By Johan Laubscher
1. The Weekend
Focussing on the weekend of 18 - 19 January 2014
2. The Events
- Rally Monte Carlo
2.1. Rally Monte Carlo
The 2014 season is beginning to pick up speed and a number of motorsport events have taken place. With few Audi related races taking place this weekend, we have included a look at the Rally Monte Carlo with the Volkswagen Motorsport rally team, which was held this weekend.
The FIA World Rally Championship got underway with the annual Rally Monte Carlo. Reigning champion Sébastien Ogier and Julien Ingrassia began the 2014 season in perfect style, by taking a commanding victory.
Their teammates also placed well, ensuring that all three of the factory Volkswagen Polo R WRC cars finished within the top ten. Jari-Matti Latvala and Miikka Anttila finished fifth, ahead of Andreas Mikkelsen and Mikko Markkula in seventh.
2.2. Other Audi News
Nico Müller will be joining the Audi Sport DTM squad for 2014. He will be behind the wheel of one of the eight Audi RS 5 DTM cars. The Swiss driver will be taking the place of Filipe Albuquerque in the driver line-up. Nico Müller tested with the Audi RS 5 DTM during 2013.
Filipe Albuquerque, who had been a factory Audi DTM driver since 2011, will now be switching to Audi’s LMP and GT (Audi R8 LMS / ultra) racing programs. He will be driving one of the Audi Sport Team Joest Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars at the Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps and the Le Mans 24 Hours.
An Audi R18 e-tron quattro was on display at the Vienna Autoshow 2014 in Austria this week. The car was part of the official Audi display at the show.
The Salon de l'Auto show opened in Brussels this week. A number of Audis are at the show, including an Audi R18 e-tron quattro and a Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra.
Hitotsuyama Racing will be remaining loyal to Audi Sport customer racing for yet another season in Japan, despite what was a very tough 2013 season.
The team, who has spearheaded the Audi R8 LMS participation in Japan since 2011, has always remained loyal to the Audi R8 LMS. 2013 was a very difficult year for the team in Japan, as the R8 LMS ultra was heavily hit by the imposed Balance of Performance. Hitotsuyama Racing was the sole Audi entrant in the Super GT during the bulk of the 2013 season.
Many rumours circulated that Hitotsuyama Racing might be moving away from Audi for 2014. After the Fuji Sprint Cup the team posted on their Facebook page: “Thanks to our drivers Akihiro and Richard, mechanics, and everyone who supported us this season. We will be back with a new package next year. Please stay tuned.”
Great news emerged on Monday, as Hitotsuyama Racing, via their website and Facebook page, announced that they will once again be fielding their Audi R8 LMS ultra in the GT300 class of the Japanese Super GT.
The blog post on their website also mentions the possibility of upping their team from one car, up to possibly two or three Audi R8 LMS ultra vehicles.
It is very exciting news to hear that Hitotsuyama Racing will be remaining with Audi Sport customer racing.
A two-car team will be entered by Audi Sport Italia in the 2014 Italian GT Championship. The driver line-ups for the two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars will be announced later.
Prosperia C.ABT Racing, the 2013 ADAC GT Masters teams’ champions, will be returning to the German series this year. They will once again be fielding three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. Their driver line-ups will be announced later.
The V de V Endurance Series Facebook page has revealed their initial entrants for the 2014 season. An Audi R8 LMS ultra from WRT is included on the list.
W Racing Team will be fielding one Audi R8 LMS ultra for Harry Teneketzian and Grégoire Chaix. The pair are no strangers to the R8 LMS, as they were seen behind the wheel of an ex-WRT R8 LMS entered by AB Sport Auto during the 2012 and 2013 V de V seasons (2013 pictured above).
WRT has previously competed in the V de V, when they entered a single Audi R8 LMS for François Verbist, Yves Weerts and Kurt Mollekens at Catalunya in Spain, round one of the 2012 V de V Endurance Series.
Team Parker Racing from Great Britain will be joining the Audi Sport customer racing family this year. They will be fielding a single Audi R8 LMS ultra in the Blancpain Endurance Series. Their driver line-up includes Ian Loggie, Chris Jones and Julian Westwood.
Absolute Racing completed testing at Zhuhai for the Audi R8 LMS Cup. A number of Audi R8 LMS vehicles took part. These cars will be seen in the 2014 Audi R8 LMS Cup, where up to twenty-four of these Audi GT3 vehicles will be racing in the third season of the Audi-one make championship in Asia.
Melbourne Performance Centre are hard at work preparing for the 2014 Bathurst 12 Hour. They will be entering three Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars for their customers. The Melbourne Performance Centre Facebook page released a sneak peak of the livery for the Mark Eddy / Marc Cini Audi R8 LMS ultra this week.
Robin Larsson will be behind the wheel of a new Audi A1 Supercar rallycross category vehicle this year. The new Larsson Jernberg Racing team will be entering the car in various Rallycross events.
The team aims to complete in the 2014 European Rallycross Championship and to take part in the Swedish round of the FIA World Rallycross Championship. They want to progress up to the FIA World Rallycross Championship in the future. Their car will be a four-wheel drive Audi A1 built for the rallycross Supercar category.
DRIVE's Chris Harris on Cars has released their latest video this week and it features a comparison between an Audi R8 V10 plus road car and an Audi R8 LMS ultra from Audi race experience (TKL Motorsport).
The test took place at a damp Nürburgring Grand Prix circuit last October. It is a very interesting video and it is great to hear a comparison between the top of the line R8 road car and the latest generation of the race version. The video can be seen HERE.
3. Next Weekend’s events (25-26/01/2014)
- 24 Hours of Daytona
All photos are hosted at their respective websites, which are listed within the Weekend Round Up