Sunday, July 26, 2015

Spa 24 Hours: Double podium for the new Audi R8 LMS in the Belgian classic

By Tarek Ramchani

Audi achieved a great double podium at the demanding and prestigious Spa 24 Hours with the two factory supported teams, Audi Sport Team WRT and Audi Sport Team Phoenix. The new Audi R8 LMS cars and the old Audi R8 LMS ultra cars performed very well in the Belgian classic but had different endings and results. At the end of thrilling, hard and fought endurance race, three new Audi R8 LMS cars were inside the Top 5.

Stéphane Ortelli, Frank Stippler and Nico Müller who started the Spa 24 Hours from pole position ended the demanding endurance event in second behind the winning #46 BMW Z4 GT3 from BMW Sports Trophy Team Marc VDS.

The three factory Audi drivers shared the #2 Audi R8 LMS from Audi Sport Team WRT. The car took the race lead earlier this morning following the retirement of the #45 BMW Z4 GT3 but not for long. The #46 BMW Z4 GT3 was able to catch the Audi and took the lead.

Stéphane Ortelli, Frank Stippler and Nico Müller never gave up and kept pushing in all their stints. Unfortunatelly they were not able to challenge the Belgian run BMW again. In the end a very strong second in the stellar event of the Blancpain Endurance Series for the brand new Audi GT challenger following the stunning victory at the Nurburgring 24 Hours.

Audi Sport Team Phoenix two Audi R8 LMS cars had a very unlucky start on Saturday. Both cars lost many placeds but were able to recover and bounced back very well.

The #5 Audi R8 LMS of Nicki Thiim, Christopher Mies and Christian Mamerrow took the final spot on the podium. A special mention to Nicki Thiim who had some amazing stints with very fast lap times on Sunday morning. A great result for the Ernst Moser managed squad following all the bad luck this season in both Blancpain Endurance Series and Blancpain Sprint Series.

The sister #6 car of André Lotterer, Marcel Fassler and Mike Rockenfeller took a honorable fifth place overall.

The second Audi Sport Team WRT entry, the #1 Audi R8 LMS had a very hard race and ended in twenty-first place. The car driven by Laurens Vanthoor, René Rast and Markus Winkelhock. The car lead for several hours on Saturday but lost many laps following an off from Laurens Vanthoor. The car was able to recover but lost again many laps in the final hour of the race following additional technical issues.

A senstational Spa 24 Hours race for privateer Team Parker Racing. The British squad took the Am-Cup class victory with their #24 Audi R8 LMS ultra and ended the 24-hour enduro in an amazing fourteenth place overall.

The car was driven by Benny Simonsen, Ian Loggie, Julian Westwood and Callum Macleod. The four drivers had a phenomenal race and simply dominated the Am-Cup field without making any mistake on track or pitlane.

More to come.

Photo credit: Audi Media