Audi R8 Wins Another Classic
After the Le Mans 24 Hours, the Sebring 12 Hours, the “Petit Le Mans” at Road Atlanta and the 1000-kilometre races at Spa and Monza the Audi R8 has won another classic motorsport event: Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx secured Audi a 1-2 victory in the Nürburgring 1000-kilometre race. After six action-packed hours, Pierre Kaffer and Allan McNish were victorious ahead of their team-mates Jamie Davies and Johnny Herbert. After two rounds of the newly formed Le Mans Endurance Series (LMES), now four Audi drivers are in the lead with equal scores.
Ever changing weather made the conditions in the 1000-kilometre race as difficult as at the Nürburgring 24 Hours three weeks before. Sunshine and rain showers kept alternating, the right tyre choice was a crucial factor. Kaffer/McNish lost about a lap and dropped to fifth position after an excursion into the gravel and a slow puncture. However, the German-Scottish duo fought their way back to the lead in impressive style.
With their 1-2 victory, the British Audi importer took revenge for their narrow defeat in the Le Mans 24 Hours. The Le Mans winning car from Audi Sport Japan Team Goh was hit by a spinning GT car in the closing stages of the race. This caused the change of the left rear suspension which cost the Japanese team any chance of victory or a podium finish. Seiji Ara and Rinaldo Capello eventually finished the race fourth.
Quotes after the race
Pierre Kaffer (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #8): “What a race! It was real fun to drive here. The race was even more exciting than Monza. To win my home race at the Nürburgring is simply fantastic. I am so happy. Thanks to all the team and everybody who has made this possible, of course including Allan who did a superb job.”
Allan McNish (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #8): “After what happened at Le Mans it was important for us to have a good result. At one point I thought it was gone. But in Endurance racing you never know until the finish what the result will be. So I am very happy. But today, to be honest, Pierre Kaffer was the hero, not me.”
Jamie Davies (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #88): “We came away with a 1-2 which is a great result for Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx. You can’t win every race. Today we just did not have the balance in the car to win. But we’ll fight back at Silverstone.”
Johnny Herbert (Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx / Audi R8 #88): “It was just a typical Nürburgring race affected by the weather. You just never knew from one minute to the next when it was going to rain and how much but it was the same for everyone and it made for a great race. It sets up the championship for the team’s `home’ race at Silverstone.”
Seiji Ara (Audi Sport Japan Team Goh / Audi R8 #5): “Unfortunately I made a mistake at the start. I dropped behind the Pescarolo and lost a lot of time in the beginning. When it started to rain I was pushing hard and tried to catch the leaders. This worked well, but in the end we had simply bad luck.”
Rinaldo Capello (Audi Sport Japan Team Goh / Audi R8 #5): “This accident did not happen because of taking too much risk. The GT car just spun into me destroying the rear suspension. It’s a shame because we did not have to make another pit-stop and I was closing on the leaders. So everything was still open.”
Kazumichi Goh (Team Director Audi Sport Japan Team Goh): “Because of the weather it was a very tough race. Our pit-stop strategy was very good but we lost the race when Dindo was hit by another car. Our team did a great job replacing the suspension and the drive shaft. If it was last year, it would have taken us only three minutes. But the regulations have changed. However, we still finished fourth which is a good result.”
Sam Li (Team Director Audi Sport UK Team Veloqx): “A fantastic race with the ever-changing weather conditions requiring decision after decision which always needed to be right. All four drivers drove a fantastic race and it was a supreme performance from the entire team which goes a way to make up for our Le Mans 24 Hour disappointment.”
Dr Wolfgang Ullrich (Head of Audi Motorsport): “This race was great promotion for Sports Car racing. The typical `Eifel’ weather made it really exciting. All three Audi crews did an excellent job. Unfortunately Team Goh was a little bit unlucky, being involved in a collision that was not their fault. This cost a lot of time, otherwise all three Audis would have been very close together at the end. However, we’ve also seen today that the competition is there and that our teams can’t afford to make any mistakes.”
The results at the Nürburgring
1 Kaffer/McNish (Audi R8) 180 laps in 6hrs 00m 32.645s
7 Erdos/Ramos/Newton (MG Lola) – 13 laps