Audi on second row at Spa
- “Super pole” cancelled at 24-hour race due to storm
- Stéphane Ortelli clinches grid position four for Audi
The two fastest Audi R8 LMS ultra cars from Audi Sport Teams Phoenix and WRT will be starting into the 24-hour race race at Spa-Francorchamps (Belgium) from grid positions four and 13 after the “super pole” qualifying session was cancelled due to rain.
As expected, the most important GT3 race of the year features a uniquely competitive field as merely 1.544 seconds separated the fastest vehicles after the first qualifying sessions on Thursday night. Just a few hundredths ultimately decided who qualified for the so called “super pole” session at which the top 20 grid positions were to be awarded on Friday afternoon.
With Christopher Haase/Christopher Mies/Stéphane Ortelli (Audi R8 LMS ultra #1) on position four and Marcel Fässler/Tom Kristensen/André Lotterer (Audi R8 LMS ultra #6) in 13th place, one vehicle of each of the two Audi factory teams managed the leap into the top 20. Stéphane Ortelli and Marcel Fässler achieved their fastest times in the first qualifying session which turned out to be decisive as in the second session held in darkness none of the drivers managed to advance into the top 20 anymore.
Yet the eagerly awaited battle for the top 20 grid positions fell through as the “super pole” qualifying had to be cancelled after torrential rainfalls. The results of the first two sessions were used for the grid formation.
“Naturally, it’s a shame that there was no real battle for the pole position,” commented Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich. “But the conditions were really extreme and the cancellation of the super pole was absolutely right. The grid positions are not so important at a 24-hour race anyway.”
Marco Bonanomi/Edward Sandström/Laurens Vantoor (Audi R8 LMS ultra #2and Andrea Piccini/René Rast/Frank Stippler (Audi R8 LMS ultra #16) will be starting into the race that Audi won for the first time last year from positions 21 and 29. Like their team colleagues, they were only able to start qualifying with a delay since new data logging software of the race organizer had immobilized the electronics of all R8 cars.
The fastest time of a customer car was set by Filipe Albuquerque in the Audi R8 LMS ultra #40 of the French Sainteloc Racing team.
The race at Spa will start on Saturday at 1600 hrs (local time). Audi.tv will broadcast major portions of the race on www.audi-liveracing.com live on the internet starting at 1530 hrs.
The grid positions at Spa
1 Lauda/Franchi/Kechele (BMW) 2m 19.473s
2 Paltalla/Leinders/Martin (BMW) 2m 19.552s
3 Parente/Barff/Goodwin/Wills (McLaren) 2m 19.729s
4 Haase/Mies/Ortelli (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 2m 20.026s
5 Lemeret/van Hooydonck/den Boer (BMW) 2m 20.031s
6 Verdonck/Mondron/Clarke/van de Poele (McLaren) 2m 20.085s
12 Fässler/Kristensen/Lotterer (Audi R8 LMS ultra)
21 Bonanomi/Sandström/Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 2m 20.790s
27 Albuquerque/Guilvert/Lunardi (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 2m 20.957s
29 Piccini/Rast/Stippler (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 2m 20.982s
42 Wilins/Belshaw/Scott/Keen (Audi R8 LMS) 2m 22.488s
48 Patterson/Meins/Li/Blundell (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 2m 23.643s
53 Behrens/Ros/Ohman/Skoog (Audi R8 LMS) 2m 26.599s
55 Brunstedt/Bender/Mangs (Audi R8 LMS) 2m 26.958s
61 Marie/Hissom/Hirschi/Demay (Audi R8 LMS) 2m 20.022s