Saturday, February 9, 2013

MPC and Audi still on target at Bathurst

 photo MPC_zps0fd4875f.png

Melbourne Performance Centre Press Release

Still on target.
Melbourne Performance Centre Audi R8 LMS ultra
 9 February, 2013

By the close of qualifying the twin Melbourne Performance Centre [MPC] Audi R8 ultras were holding down positions five and 12, but whilst some were battling over starting position and glory, the MPC team were satisfied with the result and pace of their cars.. well, at least some of them were..
“I wanted pole,” factory German Audi star and reigning 12-Hour winner Christoper Mies admitted matter-of-factly. “We had trouble with the alternator on my out lap.. I only got 100 metres up Mountain Straight and the car stopped. By the time they replaced it, the radio also stopped working, so when I hit the track I was a little bit aggressive, and a little bit angry.”

His sideways exit of turn one on his first flying lap suggested that he was on a charge, but like MPC team-mates Craig Lowndes and Warren Luff, he soon fell victim to traffic.

“It wasn’t great, but I found if you were a little more aggressive, you could force the other cars to give you room.

“In the end, fifth was the best we could do, but I know I could have done a low six, and if the restriction on lap times [a 2:06 benchmark was set as the fastest lap time, anyone below that was handed a 50kg weight penalty for the race] wasn’t there, I think we also had a five in the car.

“I’ve never raced on the Pirelli tyre before, but I heard good things about them and it’s true, they have very little drop off and the car is very consistent on them.”
Whilst Mies was clearly the standout in the #9 car, car owners Mark Eddy and Marc Cini, and fellow sports car pilot Dean Grant too were improving with each session, and by the close of the second qualifier, there were smiles all round.

“We’re all within a second of each other, and capable of getting to within five or six seconds of Christopher on race pace,” Mark Eddy admitted. “Personally I like to settle in over a few sessions, but with limited time and four drivers, we don’t really have the luxury, but I think if pushed in the race we could run in the 11s and 12s.”

Across in the Salmon/Lowndes/Luff camp, they too were comfortable with their position.. well, about as comfortable as any driver that has the equipment to be on pole would be given the situation..

“Audi has dominated this event the last two years and we’ve seen the car has great pace through practice and qualifying,” Warren Luff admitted. “We were probably a little bit unlucky in qualifying today that we didn’t get a clear lap to show what the true pace of our car is, but we know we’ve got a car that is going to be incredibly fast in the race.

“It’s one of those things. Ego-wise you’d like to go out and have a serious crack in qualifying to see what the car can do, but there’s no trophies for qualifying, it’s Sunday afternoon that we’re about.”

“12th isn’t where we wanted to be, we were expecting to be in the top six,” Craig Lowndes added. “We are disappointed, but it’s very difficult to get a clear lap around this circuit, especially with so many cars.

“We ran to our schedule. I did my allocated two laps, and then we wanted to get Rod in the car to get him comfortable and do the bulk of the 90-minute session, and then throw Luffy in for a couple of laps at the end. We gave him a new set of Pirellis and sent him out, but he buggered up turn one. He did go faster, but we know the car is so much better than where we’re starting.”

“Look I’m very comfortable now,” two-time race winner Rod Salmon admitted. “I’ve had some time in the car, some time on the simulator, and I’m happy with my pace. I got into the low 13s, and feel I could easily have been in the 12s. The car is perfect, and I think we’re pretty well placed, but anything can happen across 12-Hours..!”

With the team keeping a close eye on the weather, early predictions suggest that the car owners are likely to start the race, with the ‘hired-guns’ likely to close out the event and put the teams in a position to challenge for the win.

Current weather predictions suggest a clear start to the day and 33 degrees (celcius) before showers develop ahead of a possible late storm.

Australian GT Championship presented by Pirelli
Rnd#1 - Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12-Hour - combined Qualifying (sessions 1/2)

1. Slade/Holdsworth/Hackett (Erebus Racing Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3) - 2:06.2730
2. Edwards/Bowe/Simonsen/Salo (Il Bello Rosso Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) - 2:06.4839
3. Weng Sun/Baird/Griffin (Clearwater Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3)
- 2:06.8857
4. Lago/Russell/Kox (JBS Swift Lamborghini Gallardo LP600)
- 2:06.9615
5. Eddy/Cini/Grant/Mies (MPC/Network Cloth./Hallmarc Audi R8 LMS ultra) - 2:06.9835
6. Schneider/Jaeger/Roloff (Erebus Racing Mercedes Benz AMG SLS GT3) - 2:07.2389
7. Kristoffersson/Primat/Simonson (Pheonix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra) - 2:07.5672
8. Quinn/Quinn/Van Gisbergen (VIP Petfoods Porsche Type 997 GT3-R) - 2:07.6015
9. McMillan/Richards/Lilley (GB Galvanizing Lamborghini Gallardo LP600) - 2:07.6838
10. Wyatt/Rugolo/Cioci (AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) - 2:07.9320
12. Salmon/Lowndes/Luff (MPC/ Audi R8 LMS ultra) - 2:08.7569
13. Koutsoumidis/McInnes/Middleton/O’Young (Equity-One Audi R8 LMS) - 2:08.8931
14. Patterson/Li/Hartley (United Autosports Audi R8 LMS ultra) - 2:08.9790
15. Conroy/Huff/Winslow (Peter Conroy Motorsport Audi R8 LMS) - 2:09.8581
16. Zugel/Lux/Julian (Dragonspeed Audi R8 LMS) - 2:11.0050

Melbourne Performance Centre is proudly supported by Network Clothing, Hallmarc Developments, Pirelli Australia,, One World Bar, The Audi Race Experience, PH Motorsport Trailers - supplier of the new Audi Sports Customer racing transporter, BluFi Wireless Australia, Questek Australia and Top Gun Restorations.
The Audi Race Experience
Get behind the wheel yourself to discover a new level of excitement with the Audi Driving Experience. Refine your technique, develop more skilled control at higher speeds and pursue the ultimate in performance.
From advanced programs, right through to the Audi race experience, there is a program to suit every kind of driver.
The Audi Driving Experience makes use of a range of Audi’s vehicles, from sports road cars right through to their Bathurst winning race vehicles. From Audi’s advanced driving courses, you can move through to the Audi sportscar experience and finally, the Audi race experience where you can slip behind the wheel of the Audi R8 LMS GT3 racecar that holds the mantel of Australian GT and Bathurst 12-Hour Champion.
To find out more, call Melbourne Performance Centre today.
Melbourne Performance Centre
521 Mountain Highway,
Bayswater VIC 3153
 Phone: 03 9738 2294
Fax: 03 9738 2296

Photo credit: MPC