Sunday, September 29, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (28-29/09/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 28 - 29 September 2013

2. The Events

  •           DTM
  •           FIA GT Series
  •           ADAC GT Masters
  •           Grand-Am
  •           VLN
  •           DMV TCC
  •           AvD 100 Meilen
  •           Superstars GT Sprint
  •           Superstars
  •           BTCC
  •           SVRA
  •           Audi endurance experience (24-25 Sep)
  •           Norwegian GT
  •           Circuit des Remparts d'Angoulêmeles
  •           Histo Cup

2.1. DTM

The ninth and penultimate DTM round headed to Zandvoort in the Netherlands. Mike Rockenfeller arrived at Zandvoort with the distinct possibility of clinching the DTM title with one round to spare. The Audi squad got the weekend off to a good start during free practice on Saturday. Five Audis placed within the top ten that morning. Qualifying saw Mike Rockenfeller taking third on the grid ahead of Timo Scheider in fourth, leading six Audis inside of the top ten. The race began with Rocky making a massively good start and challenging for second, a place which he managed to take during the opening laps. A battle ensued between Rocky and Augusto Farfus, with Audi teammates backing up Rocky from behind. Rocky maintained second place during the race with Timo Scheider running in third. A late-race safety car period bunched up the field, leaving just a two lap dash to the flag. The positions at the front remained the same as Farfus won in his BMW and Rocky finished second, which was enough to clinch the title for Mike Rockenfeller. Rocky, the new DTM champion, lead home six Audis within the top ten. These latest results have elevated Audi into the lead of the manufacture’s championship and Audi Sport Team Phoenix into the lead of the team’s championship.

Audi race results: P2 Mike Rockenfeller, P3 Timo Scheider, P4 Mattias Ekström, P6 Adrien Tambay, P8 Filipe Albuquerque, P10 Miguel Molina, P13 Jamie Green, P14 Edoardo Mortara

2.2. FIA GT Series

Navarra in Spain hosted the fifth and penultimate FIA GT Series round this weekend. Four Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered, three from Belgian Audi Team WRT and one from Team Novadriver. WRT arrived with the goal of maintaining their advantage at the head of the driver’s and team’s points standings. During qualifying the Audis showed very well, as Stippler and Sandström qualified on the front row. The qualifying race got underway in wet conditions, with many teams gambling on tires. The #12 WRT Audi suffered on the wrong tires, but a terrific battle for second place ensued between the #11 and #13 WRT Audis. By the end of the race the #13 of Stippler and Sandtröm finished second, as Ortelli and Vanthoor dropped back to seventh, having gambled on the wrong tires during the pitstop. The #14 Team Novadriver Audi finished sixth overall, taking third in the PAM class. The main championship race on Sunday saw another podium result for WRT, as the #13 crew finished third, followed by their teammates in the #12 in fifth. The #11 of Vanthoor and Ortelli suffered brake issues and finished fifteenth. Team Novadriver finished ninth overall, again on the PAM podium. The championship battle will come down to the final round at Baku, as Ortelli and Vanthoor lead the standings in the #11 WRT Audi, just five points ahead of Stippler and  Sandström in the #13 WRT Audi. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT remain in the lead of the team’s championship points.

2.3. ADAC GT Masters

The finale of the ADAC GT Masters season was held at Hockenheim. The championship came down to the final round. Seven Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were entered. Three cars from Prosperia C.ABT Racing, two from MS Racing, one from YACO Racing and an additional guest entry from Phoenix Racing. Prosperia C.Abt Racing arrived as the leaders in the team’s standings and their #27 Audi driver crew, Christopher Mies and Rene Rast, were in the running for the driver’s title. Qualifying saw Rast and Mies as the leading Audi during both sessions, taking third on the gird for race one and fifth for race two. Race one turned into a very difficult race for Prosperia C.Abt Racing, as all three cars failed to finish. Rahel Frey suffered a massive crash and roll in the #26 Prosperia R8 LMS ultra, but fortunately she has been reported as unharmed. The best placed Audi during race one was the #1 MS Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra in eighth, the only Audi within the top ten. The second and final race ended with the Audis bouncing back. Four Audis finished within the top ten, as the #27 and #28 Prosperia Audis finished second and third, ahead of the #1 and #100 MS Racing Audis in fifth and seventh. The final results concluded with Prosperia C.Abt Racing being crowned as the team’s champions for the 2013 ADAC GT Masters season.  

