) was forty-first. #41 Sainteloc Racing (Gentlemen Trophy) was forty-seventh and #42 Sainteloc Racing (Pro-Am) was forty-eighth.

Race victory went to the #3 BMW Z4 GT3 from Marc VDS Racing. Second was the #7 McLaren MP4-12C from Hexis Racing and third was the #23 Nissan GT-R from JRM Racing. The Pro-Cup cars locked out the whole top 10.

At Paul Ricard today Audi faced their hardest race ever in the history of the Blancpain Endurance Series. The next round will be the prestigious and stellar event of the series, the Total Spa 24 Hours race. Before that the teams are invited to attend the annual Test Day at Spa on Wednesday. 40 cars are expected to take part, including some Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.

Photo credit: Blancpain Endurance Series