Motorsport-Newsletter 38/2012: Podium places for the Audi R8
- Second place for the Audi R8 GRAND-AM at Lime Rock
- Turbulent finale of FIA GT1 World Championship
- Marchy Lee and Jeffrey Lee win at Autopolis
The Audi R8 caused a sensation with a victory in Japan and the so far best result in the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series in the United States. The finale of the FIA GT1 World Championship proved to be a turbulent event. In Valencia, the weather caused excitement and in Bahrain the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was running on a dragster track.
Victory in Asia: Marchy Lee and Jeffrey Lee celebrated their first victory in the Audi R8 LMS ultra at the fifth race weekend of the GT Asia Series at the Autopolis International Circuit (Japan). In the first race, the Audi duo clinched a lights-to-flag victory. In the second heat, they came fourth, thus barely missing a podium finish. Before the season’s finale in Macau, Marchy and Jeffrey Lee are in third place of the championship standings.
Turbulent finale: The finale of the FIA GT1 World Championship at Donington (England), in which Markus Winkelhock and Marc Basseng – the winners of the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring in May with Audi – secured the drivers’ title in the World Championship, proved to be a turbulent event. Laurens Vanthoor and Adam Carroll in the Audi R8 LMS ultra of the Belgian Audi Club WRT took the pole position and second place in the qualification race on Saturday. The main race on Sunday had to be stopped twice after accidents. Carroll/Vanthoor were classified in fourth place, Oliver Jarvis and Frank Stippler in the second R8 LMS ultra in seventh.
Home round: Before the DTM race at Valencia, Audi factory driver Miguel Molina visited the German School Valencia where he received an enthusiastic welcome by the students. Afterwards, the Spaniard signed autographs at the Mercado de Colón. At his home round at Valencia, the Spaniard was in particular demand throughout the race weekend. A planned sailing cruise on board the Audi All4One yacht of Jochen Schümann had to be canceled due to bad weather.
Extreme weather conditions: The severe storms in Spain also affected the DTM teams. The hotel of the Audi drivers in Valencia was struck by lightning during the night from Friday to Saturday. The roads around the track were inundated with water and cars were washed off the roads by flash flooding. Some hotels had power outages while others reported flooding of hotel rooms and toilets. Fortunately, nobody was injured.
Adventure trip: 50 listeners of the SWR3 radio station experienced an exclusive DTM weekend in Valencia – including a private concert by Tim Bendzko and a visit to the Audi team garages at which the two-time DTM Champion Mattias Ekström explained the Audi A5 DTM to the SWR3 listeners.
True diligence: Some members of the Audi DTM squad stayed in Valencia for an additional day. On Monday, tire manufacture Hankook had scheduled some tests. Mattias Ekström did the test for Audi.
Best commercial video: The users of autobild.de voted the current brand video by Audi that also prominently features motorsport the best car commercial in 2012. In addition, Audi won the “iPad advertisement” category. A professional judging panel awarded first place to the interactive “DTM Fingerrace” ad. The tablet game advertises Audi’s commitment in the DTM.
Audi factory drivers at the Paris Motor Show: While Marcel Fässler was in Bahrain for the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC) attendees of the press conference had the opportunity to watch him in a virtual presentation at Audi’s booth in Paris on Thursday. The Swiss was included in a video sequence focused on the sporty S-models and the motorsport program of the brand. His team-mate Benoît Tréluyer will visit the show next Thursday for Audi’s partner Akrapovič.
Special class: A group of students of the St. Christopher School in Bahrain visited Audi at the Bahrain 6 Hours. The 13-year-olds are participating in the international “F1 in Schools” competition as “7th Gear” team. Together with their teacher Martin Plunkett, who instructs them in the subject of engineering design and technology, they marveled at the Audi R18 e-tron quattro cars in the pits and had the opportunity to personally meet Allan McNish.
Unusual ambience: After the conversion of the number “2” Audi R18 from an ultra into an e-tron quattro, Audi Sport Team Joest ran a functional test in Bahrain. To do so, the squad used the dragster track of the circuit on Wednesday. A real dragster on the back straight made for an attractive photo. Audi factory driver Allan McNish would not miss the chance to use the acceleration race car to test the seat.
Another victory: Allan McNish and Tom Kristensen again won the Michelin Green X Challenge at the sixth round of the FIA World Endurance Championship (WEC). As in the four previous races, the duo was rewarded for the most efficient drive in the field.
Calendar published: The World Endurance Championship (WEC) has announced the dates of the races for 2013. The calendar again features eight rounds, including seven 6-hour races: April 14, Silverstone (GB), May 4, Spa-Francorchamps (B), June 22/23, Le Mans 24 Hours (F), August 31, São Paulo (BR), September 22, Austin (USA), October 20, Fuji (J), November 10, Shanghai (CN), November 30, Bahrain (BHR).
A word from ... Marcel Fässler
Aside from the Le Mans 24 Hours, has the WEC race in Bahrain been the toughest 6-hour race of the season so far?
In terms of heat most definitely! But a number of other competitive aspects should be taken into account as well. From a sporting perspective, I’d say that the fourth round at Silverstone, which we won too, was clearly tougher. There, we had to fight an extreme battle and could never allow ourselves to slacken off. But, let’s face it, there’s no such thing as an easy race in this championship.
What was the key to success on clinching victory in Bahrain?
Making it through the race without any mistakes was crucial today. Obviously, it’s easy to make a concentration mistake in this heat. That’s why, after a double stint by André (Lotterer), we decided to drive only single stints.
Together with your team-mates André Lotterer and Benoît Tréluyer you traveled to Bahrain with a 7.5-point advantage and are returning with a lead of 13.5 points. Was that a preliminary decision or is anything still possible?
I’m sure that the battle is still completely open. For each victory, 25 points are awarded, plus one point for the fastest time in qualifying. So there are still 52 points to be won in Japan and China. Our sister car was simply a bit unfortunate this time. This kind of thing could happen to us as well. That’s why you should never feel too sure.
Coming up next week
Oct 07 Estoril (P), round 6, Portuguese GT Championship
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