2.4. Grand-Am

Lime Rock Park played host to the twelfth and final round of the Rolex Grand-Am Series. Fall-Line Motorsports was again the lone Audi entrant with their #46 Audi R8 GRAND-AM, driven by Al Carter and Eric Lux this weekend. They qualified in twelfth and finished the 2 hour forty-five minute race in twelfth place as well.

2.5. VLN

The seventh meeting of the VLN Endurance Championship was held at the Nürburgring this weekend. A total of seven Audis were entered. Only one Audi R8 LMS ultra was entered this weekend, the #44 Audi entry from Twin Busch Motorsport in the SP9 class. An army of six Audi TT cars were also entered. Three TT RS cars were entered in SP3T, joined by one TT and one TTS. One TT RS was entered in SP4T. The Audi Sport customer racing developed TT RS entries included Raeder Motorsport, Møller Bil Motorsport and Rotek Racing. During qualifying the Twin Busch R8 LMS ultra was the highest place Audi in eighth overall. There was an Audi 1-2-3-4 at the top of the SP3T class. The #331 Raeder Motorsport Audi TT RS took pole in SP3T and the #249 Rotek Racing TT RS took pole in SP4T. The race concluded with the #44 Twin Busch Audi R8 LMS ultra unfortunately running low on fuel during the final lap, while they were running as high as second. The fuel miscalculation cost the team and they were ultimately classified as a non finisher. SP3T was dominated by the Audi TT RS cars, as the #331 Raeder entry won the class ahead of the #334 Møller Bil TT RS and the #290 TT RS in third. Rotek Racing won the SP4T class.

2.6. DMV TCC

The DMV Touring Car Challenge headed to Monza for its eighth and penultimate round of the season. RS Tuning was entered with their two-car Audi R8 LMS ultra team. A third Audi joined the gird this weekend, the ex-ROC French Supertourisme Audi 80 of Joachim Duscher. During qualifying for the first race the highest Audi was that of Haggenmüller, who qualified twelfth overall and seventh in class. Weidt qualified seventeenth overall and eighth in class. The Audi 80 of Duscher was twenty-eighth overall, sixth in class. Qualifying for race two again yielded Haggenmüller as the highest Audi, this time placing thirteenth overall, eighth in class. Weidt qualified nineteenth overall and ninth in class. Duscher was thirtieth overall, fifth in class. Race one ended with Haggenmüller finishing fifth in class, placing tenth overall. Weidt finished sixteenth overall and seventh in class, whilst Duscher was unfortunately not classified as a finisher and also did not take part in the second race. Race two saw Haggenmüller finishing eighth overall, fifth in class and Weidt in fifteenth overall, seventh in class. 

Monza Motorsport FB page / Stefano Ciabattoni

2.7. AvD 100 Meilen

The sixth and final round of the 2013 AvD 100 Meilen championship took place at Monza this weekend. RS Tuning took part with a single Audi R8 LMS ultra entry. This was the third AvD 100 Meilen event in succession which saw the participation of the RS Tuning Audi R8 LMS ultra. The team won round four overall at the Red Bull Ring, followed by a GT class runner-up spot at Dijon, round five. The RS Tuning Audi R8 LMS ultra was shared by Suzanne Weidt and Dietmar Haggenmüller in the AvD 100 Meilen race at Monza. The same two drivers who piloted the team’s two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in the DMV TCC races on Saturday. The RS Tuning Audi R8 LMS ultra cars feature the full 2013 specification, as they are allowed to run the original 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra rear diffuser in the DMV TCC and the AvD 100 Melien. They qualified in eighth place overall, taking pole in the Div-4.1 class. By the end of the race the #88 Audi R8 LMS ultra crossed the finish line in sixth place overall. This result was enough to clinch victory in the Div-4.1 class, and they were also the leading GT class car in the race, finishing behind the prototype runners. This weekend concluded the 2013 AvD 100 Meilen season, which was highlighted by RS Tuning’s overall win at the Red Bull Ring in August.

