Sunday, October 6, 2013

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (5-6/10/2013)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing on the weekend of 5 - 6 October 2013

2. The Events

  •           Pirelli World Challenge
  •           British GT
  •           Brazilian GT
  •           Super GT
  •           STT
  •           SA Production Cars
  •           Midas Clubmans
  •           RCN (3/10)
  •           Cup und Tourenwagen Trophy
  •           Curbstone Track Events (30/9)
  •           Austrian Hillclimb

2.1. Pirelli World Challenge

The finale of the Pirelli World Challenge took place on the streets of Houston this weekend. It was a title showdown between James Sofronas in his GMG Racing Audi R8 LMS and Johnny O'Connell in his factory Cadillac CTS-V.R, which ended in heartbreak for GMG Racing. James Sofronas arrived in Houston as the points leader, with a mere 21 point lead over O'Connell. Three Audis were entered this weekend: two Audi R8 LMS cars from GMG Racing in the GT class and one Audi TT RS car from Istook Motorsports in the GTS class.The second GMG R8 LMS was piloted by Rene Rast, the factory Audi Sport customer racing driver, who had been added to the squad to support Sofronas’ bid for the title. Rast immediately showed his pace by placing second in the first practice session and first in the second session. Sofronas was sixth in both of the practice sessions. Qualifying was cancelled due to track altercations in the long break between practice sessions one and two, thus the grid was determined by championship points. This resulted in James Sofronas gaining the crucial pole position and Rene Rast starting sixth, last in the GT class, as he had no points on the table.The race itself saw very wet conditions. Sofronas lead the way ahead with Rast immediately moving up to fifth. The sixth placed Volvo misjudged the very next corner and went off and blocked Rast on track, resulting in Rast falling far behind. Sofronas continued to lead at the front as Rast began a tremendous recovery drive, lapping much faster than the front runners. Pobst in the Volvo took the lead followed by Sofronas ahead of O'Connell. Rast was able to catch and pass O'Connell, taking third and defending Sofronas in second. As the track began to dry the Cadillacs began to show pace. Sofronas suffered rear contact from Andy Pilgrim in the second Cadlillac, who had gotten past Rast. The resulting damage slowed Sofronas on track. O'Connell was able to take the lead from Pobst in the Volvo, whilst a massive battle ensued behind them with robust racing between the Audis and the second Cadillac. In the closing minutes Sofronas suffered a rear puncture and the championship dream finally came to an end, as O'Connell won the race and the championship. Rast finished fourth and Sofronas finished fifth within the GT class, taking second in the championship.

2.2. British GT

Donington Park played host to the British GT finale. Two Audis were entered this weekend: one Audi R8 LMS ultra from United Autosports and one R8 LMS from Blendini Motorsport. United Autosports arrived at the event with their drivers, Matthew Bell and Mark Patterson, still in the hunt for the driver’s title. It was a must win scenario, as they needed race victory and misfortune for fellow competitors. They qualified seventh for the two hour event. The race got underway with a terrific stint from Patterson, who was able to move up to the top three. Bell took over after the pit stop and stormed into the lead. During the closing stages the points stood at a mark which would have crowned the Audi drivers as champions, but unfortunately the final positions dictated that the Audi pairing would ultimately finish second in the points, missing out on the title by a mere 1.5 points. United Autosports may have missed the title, but they did win the final race of the year.

2.3. Brazilian GT

Velopark in Porto Alegre played host to the sixth Brazilian GT Championship round this weekend. It was a bittersweet event for Ebrahim Motors and their Audi R8 LMS ultra. Ebrahim Motors have been fielding one Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Brazilian GT Championship this year, the #20 Audi driven by Ebrahim brothers: Wagner and Fábio Ebrahim. They again showed good pace this weekend. The first qualifying session yielded fourth on the grid, followed by pole position for race two. The first race took place on Saturday, which saw the Ebrahim pairing starting and finishing in fourth place. Race two got underway on Sunday with the Audi R8 LMS ultra leading from the front, closely followed by the #16 Blau Lamborghini Gallardo. A fierce battle for the lead ensued until the Ebrahim Motors Audi began to slow on track. The Audi entered the pits for a retirement from the second race.

2.4. Super GT

Autopolis hosted round seven of the Japanese Super GT. Hitotsuyama Racing was entered with their 2013 Audi R8 LMS ultra and their regular two drivers: Akihiro Tsuzuki and Richard Lyons. They qualified very well by taking seventh place within the GT300 class. The final race result was twenty-first position and five laps down, after a race with many incidents.

2.5. STT

The Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy hosted round six at the Nürburgring. A total of five Audis took part this weekend. The entered Audis included: one Audi TT RS SP4T, one Audi A4 STW, one Audi A3, one new Audi R8 LMS ultra and one Audi A4 DTM R11. The Audi R8 LMS ultra in the field was that of Berthold Gruhn, who had previously driven an Audi TT RS SP4T. He debuted his new R8 LMS ultra in the STT this weekend. He had previously successfully debuted/rolled out the car in the Bördesprint Cup at Oschersleben during August (pictured in the photo above). Race two of the weekend was won by Edy Kamm in his Audi A4 DTM.

