Monday, August 27, 2012

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (25-26/08/2012)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing this week on the weekend of 25 - 26 August 2012

The twentieth edition of the Audi Motorsport blog Weekend Round Up features a spectacular weekend for Audi Sport. As was the case with the tenth edition, which featured the 2012 Le Mans 24 Hours, this week features another FIA WEC triumph along with an absolutely dominant display by Audi in the DTM.

2. The Events

  • DTM
  • VLN
  • SCCA World Challenge
  • SA Production Cars
  • ADAC GT Masters
  • STCC
  • ADAC Rallye Deutschland
  • FIA Hillclimb 

2.1. FIA WEC

It was a momentous occasion for Audi Sport Team Joest during the Silverstone Six Hours. It was the fourth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship. Audi arrived with two cars, one Audi R18 e-tron quattro and one R18 ultra. Much competition was expected from Toyota and indeed it was the case. The Audis and Toyotas set very similar times during the entire weekend. Audi locked out the front row but during the race the Toyota proved to be the fastest on track. It was Audi’s superior fuel efficiency which intimately won the race with less pitstops over the faster Toyota. The victory for the #1 Audi clinched the FIA WEC LMP1 manufacturer’s title for Audi. An outstanding achievement for the brand of the four rings. Furthermore along with the achievement comes the highlight of Toyota’s pace, the new team has stepped up to the plate and challenged the Audi team again. This is brilliant as it means that there is true competition at the sharp end of the LMP1 grid and we can look forward to a great second half of the FIA WEC season.

2.2. DTM

The DTM was hosted at Zandvoort in Holland, a track where Audi traditionally does very well. True to the Zandvoort form the Audis were the car to beat this weekend. Qualifying was dominated by the four rings with Audi locking out the top five places. The race itself was chaotic and exciting. Pole man Timo Scheider stalled at the start but the four Audis behind retained the lead at the front. Rocky and Mortara held the first two places as the pack fought behind them. Ekström battle hard for third place in the race which saw varied weather conditions. After contact between the opposition behind Ekström his third place became more secured while the battle for first began to heat up. During a small rain period Mortara was faster than Rocky and made his move for the lead at turn one. Mortara gained the lead and held it to the end for an Audi 1-2-3 finish. The result has secured Mortara the current fourth position in the championship points.

2.3. VLN

The eighth round of the VLN series proved to be very successful for the Audi brand. An overall 1-2 finish with the Audi R8 LMS ultra teams and another SP4T class victory for the TT RS. Raeder Motorsport were in top form this weekend. The team has had a resurgence during the last few rounds as they put their start of season bad luck behind them. Raeder stormed through the race and lead the #15 Phoenix Racing Audi over the line for victory, completing the 1-2 Audi finish. FH Köln Motorsport achieved the victory in the SP4T class in their red and white TT RS. In total thirteen Audis took part in the race. This weekend also marked the debut of another Audi R8 LMS Team, Twin Busch Motorsport who debuted their car at the green hell.

2.4. SCCA Pirelli World Challenge

The final round of the American SCCA World Challenge took place at Sears Point. Three Audis were entered for the event. The Don Istook Audi TT RS was entered along with, for the first time, two Audi R8 LMS cars from GMG Racing. Ultimately only one R8 took part in the race, the #40 car of Anders Hainer who finished in the top ten. The Istook TT RS finished eleventh in class.

2.5. Bridgestone Production Cars  

Zwartkops in Pretoria, South Africa, hosted its third event of the 2012 Bridgestone Production Car Championship. It was round seven of the series and for the first time since June four Audis were on the gird. The weekend saw the much anticipated debut of the young Gennaro Bonafede in the ex-Johan Fourie Racing Audi S4. The top Audi after the three races was the ever consistent Michael Stephen. The 2011 champion achieved three podium finished and the overall victory for the day, ensuring he remained at the top of the series points standings. The other Audis of Priest and Sipuka also did well but it proved to be a baptism of fire for Bonafede. The young driver showed tremendous debut pace this weekend but various incidents sidelined the young driver during the races. He will be back fighting and learning in Cape Town next time out.