2.8. Superstars GT Sprint

The Superstars GT Sprint Series headed to Imola for its penultimate round of the season. MTM Motorsport continued their good form with the Audi R8 LMS. Thomas Schöffler, MTM’s lead driver, arrived at Imola as the GT Sprint championship points leader. The team’s aim was to defend his championship lead this weekend, ahead of the finale in October. He was joined by Johan Kristoffersson this weekend, sharing the controls of the #45 Audi R8 LMS. This was the second time that Kristoffersson had joined Schöffler and MTM this season, as he had also raced with the team during round two at Brno in May. They qualified on pole for race one, followed by second on the grid for race two. The two races were held on Sunday, with the first race seeing the Audi MTM pairing finishing in first place. They backed up that result with another victory in race two. It has been another very good weekend for MTM and Thomas Schöffler remains the championship points leader as the team heads to the finale at Vallelunga in October.

2.9. Superstars

The Superstars Series headed to round seven at Imola. Audi Sport Italia arrived with a full set of three Audi RS 5 quattro race cars. Championship points leader and lead Audi Sport Italia driver, Gianni Morbidelli, was joined by Davide Di Benedetto and Giuseppe Cipriani. During qualifying the Audis struggled and Gianni Morbidelli was the highest Audi on the grid in eighth. Race one saw the Audis improving in the wet conditions, as Gianni Morbidelli moved up to second ahead of Di Benedetto in fourth and Cipriani in ninth. Race two again saw the Audi drivers capitalizing with quattro in the wet weather. Gianni Morbidelli won the second race, extending his championship lead even further. His teammates, Di Benedetto and Cipriani, finished fourth and fifth respectively.

2.10. BTCC

The penultimate BTCC round headed to Silverstone, running on the national circuit this weekend. Rob Austin Racing was back on the grid with their two Audi A4 NGTC race cars. The team was on a high following their maiden BTCC victory with Rob Austin at Rockingham last time out. Qualifying saw the Audis in seventeenth and nineteenth, with Bratt ahead of Austin. Rob Austin was able to recover during race one, as he went from nineteenth to twelfth. Race two saw an unfortunate crash for Rob Austin, but his teammate, Will Bratt, was able to score twelfth place. The third and final race saw Rob Austin finishing in seventeenth.

2.11. SVRA

The SVRA hosted the Heacock Classic Gold Cup at Virginia International Raceway. Two Audis were entered at this historic racing event. The first entry was that of Travis Engen and his Audi R8 (#606) run by GMT Racing. The second entry was an ex-Champion Racing Audi S4 Competition driven by Mike Fisher.

2.12. Audi endurance experience

The Audi race experience was at Magny Cours this week. This is a one-make series consisting of Audi A1 race cars run by Audi France. This was the fourth meeting of 2013 and was run on 24-25 September this week.

2.13. Norwegian GT

The Norwegian NBF GT Racing Championship held its sixth and final round at Mantorp Park. This series has seen a number of Audi race cars competing, including: 2007 Audi A4 DTM R13, Audi A5 TDI, Audi 80 and Audi RS 4.

2.14. Circuit des Remparts d'Angoulêmeles

The Circuit des Remparts d'Angoulêmeles was held in France this weekend. A number of Audis were present, including an Audi quattro A1 rally car.

