Sunday, October 28, 2012

Weekend Round Up - Audi Motorsport Blog (27-28/10/2012)

By Johan Laubscher

1. The Weekend

Focussing this week on the weekend of 27 - 28 October 2012

2. The Events

  •           FIA WEC
  •           Audi R8 LMS Cup
  •           Superstars
  •           GT Sprint
  •           SA Production Cars
  •           French  GT Tour
  •           VLN
  •           Portuguese GT / ISC
  •           Japanese Super GT
  •           NASA
  •           VdeV
  •           HSR
  •           Grand Am Testing

2.1. FIA WEC

The first FIA World Endurance Championship season came to an end this weekend. The final round was held at Shanghai in China. The headliner for the weekend was the overall LMP1 driver’s title fight between the two Audi R18 e-tron quattro driving crews. The Audis lined up behind the Toyota again in second and third. The race got underway with the Toyota pulling away from the Audis. The #2 R18 held its own and came home with second place, however the news of the moment was with the #1 R18 in third. Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Benoît Treluyer have officially been crowned the FIA WEC driver's champions. This brought the 2012 sports car season to a close, as we look forward to the Audi vs Toyota battle continuing in 2013. 

2.2. Audi R8 LMS Cup

The Audi R8 LMS Cup acted as a support event to the FIA WEC at Shanghai this weekend. All sixteen cars were on the grid along with a few new faces. Darryl O'Young debuted in the series with a pole and race one victory. Adderly Fong dominated race two and took the championship lead ahead of the final round in a few weeks time. 

2.3. Superstars

After the final Superstars round in India was cancelled, the event at Pergusa became the season finale. Johan Kristoffersson arrived leading the championship but the recent penalties for the Audi RS5 race cars almost destroyed his chances to win the title. The Audis were disastrously slow compared to their main rivals, so much so that Audi Sport Italia initially withdrew their #45 RS5 in protest, but did re-enter on the Sunday. Qualifying was hard with no Audis in the top ten, highest was Johan in fourteenth. The races went much better for the Audis. All three of the Audis got into the top ten during race one. Kristoffersson managed to get up to sixth followed Morbidelli in seventh. The sixth place was enough to crown Johan the 2012 Italian Superstars champion, however the International Superstars title was still up for grabs. Race two would be the title decider. Johan went into the race leading by only six points over Liuzzi in an AMG. During the second race the title fight was heating up as Johan's race ended in the wall. He was unlucky to be involved in an accident with another AMG driver who had what seemed to be a complete brake failure, we do not believe it was intentional. The remaining two Audi RS5s were immediately withdrawn from race two as a sign of protest against the driving tactics. Liuzzi needed to finish fifth or higher to claim the title and it looked like it was all over for Johan and the Audi team, until Liuzzi's race ended in the gravel. As a result, despite the DNF, Johan Kristoffersson is the 2012 International Superstars champion. 

2.4. GT Sprint

The GT Sprint series is a GT championship which tours alongside the Superstars. Audi Sport Italia entered one Audi R8 LMS ultra in the event at Pergusa. The team entered two Sicilian drivers in the car this weekend and qualified well in third place. During the races the Audi proved to be very fast. Race one saw the #35 Audi take victory, the first victory ever for an Audi at the Pergusa track. The Audi was battling at the front during race two and completed a good weekend by finishing in third.  

2.5. South African Production Cars

The final round of the South African Production Cars was held at Kyalami this weekend. As it was the first national race meeting at Kyalami since the start of the 2011 season, it was also the Audi S4 debut at Kyalami. The first race saw newly crowned champion, Michael Stephen, getting a puncture and dropping back. The other three S4 cars finished in the lower half of the top ten. Michael stormed from last in race two to finish on the podium, in third place. Race three was in very wet conditions. Sipuka and Bonafede were battling with the leader at the front until Bonafede took the lead and held on for his first Class A victory in the Audi S4.

2.6. French GT Tour

Paul Ricard hosted the final round of the French GT Tour season. Seven Audi R8 LMS and ultra race cars were entered this weekend, the regular entries were joined by further entries from Team Audi France and WRT. The #32 Audi R8 LMS claimed pole position. Race one saw one Audi in the top five and three in total in the top ten. The Team Audi France #32 Audi R8 LMS ultra finished off the season by winning the final race. 

2.7. VLN

The finale of the VLN turned into a very cold and snowy weekend. The event was eventually cancelled for safety seasons due to the very dangerous conditions. A variety of Audi were entered for this weekend, including a large number of Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. This event marked the final round of the 2012 VLN season.

2.8. Portuguese GT

Team Novadriver were crowned the 2012 Portuguese GT drivers champions this weekend. They also claimed the Iberian Super Car Trophy title. The final round of the series was held at Jarama in Spain. Cesar Campanico and Carlos Vieira were the drivers of the #15 Audi R8 LMS ultra this season. They won race one of the weekend followed by second place in race two, which was more than enough to ensure the title. 

2.9. Super GT

Twin Ring Motegi was the host of the Japanese Super GT series finale. Four Audi cars were entered once again. GAINER DIXCEL was aiming to end the season on a high and qualified in the top five, the other Audi entries were outside of the top ten. During the race two Audis made it into the top ten finishing ninth and tenth followed by the other two Audis within the top twenty. 

2.10. NASA

GMG Racing were in action again this weekend. They entered two of their Audi R8 LMS cars at Sonoma Raceway. It was a National Auto Sport Association (NASA) event and the two Audis were entered in Group C. The GMG cars finished 1-2 during both of the races. 

2.11. VdeV

After missing the previous round the AB Sport Auto Audi R8 LMS was back for the penultimate round of the V de V this weekend. The race was held at Magny-Cours. An overall top five qualifying was achieved by the #46 entry.

2.12. HSR

An Audi S4 Competition was entered in the Savannah Speed Classic. The event was part of the HSR (Historic Sportscar Racing series). The S4 was driven by Mike Fisher. 

Sasco Sports FB page


2.13. Grand Am Testing

The Grand Am held a test day at Kansas Speedway. The #52 Audi R8 GRAND-AM was amongst the cars at the test day. The car was listed under “Audi of America” on the entry list and was driven by German Christopher Haase.

2.14. Other Audi News

Rob Austin Racing was at the Top Gear Live show this weekend. The #13 Audi A4 NGTC and Rob Austin were at the Dunlop stand.

Audi France had various cars on display at the GT-Tour finale at Paul Ricard. This included some of the Audi A1 race cars from the Audi Endurance Experience and an Audi R8 LMS from 2011.  

As the 2012 Sportscar season came to an end in China the rumours regarding next year continue to build. One of the biggest rumours regards Audi’s presence at the 2013 Sebring 12 Hours. The possibility of seeing Audi on the grid at Sebring is a topic much discuss amongst the fans at the moment.

3. Next Weekend’s events (3-4/11/2012)

  •           Spanish GT
  •           GT Open
  •           Midas Clubmans
  •           Britcar
  •           MSS

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