Sunday, July 14, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (13-14/07/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 13 - 14 July 2013

2. The Events

  •           DTM
  •           Goodwood FoS
  •           Pirelli World Challenge
  •           GT Asia
  •           Australian GT
  •           Le Sommet des Legendes
  •           French Rallycross
  •           Omnitel 1000 km
  •           Austrian Hillclimb

2.1. DTM

The DTM was at the Norisring this weekend, round five of the German Championship. The regular eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars were present, fielded by ABT, Rosberg and Phoenix. Seven of the eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars made it into the top ten during the Saturday morning practice session. Qualifying saw three Audis within the top ten, lead by Edoardo Mortara in fourth place. The race itself was one full of surprises. Mortara was able to hold his ground and move up to third with Ekström and Rockenfeller also moving up well. Clever pit-stop strategies allowed an Audi 1-2 at the front with Mortara leading Ekström. Rockenfeller had completed both of his pit-stops early and went for the long run op option tires. Ekström managed to overtake Mortara for the lead, whilst Rocky had moved up well into the top ten. Mortara unfortunately retired due to a late race altercation with Gary Paffett, and Rocky began to fall back slowly as his option tires started to wear off. In the end Mattias Ekström came home to win Audi's first victory at the Norisring since 2002. Rocky finished in fifth place, and remains the championship points leader.  

Update: Ekström was disqualified and excluded from the race results later on Sunday evening. The disqualification was for an infringement of Parc Ferme rules, regarding water being poured into his suit pockets in Parc Ferme. The official DTM press release about the disqualification can be seen HERE, and Audi's announcement that they will appeal the ruling can be seen HERE.  

2.2. Goodwood FoS

The annual Goodwood Festival of Speed was held this weekend. A large Audi presence was on site as always at this highlight of the international motorsport season. Various Audi hospitality set-ups and road cars were on show, including a number of Audi race cars, most notably the 2013 Le Mans winning Audi R18 e-tron quattro which was driven by Allan McNish this weekend.

2.3. Pirelli World Challenge

A week after Lime Rock the Pirelli World Challenge headed onto the Streets of Toronto for round six. Three GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS cars lined up on the grid this weekend. They showed good pace during practice, with James Sofronas topping the first session. In qualifying the Audis achieved a top three starting position as Sofronas qualified in third, followed by his Duncan Ende in eighth. The race ended with a fourth place for James Sofronas and Duncan Ende in sixth. 

2.4. GT Asia  

The third GT Asia meeting remained in Japan, hosting rounds five and six at the Fuji Speedway. Three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were at the event, all entered by Absolute Racing. The first race saw the highest Audi finisher in fifth place, the #888 of Yoong and Onda. They lead home the #98 Audi in sixth, followed by the third #7 Audi in eighth. The second race was an extremely good performance for the Absolute Racing squad, an 1-2 race victory for the team. The #7 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Jeffrey Lee and Marchy Lee crossed the line victorious ahead of their teammates in the #888 Audi. The Audi 1-2 was backed up by the #98 Audi finishing in fourth, ending off a terrific day for Audi and Absolute Racing in Japan.

2.5. Australian GT

The Australian GT Championship headed to Sydney Motorsport Park this weekend. Two Audi cars were entered, both run by Melbourne Performance Centre. The Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by Rod Salmon and Nathan Antunes, and the R8 LMS by Dean Koustoumidis and Andrew McInnes. This was the first Australian GT event where the Koustoumidis R8 LMS was run by MPC, following a switch from Minda Motorsport. Both cars were recently entered by MPC in a regional event in Sydney, as preparation for this weekend. The cars performed very well and the Salmon R8 LMS ultra qualified second and the Koustoumidis car in seventh. Race one saw Salmon and Antunes scoring a podium by finishing in third, followed by the second Audi in sixth place. Race two saw the highest Audi finishing in sixth, again the Audi R8 LMS ultra of Salmon and Antunes. The Equity-One Audi R8 LMS finished in eighth, ensuring that both Audis finished the weekend inside of the top ten for races one and two.

2.6. Le Sommet des Legendes

The annual Le Sommet des Legendes was held at Mont Tremblant in Canada. This is an annual historic racing event, and features many valuable old race cars. Travis Engen was at the event, and entered his Audi R8 (#606). The car is prepared and run for Engen by GMT Racing.

2.7. French Rallycross

The French Rallycross Championship held the Lessay-Manche round this weekend. Two Audi cars took part. The Division 4 class Audi A3 driven by Jimmy Terpereau, and the Racing Team Jagu Audi A1 of Yvonnick Jagu in the Super 1600 class.

2.8. Omnitel 1000 km

The Omnitel 1000 km took place in Lithuania this weekend. A number of Audi race cars have competed in this race in recent years, including Audi quattro cars, and even the Audi-powered Spyker Squadron team. This year an Audi A4 B5, a regular entrant in this annual event, was entered.

2.9. Austrian Hillclimb

The Demmerkogel Hillclimb was held this weekend, as part of the Austrian Hillclimb Championship. A number of Audis were entered, including the Marko Racing Audi A4 STW, Audi S2, Audi 80 and Audi 90.

2.10. Other Audi News

A number of BTCC teams tested at Snetterton this week. The #14 Audi A4 NGTC from Rob Austin Racing was one of the cars at the test, driven by Will Bratt.

The Superstars Series is heading to Portugal for round five of the series next weekend. Filipe Albuquerque will be taking part in the Superstars GT Sprint, sharing the MTM Audi R8 LMS with Thomas Schöffler. He has competed in the Superstars before, competing at the Portuguese round in 2009 and 2010, driving an Audi RS 4 for Audi Sport Italia and taking victory at Portimao in 2010.

An Audi R8 GT road car, one of the limited edition cars of which only 333 units were made, has been converted into a track day car utilizing R8 LMS body work. The car is being called the “R8 GT ultra” by its owners, and is part of the MS Racing set-up and also has an orange kfzteile24 livery.

An Audi R18 e-tron quattro was at the Norisring this weekend, and completed demonstration laps. The car's bodywork had the same livery as the 2013 Le Mans race winning R18 e-tron quattro, whilst the actual car which won the race this year was at Goodwood. 

Audi Sport Communication / Media

The DTM had announced many plans for the future this year, highlighted by plans for DTM in North America and a proposed joint venture with the Japanese Super GT Championship. An agreement has been reached that a new set of regulations will be used across all three championships by 2017, namely the DTM in Germany, Super GT in Japan and the proposed North American touring car series, which will be managed by GRAND-AM. More information can be read HERE

3. Next Weekend’s events (20-21/07/2013)

  •           ELMS
  •           Superstars
  •           Superstars GT Sprint
  •           ADAC GT Masters
  •           Italian GT
  •           STT
  •           Super GT Test
  •           Cup & Tourenwagen
  •           Super Taikya
  •           VLN

All photos are hosted at their respective website which are listed within the Weekend Round Up