2.15. Histo Cup

The Austrian Histo Cup was also at Monza this weekend. The #237 V8 powered Audi A4 B5 of Hans Huber was present.

Monza Motorsport FB page / Stefano Ciabattoni

2.16. Other Audi News

The official Audi Sport Facebook page reached 250000+ likes this week. The new milestone was celebrated with an image featuring the number 250000 along with the #2 Audi R18 e-tron quattro, the #24 AJR Audi R8 GRAND-AM and the #19 Phoenix Racing Audi RS 5 DTM of Mike Rockenfeller.

Tom Kristensen has been conformed for the 2013 Race of Champions. Mr Le Mans has taken part in the event during recent years and he will again be back to fight for the title. The 2013 Race of Champions will be taking place at Bangkok’s Rajamangala Stadium on the weekend of 14-15 December.

The last big daylong endurance race of the year will be the 25 Hours of Thunderhill in North America. Audi R8 LMS entries will be debuting at the event this year. The provisional entry list with the current registered entrants was released this week. A total of two Audi cars are included thus far. The two cars are Audi R8 LMS vehicles, both entered by GMG Racing in the ES class. Rotek Racing have mentioned on their Facebook page that they will be at the 25 Hours of Thunderhill this year. Rotek Racing has been campaigning an Audi TT RS (VLN SP4T) car in the German VLN Endurance Championship this year, the very same car that was used by 034 Motorsport at the 2012 25 Hours of Thunderhill. Their Audi TT RS entry is expected to appear on the provisional entry list very soon, thus taking the current Audi count up to three cars. The 2013 25 Hours of Thunderhill is scheduled to take place from 7-8 December.

The third edition of the Gulf 12 Hours at the Yas Marina Circuit in Abu Dhabi will be taking place in December. United Autosports will be returning to the event once more, armed with their Audi R8 LMS ultra. The provisional entry list has been released and updated. Thus far the entry list includes a large number of GT3 competitors, including one Audi R8 LMS ultra. United Autosports will be fielding two cars this year, their R8 LMS ultra and one McLaren MP4-12C. 11-13 December 2013 will see the third Gulf 12 Hours being hosted at Yas Marina.

Phoenix Racing had a guest appearance in the ADAC GT Masters this weekend. The team entered one Audi R8 LMS ultra for the season finale hosted at Hockenheim. The #49 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by Nico Verdonck and Enzo Ide. Phoenix Racing also added “Go Rocky” logos on the car in support of Mike Rockenfeller who was fighting for the DTM title at Zandvoort.

A FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting was held on Friday, 27 September. A number of announcements were made ahead of 2014 regarding a number of FIA championships. It was announced that the LMP1 field will be split into two classes: LMP-L (light) for non-hybrid privateers and LMP-H (hybrid) for factory and privateer hybrid entries.

An announcement regarding the future of the GT regulations was also made at the FIA World Motor Sport Council meeting on Friday. It was announced that a new proposed set of rules are being developed to converge the GTE and GT3 categories. The new rule set will be put forward in June of 2014 with GT+ and GT categories, to be implemented by 2016.

Due to Rene Rast being in the ADAC GT Masters title fight he was seen at Hockenheim aiming for the title with Prosperia C.ABT Racing this weekend. With the FIA GT Series also taking place at Navarra in Spain this weekend, Oliver Jarvis was called in to take Rast’s regular seat in the #12 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra, alongside Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof.

The Baku World Challenge in Azerbaijan is set to host the finale of the 2013 FIA GT Series. The event, hosted on the city street course, was originally scheduled for 18-20 October, but it has now been moved to 22-24 November.

3. Next Weekend’s events (5-6/10/2013)

  •           SA Production Cars
  •           British GT
  •           STT
  •           Pirelli World Challenge
  •           RCN (3/10)
  •           GT Open
  •           Supercars International Series
  •           Brazilian GT
  •           Cup und Tourenwagen Trophy
  •           Race Trophy Austria
  •           Super GT

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