Sunday, August 25, 2013

Pirelli World Challenge: Two podiums for GMG Audi at Sonoma

By Johan Laubscher

The penultimate round of the 2013 Pirelli World Challenge headed to Sonoma, round eight of the season. It turned into a very consistent weekend for the Audis.

Four Audis were entered this weekend. Three Audi R8 LMS cars from GMG Racing, and one Audi R8 LMS ultra from DragonSpeed.

The Audis placed well during practice and qualifying yielded the highest placed Audi in fourth, the #14 GMG car of James Sofronas. It was a chaotic start to the race, which saw both championship contenders spun around in different incidents on the first lap: Sofronas in the Audi and Johnny O'Connell in the Cadillac. Sofronas was able to recover, helped by an early safety car period, and finished the race in third place.

Duncan Ende (#24 GMG R8 LMS) was the highest placed Audi, having taken second place. Elton Julian (#80 DragonSpeed R8 LMS ultra) finished fifth, followed by Bill Ziegler (#95 GMG R8 LMS) in eighth place, all four Audis within the top ten. The race was won by Andy Pilgrim in the factory #8 Cadillac CTS-V.R.

Houston will be hosting the finale of the Pirelli World Challenge in October. The Houston Grand Prix will be the scene for an Audi (James Sofronas) versus Cadillac (Johnny O'Connell and Andy Pilgrim) fight for the driver's title.

DragonSpeed has already announced that they are intending to compete in the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge. At the beginning of this week they announced a last minute deal which saw them competing in round eight of the 2013 World Challenge season at Sonoma this weekend. DragonSpeed was the first North American to acquire an Audi R8 LMS ultra, and this weekend’s participation at Sonoma also marked the North American track debut for an Audi R8 LMS ultra competing in the country.

Photo credit: Pirelli World Challenge