Wednesday, September 17, 2014

EuroV8 Series: Audi Sport Italia keen to bring back their quattros to one of the most four wheel drive-friendly venues

Audi Sport Italia Press Release
  •    Tomas Kostka's knowledge of the German circut may help his uphill title run
  •    Emanuele Zonzini, Ermanno Dionisio look forward to Sachsenring challenge
Nibbiola, Italy –  Emilio Radaelli’s team made its last Sachsenring appearance several years ago: on June 30, 1996, the team ran and operated a works Audi A4 Quattro in the fourth leg of D1 ADAC STW-Cup, albeit the car was entered by French team AZK-ROC. Austria’s Phillip Peter – whose then-race engineer Massimo del Prete still builds four-ring cars in Novara, Italy today – drove superbly in the Sprint race to clinch his maiden tin-top win, which remarkably was also the lone success for the Italian team headed by the former rallying co-driver in German SuperTouring.

This weekend Audi Sport Italia is again set to field quattros at Sachsenring, although today the V8s are run as a private operation. Nonetheless the circuit layout as well as the assets of a car that has sweeped the available titles in the past two seasons make the Audi camp fairly optimistic about the German leg, aiming high: Tomas Kostka, Emanuele Zonzini and Ermanno Dionisio all wish to be up to the task.

The Zlin, Czech Republic-based driver is among the very few V8 men that have been driving at this venue before, and this may well prove a precious advantage, even over his team mates. Veteran Ermanno Dionisio has put in his best races mostly at twisty tracks, and Sachsenring may well suit him, as well. However, young gun Emanuele Zonzini clicked with the RS 5 from the word go and he especially may be a precious help for the Czech teammate, as Audi have to shoot for a 1-2, possibly the only way for Kostka to reboot his title hopes and move the title fight to the Hockenheimring decider.

Currently the #1 RS 5 sits in P3 in the standings, 20-point removed from provisional leader Nicola Baldan’s Mercedes coupe. If things go according to plan, on Sunday Kostka may leapfrog runner-up Francesco Sini. The Chevrolet standard-bearer has a tiny 3-point edge over Kostka, and Sachsenring hardly seems to suit the U.S.-born V8 Camaro as much as the coupe hailing from Ingolstadt. Audi Sport Italia’s drivers will have to cope with the same Balance of Performance package that awaited them in Rome: 1,500-kgs minimum weight, a ride height set at 90mm and air restrictors that shrink to 79 from the 85mm allowed at Brno in the previous leg. 

Saturday, September 20
08:00-08:30 practice
14:20-14:50 practice
18:20-18:50 qualifying
Sunday, September 21
09:25-09:40 warm up
14:05 25-minute race (+1 lap)

1. Baldan 133 points
2. Sini 116 pts.
3. KOSTKA 113 pts.
4. Mercatali 108 pts.
5. Copetti 92 pts.
6. Mugelli 91 pts.
7. STANCHERIS 71 pts.

Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia