Sunday, September 30, 2012

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (29-30/09/2012)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing this week on the weekend of 29 - 30 September 2012

2. The Events

  •           FIA WEC
  •           DTM
  •           FIA GT1
  •           Grand Am
  •           VLN
  •           ADAC GT Masters
  •           French GT Tour
  •           Japanese Super GT
  •           GT Asia
  •           STT
  •           Austrian Hillclimb

2.1. FIA WEC

The FIA World Endurance Championship visited Bahrain for round six. Audi Sport Team Joest raced two Audi R18 e-tron quattros for the first time since Le Mans. The decision was made in order two give both driving teams an equal chance in the driver’s title battle. The decision resulted in a race against time as the Audi Sport crew had to convert the #2 Audi R18 ultra (chassis #205) into an e-tron quattro before leaving for Bahrain. The two e-tron cars arrived at Bahrain and the battle with Toyota resumed. The teams traded fastest session times and ultimately Audi locked out the front row with McNish taking pole. The race was eventful and the high temperatures contributed to high attrition. The Toyota was once again a formidable opponent and pressured the Audis until a small technical fault dropped the Toyota down the field. The two Audis raced amongst themselves at the front and after an eventful race the #1 finished ahead of #2 for an Audi 1-2 finish.

2.2. DTM

The DTM arrived at Valencia this weekend. The Audi A5 DTM teams showed good pace and achieved good qualifying results with three Audis in the top four and seven in the top ten. The race turned into a procession of Audi cars behind the leading BMW. Mortara held second for most of the race, until he retired late in the proceedings. The unfortunate retirement for Mortara promoted Tambay and Ekström onto the podium. Rahel Frey had the race of her life as she battled for seventh place. She eventually finished seventh after she faced robust driving from BMW. Audi achieved second through fifth places. With Frey in seventh it resulted in five Audis in the top ten. This consistent result has put Audi in the lead of the manufactures championship points. 

2.3. FIA GT1

The finale of the FIA GT1 World Championship was at Donginton this weekend. The rescheduled event took place alongside the British GT series. The two WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were on good form. The #32 took pole for the qualifying race with Adam Carroll joining Vanthoor this weekend as Ortelli is competing in the French GT. The qualifying race was eventful and ultimately the #32 finished in second place as the #33 of Jarvis went off into the gravel causing a safety car. The championship race was an extremely eventful affair with WRT finishing in fourth and seventh. The race was disrupted by safety cars and a red flag crash involving the title contenders from Mercedes-Benz and BMW. WRT claimed third in the championship points standings, narrowly missing out on second place. 

2.4. Grand Am

After a season of highs and lows the APR Motorsport team celebrated at the final Grand Am round held at Lime Rock. The team have been improving their Audi R8 GRAND-AM at every event at this has paid dividends. The race was a brilliant display for APR as they held third place with fifteen minutes to go. The podium place became one better as they grabbed second place with only a few minutes left. The APR Motorsport team celebrated as Dion von Molkte crossed the line to claim second. It was a great way for the team to end of their 2012 campaign.

2.5. VLN

It was a very busy weekend for the Audi R8 LMS ultra drivers across Europe with the FIA GT1, ADAC GT Masters and French GT. As a result there were many driver shuffles, especially in the VLN were Phoenix Racing’s line-up looked very different with Frank Biela joining the squad this weekend. The VLN event was round nine of the series, the ROWE 250-Meilen Race. It was a hard race for the R8 LMS ultra teams as the highest finisher was the #5 Phoenix car in tenth place. The Raeder Motorsport TT RS #272 did very well as they finished in eighth overall and first in the SP4T class.

2.6. ADAC GT Masters

The final ADAC GT Masters round was held at Hockenheim. The three regular Audi R8 LMS ultra cars from prosperia uhc speed and Mamerow Racing were on the grid. Despite the debatable balance of performance the Audi cars showed improvements, including topping the time sheets during practice. The only top ten position during qualifying was achieved by Mamerow Racing with fifth place for race one. The first race ended with only one Audi featuring in the top ten, the #21 from prosperia uhc speed, in ninth, followed by the other two Audis which finished within the top twenty. Race two and another hard race for the Audi teams, the highest finisher was the #40 Mamerow car in ninth place.

