Kumpen/Longin/Makelberge take BRCC win
Anthony Kumpen, Bert Longin and Maarten Makelberge triumphed in an Audi R8 LMS ultra in the opening round of the BRCC Endurance Championship season at Zolder, Belgium. In the first of six race weekends, the Belgian trio from the reformed team PK Carsport moved from fifth on the grid to win.
WRT scored first win for new Audi R8 LMS ultra
First race win for the 2013 evolution version of the Audi R8 LMS ultra: at the second round of the FIA GT Series at Zolder (Belgium), local matador Laurens Vanthoor and his Monegasque team mate Stéphane Ortelli won Saturday’s qualifying race in the further developed car fielded by Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. In Sunday’s main race, Vanthoor/Ortelli finished second only 0.448 seconds behind the winners. Third place in both races went to their WRT team mates: Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof/René Rast were third on Saturday, Edward Sandström and Frank Stippler took the final podium position on Sunday. Ortelli/Vanthoor lead the championship standings with 44 points ahead of Stippler/Sandström (42 points).
A word from… Allan McNish
You scored maximum points in the opening round of the FIA Endurance World Championship (WEC) at Silverstone. How important is this result?
It’s an advantage to make a good start and score plenty of points early on. The one-two victory was valuable for the drivers and the manufacturer classification. In addition, the drivers who I see as possibly our main competitors finished up in fourth place. However, I expect much tougher competition in the forthcoming races.
After seven years in a team with Dindo Capello, you and Tom Kristensen have a new team mate. How was your first race with Loïc Duval?
To lead with Tom and Loïc after the first race is the perfect starting point. When you think how long we drove with Dindo, it’s fair to say that Loïc, Tom and found our feet very quickly. Loïc joined the team, adapted quickly and is very fast. Before Le Mans, our work together will certainly get more detailed. You cannot expect the same understanding in two weeks than after seven years. Nevertheless, the best way to begin a new partnership is with a win.
What does winning the Tourist Trophy mean at your home race?
My family and many friends came to visit. I know many track marshals since I drove in my first race there in 1987. Silverstone was always a successful hunting ground for me, and now I have won my fourth sportscar race there. The RAC Tourist Trophy is one of the most important motorsport trophies in Great Britain. It is more than 100 years old and there are many great names engraved on it – of drivers, but also of brands. For example, the first car to win was an Arrol-Johnston in 1905, which was actually built just a few kilometers from my parents’ house. Wolfgang Dürheimer, Member of the Board of AUDI AG and responsible for motorsport, was proud that he could take the Tourist Trophy back to Ingolstadt.
Your have set a premiere. You’ve driven for Audi since 2000 with an occasional interruption. You have now won for the first time with a quattro. An emotional moment?
I’ve driven for a long time now for Audi and have seen many technological innovations, from the petrol direct injection TFSI to the various TDI engines with twelve, ten or currently six cylinders. Tom, Dindo and I were close to victory on several occasions, but never won with the R18 e-tron quattro. This first win was all the more rewarding. And hopefully it won’t be the last this year.
Two crowd-pleasers in ADAC GT Masters
vRahel Frey and Markus Winkelhock will be competing for Team Prosperia C. Abt Racing in the ADAC GT Masters in 2013. The squad headed by former Audi factory driver Christian Abt will be fielding a third Audi R8 LMS ultra for them. Frey was driving for Audi in the DTM for two years and particularly in 2012 attracted attention with strong performances. Winkelhock drove a total of 49 DTM races and on winning the FIA GT1 World Championship and the Nürburgring 24 Hours celebrated two major successes last year. The first run of the newly formed double will be at Oschersleben next weekend.
Phoenix Racing competes to defend title
Audi R8 LMS ultra #3 (G-Drive Racing by Phoenix), Frank Biela/Christer Jöns/Luca Ludwig/Roman Rusinov (D/D/D/RUS), Audi R8 LMS ultra #1 (G-Drive Racing by Phoenix), Marc Basseng/Marcel Fässler/Frank Stippler/Markus Winkelhock (D/CH/D/D)
Ernst Moser’s team aims to repeat the victory it scored in last year’s 24-hour race at the Nürburgring. The customer team fields two Audi R8 LMS ultra sportscars as team G-Drive Racing by Phoenix. The three winners from last year Marc Basseng (D), Markus Winkelhock (D) and Frank Stippler (D) share a cockpit with two-time Le Mans winner Marcel Fässler (CH). Five-time Le Mans winner Frank Biela (D), the Le Mans Series GT Champion Roman Rusinov (RUS), VLN Champion Christer Jöns (D) and Luca Ludwig (D), DMSB GT Champion from 2010, drive the second GT3 sportscar.