Sunday, November 24, 2013

FIA GT: WRT Audi drivers Vanthoor and Ortelli won Baku Championship Race and the 2013 title

By Tarek Ramchani

Baku hosted this afternoon a chaotic main Championship Race, the last ever race in FIA GT Series history. Audi performed very well all weekend long with pole position and victory in Qualifying Race was strong again with the customer R8 LMS ultra cars.

The big story is that Laurens Vanthoor and Stéphane Ortelli have won the 2013 FIA GT Series drivers' title. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers beat their team-mates Frank Stippler and Edward Sandstrom who finished second overall within the upper Pro-Cup class.

The race itself was a very chaotic one. Right from the start hard contacts on track with the #12 Audi R8 LMS ultra losing the first place. Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof's Audi was hit by a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and lost several positions. Meanwhile Markus Winkelhock recovred very well moving from tenth to second. Some laps later the #12 Audi R8 LMS was forced to head to pitlane after a contact with a McLaren MP4-12C. The safety car was deployed for several minutes. Later the #5Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra had to serve a drive through penalty for taking advantage at the start.

After the mandatory pit stops the #11 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Laurens Vanthoor was second on track. The Belgian driver pushed very hard behind the leading Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3. With 10 minutes to go the Audi took finally the overall lead. The WRT entry had to resist to a very fast McLaren MP4-12C from Hexis Racing in the closing stages of the race. Laurens Vanhtoor took the checkered flag victorious and won the 2013 FIA GT Series title with team mate Stéphane Ortelli and the delight of the whole Belgian Audi Club Team WRT crew members.

Behind the other Audi R8 LMS ultra cars finished respectively in seventh place with #14 Team Novadriver, eleventh with #13 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, twelfth with #5 Phoenix Racing and fifteenth with #12 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. Unfortunately the #18 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT did not start the race.

Today's FIA GT Series races concluded a great 2013 for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. Credits also to Phoenix Racing who showed a great pace all season long despite a lot of bad luck. Special mention to Team Novadriver, the Portuguese team was impressive in 2013 within the Pro-Am class.

Photo credit: Endurance-Info