Sunday, April 21, 2013

FIA GT: Audi teams run at the front at Zolder

By Johan Laubscher

The second round of the FIA GT Series took place at Zolder this weekend. Five Audi R8 LMS ultra cars from Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Phoenix Racing and Team Novadriver entered the event, as was the case at round one in Nogaro.

The big news this weekend was that the Audis were all in their 2013 specification (minus the new rear diffuser). The Audis were fast at Nogaro and it was the case again in Belgium. The R8 LMS ultra cars were near the front during all the sessions and qualified well.

Race victory was achieved during the qualifying race when Stéphane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor took the win. Belgian Audi Club WRT scored a well deserved result with all three cars within the top five. The Phoenix Racing entry finished eighth and the Novadriver Audi in thirteenth, after a late race penalty. 

This victory also marked the first race victory for a new 2013 specification Audi R8 LMS ultra. It will certainly be the first of many 2013 spec Audi victories around the world this year.

The #11 WRT Audi started the Championship Race from pole on Sunday. The Reiter Lamborghini managed to take the lead at the start perused by the #11 and #13 WRT Audis. The Audi positions stayed consistent during the opening stages with a good battle between the Phoenix #5 and WRT #12 Audis. The top three positions were maintained during the pitstop process, however Vanthoor put in the drive of the race to catch up to the leading Lamborgini. A terrific battle for the lead was seen with a clearly faster Vanthoor behind the defending Lamborgini. Vanthoor was unable to find his way past, but raced a very intelligent race, collected very valuable points and is now leading the FIA GT Series drivers points alongside Ortelli.

The #13 WRT Audi of Edward Sandström and Frank Stippler finished in third, followed by their teammates in #12 in fifth, ensuring a very good points haul for Belgian Audi Club Team WRT at their home event in Belgium.

The Belgian driver crewed Phoenix Audi R8 LMS ultra of Enzo Ide and Anthony Kumpen finished in sixth. Team Novadriver completed an excellent weekend for the Audi teams by placing in ninth. The #14 car driven by Cesar Campanico and Carlos Vieira completed the result so that all five Audis finished within the top ten.

The next round of the FIA GT Series will take place at Zandvoort in the Netherlands. 

Photo credit: V-Images / Endurance-Info