Saturday, March 14, 2015

24H Series: Unlucky race for Audi TT RS and Audi R8 teams at the 12H Italy-Mugello

By Johan Laubscher

The International Endurance Series (24H Series) hosted the 12H Italy-Mugello this weekend, round two of the season. Two Audi teams entered one car each in the SP2 class for this endurance race at Mugello in Italy.

This 12-hour event was split into two parts, the first four hours were run on Friday and the final eight hours on Saturday after the cars were parked overnight.

Regular 24H Series entrant, Red Camel Racing, entered its #159 Audi R8 driven by Robert Nearn, Henk Thijssen and Ivo Breukers. It is one of the two privately built Creventic Audi R8 V8 race cars, which are also known as “CR-8”. These Audis were built by Creventic and the first one debuted at the 2008 24 Hours of Dubai. Red Camel Racing later acquired one of the cars and has been competing with it for a number of years.

Red Camel Racing was joined on the grid by LMS Engineering. The German team entered one of its Audi TT RS cars that normally competes in the SP3T class of the VLN Endurance Series. The #96 Audi TT RS was driven by Chris Tiger, Ulrich Andree and Patrik Kaiser. This car was originally entered in the A3T class of the 24H Series, but it was moved up to the SP2 class following its pace in qualifying.

Qualifying saw LMS Engineering listed as taking pole position in the A3T class, setting the thirty-second fastest time overall. The car was run in the SP2 class during the race. Red Camel Racing was fourth in class, thirty-eighth overall.

Both Audi teams ran well during the opening four hours on Friday. LMS Engineering ended the first segment of the race third in class and Red Camel Racing was fourth, twenty-second and twenty-fifth overall respectively.

Eight more hours of racing got underway on Saturday and LMS Engineerig continued to run well and moved forward through the class. With less than three hours to go the LMS Engineering Audi TT RS moved into the SP2 class lead and everything looked good until tragedy struck for the German team at the ten-hour mark. A gearbox failure unfortunately put an end to LMS Engineering's race whilst the #96 Audi TT RS was leading the SP2 class.

Red Camel Racing ran into gearbox linkage and crankshaft sensor issues during Saturday and dropped back down the order. The team soldiered on and finished fifth and last among the SP2 class runners, fifty-fourth overall.

Round three of the 24H Series will be the 12H Zandvoort from 29-30 May.

Photo credit: 24H Series