2.6. SA Production Cars

The South African Bridgestone Production Car Championship headed to Killarney in Cape Town. Four Audi S4s were entered for this eighth round of the 2013 season. Two Audi S4s from Terry Moss Racing and two from VMP Motorsport. The highest Audi during qualifying was that of Gennaro Bonafede, who lead all four Audis placing in positions four through seven. Race one finished with Michael Stephen in third ahead of Bonafede and Sipuka. Priest did not start in race one, due to an engine issue. Race two with the reverse grid yielded an Audi S4 victory as Stephen won ahead of Bonafede in third and Sipuka in fifth. Priest was able to go out and complete one lap during race two, a fast flying lap which was enough to claim pole for race three. The third and final race saw Melvill Priest starting on pole and going flag to flag for a dominant victory. Behind Priest it was Stephen in third and Bonafede in fourth, however Priest was disqualified for a boost irregularity, which promoted Stephen to second and Bonafede to third. Michael Stephen, the reigning two-time class A champion, remains the clear championship points leader.

2.7. Midas Clubmans

The Midas Clubmans, a Western Cape regional championship in Cape Town, also held a round at the national race day at Killarney. Two ex-national Class A Audi A4s were entered by Andre Johnson and Nieyaaz Modack. Race one concluded with an Audi 1-2, as Johnson won ahead of Modack. Johnson made it a double by winning race two as well, whilst Modack retired.

2.8. RCN

Round eight of the RCN was held at the Nürburgring on Thursday this week. A variety of Audi race car took part, which totalled five Audis on the grid.

2.9. Cup und Tourenwagen Trophy

Round seven of the Cup und Tourenwagen Trophy was held at the Nürburgring. A single Audi was entered this weekend, the Mk1 Audi TT of Franz-Josef Fischer.

2.10. Curbstone Track Events

The latest Curbstone Track Events track day was held at Spa on Monday, 30 September this week. A large number of cars took part, including the blue/white Audi R8 LMS ultra that has been seen at recent Curbstone events. The car is prepared and run by WRT for their customer/owner of the vehicle.

2.11. Austrian Hillclimb

The OSK-Bergrallye-Pokal was held in Austria this weekend. Andreas Marko was entered with his Marko Racing Audi A4 STW and won the event. 

Marko Racing FB page

2.12. Other Audi News

Two DTM superstars will be joining the 2013 Bathurst 1000 grid next weekend. One of the two international drivers is non-other than Audi Sport factory DTM driver, and two-time DTM champion, Mattias Ekström. Ekström will be joined by BMW’s Andy Priaulx, the multiple WTCC champion and current BMW factory DTM driver. The pair will be behind the wheel of the Xbox One Holden Commodore wild card entry, entered and run by Triple Eight Race Engineering. The pairing took part in a test session at Queensland Raceway this week. For Priaulx it was the first time on track with the new generation of Australian V8 Supercars, as he has competed at Bathurst in the past. For Ekström it was a first taste of a V8 Supercar and he is looking forward to his first laps at Mount Panorama next week. 

Rene Rast joined GMG Racing in Houston this weekend. The factory Audi Sport customer racing driver was added to the squad in order to support Sofronas’ bid for the GT driver’s title. Rast was behind the wheel of the #95 GMG / Swisher Racing Audi R8 LMS of Bill Ziegler.

The PK Carsport Audi R8 LMS was on display at the Audi Delorge Showroom in Belgium this week. The team has been competing in the Belgian Racing Car Championship this year (BRCC), where they are currently battling for the title, which will be decided at the final round at Zolder next weekend.

The thirtieth anniversary of the Audi Sport quattro is being celebrated this year. A special modern Audi Sport quattro concept was revealed at the 2013 IAA a few weeks ago and now it is also being celebrated with a display at the Audi museum mobile. The display will include Audi Sport quattro road car examples showing all of the production colours. Motorsport variants of the Sport quattro will also be on display, including the 1987 Pikes Peak winning Audi Sport quattro S1.

Two Audi Sport customer racing cars arrived at Audi Forum Neckarsulm this weekend, to be part of the 30 Jahre quattro GmbH display. The two cars include the 2012 Nürburgring 24 Hours race winning Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra and a white Audi Sport customer racing Audi TT RS.

3. Next Weekend’s events (12-13/10/2013)

  •           BTCC
  •           Superstars
  •           Superstars GT Sprint
  •           BRCC
  •           GT Asia
  •           Spanish GT
  •           DMV TCC
  •           French Rallycross
  •           Canadian Super Production
  •           VLN
  •           Dutch Power Pack
  •           GT Tour

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