2.7. French GT Tour

Le Mans hosted the sixth round of the French GT Tour. The event was run on the permanent Bugatti circuit. The five regular Audis entered the event. Two Audis made it into the top ten for qualifying for both of the two races. The Team Audi France #32 car was battling for third in race one until a penalty dropped them back. Race two saw three Audi R8 LMS ultra cars within the lower half of the top ten.

2.8. Japanese Super GT

Round seven of the Super GT took place at Autopolis in Japan. The regular four Audi R8 LMS and ultra cars from GAINER DIXCEL, är racing and Hitotsuyama Racing were entered. The GAINER car achieved a top ten qualifying result but it would be another difficult race for the teams. During a wet race the highest Audi finisher was the #21 Hitotsuyama Racing R8 LMS in sixth place. All the other Audis were outside the top ten.

2.9. GT Asia

Round nine and ten of the GT Asia series was held alongside the Super GT at Autopolis in Japan. The Audi R8 LMS Cup team and their R8 LMS ultra was at the event. Severe weather plagued the weekend and the qualifying session was held as a qualifying race. The #7 Audi R8 LMS ultra won the race from pole. The team followed up the first race win with a fourth in race two. This ended the Japanese tour of the GT Asia series, the GT Asia group will now head to Macau for the final meeting of 2012 in November.

2.10. STT

Round six of the German Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy was at the EuroSpeedway this weekend. One Audi was on the grid, the Audi 80 of Joachim Duscher.

2.11. Austrian Hillclimb

Various Audis were in action at the Artzberg Hillclimb in Austria this weekend. The cars included an Audi 80, a S2 and the Marko Racing Audi A4 STW. Marko won his class and came second overall.

2.12. Other Audi news

Vláďa Vitver, who has been competing with a modified ABT-Audi TT-R in European Hillcimb events, suffered a major crash during the week. The SVC Náchod Motorsport team were testing for the German Mickhausen Hillclimb. The testing took place at a former Airport at Hradec Králové. Reports indicate that Vitver is safe and unharmed, but the fate of the TT-R is unknown. This the second major crash for one of the older ABT-Audi TT-R race cars this year. Doug Gore of Jamaica suffered a big crash at Dover a few months ago which damaged the chassis of his TT-R.

APR Motorsport was present at the H20 International event this weekend. There was a big presence from the APR crew as well as the #52 Audi R8 GRAND-AM which was on display.

The Portuguese Nova Driver team took part in an Audi Experience Day at Portimao. Both of the team’s Audi R8 LMS ultra race cars took guests for passenger laps around the track. The guests may not have driven the Audi R8 LMS ultra race cars, but they did drive other high performance road going Audis such as the Audi R8 V10 coupe, RS5 and TT RS.

Last weekend Michael Stephen was unofficially crowned the South African Bridgestone Production Cars Class A Champion. The result was unofficial as the championship points still had to be verified by MSA (Motorsport South Africa). The official verification came during the week as MSA published the official championship standings which confirmed Michael as champion with one round to go. This is Michael Stephen’s second consecutive Class A title with his Terry Moss Racing Audi S4.

The Audi A4 B5 racers from 034 Motorsport and Four Ring Racing were in action at Sears Point this weekend.

034Motorsport FB page

The #31 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Audi Sport Italia was on display at the Fiera Del Modellismo, the Model Expo Italy. Some of the team’s drivers were also at the show. 

3. Next Weekend’s events (6-7/10/2012)

  •           BTCC
  •           Superstars
  •           Midas Clubmans
  •           Portuguese GT
  •           Iberian Super Car Trophy
  •           GT Cup
  •           Cup & Tourenwagen Trophy 

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