2.6. ADAC GT Masters

The Audi teams in the ADAC GT Masters continued to battle against the balance of performance at the Lausitzring. The three usual entries from Prosperia UHC Speed and Mamerow Racing took part in the weekend. As was the case at the last round, no Audis made it into the top ten during qualifying. The only highlight from the weekend was when the #21 Audi R8 LMS ultra achieved a top six result during race two, all the other race results were well outside the top ten during the weekend.

2.7. DMV TCC

The German DMV Touring Car Championship hosted round five at the Red Bull Ring in Austria. Three Audis were on the gird. Roth Racing entered an Audi A4 STW and an Audi A4 DTM R11. Along with the DTM machine from Roth Racing the Slovakian team, Auto Sport Team Presskam, entered their yellow ABT-Audi TT-R. Edy Kamm won both races in his Audi A4 DTM followed by the TT-R which claimed a third place in race two.

2.8. STCC

The Scandinavian Touring Car Championship visited Jyllandsringen this weekend. BMS Racing were there with two Audi A4 S2000 race cars in the Semcon Cup for privateers. The Ahlberg brothers each scored a second place finish and the pair remained in second and third places in the points.

2.9. ADAC Rallye Deutschland

The Deutschland Rally took place this weekend. Behind all the top WRC runners at the front there were a few Audis in other categories competing as well. Among these was a white Audi TTS and a Audi Sport quattro S1.

2.10. FIA Hillclimb

The FIA Hillclimb Championship was at the Hillclimb Ilirska Bistrica in Slovenia this weekend. Various Audis took part, including the ABT-Audi TT-R driven by Vláďa Vitver. The safety car for the event was also an Audi, a R8 V8 race car.

2.11. Other Audi news

The Brandl Motorsport Audi TT RS which competes in the German VLN and RCN series was racing this weekend with APR logos. APR, who have gained massive experience at tuning Audi TT RS road cars, are now assisting Brandl Motorsport with engine tuning and set up.

It was very sad news that Rob Austin Racing was not present at the BTCC event this weekend. The team openly admits that budget is an issue for them and the trip to Scotland would have hurt them financially. The team thus decided to miss the Knockhill round, to concentrate on the following BTCC races. The team has mentioned that they hope to be at all of the final BTCC races from now till the end of 2012. 

Rob Austin Racing may not have been at Knockhill, but there was an Audi presence at the event. The Audi A4 STW that was driven in the 1997 BTCC by Frank Biela was at Knockhill. The car was part of the Knockhill twenty years of BTCC anniversary celebration. The last time this car was at Knockhill it was part of an Audi dominated weekend where Frank and his teammate, John Bintcliffe each took a win and achieved two Audi 1-2 finishes.

As was mentioned in point 2.7 the Auto Sport Team Presskam team took part in the DMV TCC this weekend. The team were racing with a “For Sale” sign on the car. The team have put their ABT-Audi TT-R (ex-Christian Abt) up for sale and has been listed at which can be seen HERE. It is interesting to note that the Audi A4 DTM R11 in the DMV TCC is also for sale, seen HERE.

GMG Racing partnered with Simraceway at the SCCA World Challenge event. The #14 Audi R8 LMS of James Sofronas was seen wearing Simracway logos during the weekend. Simraceway will soon be releasing an Audi R8 LMS ultra for their simulator racing game.

The Belgian WRT team have confirmed that they will enter one Audi R8 LMS ultra to defend their Zolder 24 Hours title. The car will be driven by Marco Bonanomi, Edward Sandström, Laurens Vanthoor and Anthony Kumpen.

This week it was announced that Lucas di Grassi will drive alongside Tom Kristensen and Allan McNish at the next FIA WEC round, hosted in Brazil.
3. Next Weekend’s events (1-2/09/2012)

  • FIA GT1
  • FIA GT3
  • Italian GT
  • Dutch Supercar
  • STT
  • VdeV
  • Swedish GT
  • Brazil GT
  • Canadian Super Production

All photos are hosted at their respective website which are listed within the Weekend Round Up