|May 7, 2012
Source: Audi Motorsport
· Audi Top Service extended invitation to attend DTM at the Lausitzring
· Artistic gymnast Philipp Boy is turning into a DTM fan
· Audi R8 LMS ultra wins GT3 season opener in Italy
Ingolstadt, – The crowd of 72,000 that had turned out for the DTM at the Lausitzring also included 1,100 Audi mechanics from the Region East.
Audi Top Service: 1,100 mechanics from Audi’s partner operations in the Region East experienced a very special day. To thank the Audi companies for the top service they deliver Audi Germany extended an invitation to a DTM event day at the Lausitzring. Highlight of the activities was an exclusive pit walk just before the race started. A race taxi ride in the Audi R8 LMS was raffled among the guests. Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, the two-time DTM Champion Timo Scheider and Ernst Moser, Team Director of Audi Sport Team Phoenix, visited the high-performing mechanics at the Audi Top Service Hospitality.
Success in Italy: Andrea Sonvico and Cristian Montanari in the Audi R8 LMS of Audi Sport Italia were victorious at the Italian GT Championship season opener at Vallelunga. Their team-mates Davide Di Benedetto and Alex Frassinetti celebrated a podium result as well by finishing Saturday’s race in third place. At the second race on Sunday, Sonvico and Montanari clinched another podium result in third place.
DTM fan: Philipp Boy is turning into a real DTM fan. The artistic gymnast and candidate for medals at the Olympic Games in London visited the DTM race at the Lausitzring, just a 50-minute drive from his home in Cottbus, only a week after having attended the Hockenheim DTM season opener.
Quick taxi driver: Markus Winkelhock, who will be contesting the Nürburgring 24 Hours on May 19/20 in an Audi R8 LMS ultra for Audi Sport Team Phoenix, drove a race taxi at the Lausitzring for Audi. In addition, the quick driver from Germany’s Swabia region won the second round of the Volkswagen Scirocco R-Cup as a guest entrant on Saturday.
Thieves at work: Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline had an unpleasant surprise during the DTM round at the Lausitzring. All four wheels of an Audi A6 of the team were stolen in front of the team hotel during the night from Friday to Saturday. Autohaus Gera-Nord provided non-bureaucratic assistance by furnishing replacements.
Speedy Abt squad: Tire manufacturer Hankook is again rewarding the quickest pit stop in the DTM this year. At the Lausitzring, Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline received the award for the fastest job of servicing Mattias Ekström at Hockenheim.
Fifth debut win: Audi’s youngest sports car generation experienced a brilliant start. The Audi R18 commenced its racing career at the second WEC round at Spa with a 1-2-3-4 victory, thus continuing a tradition. After the R8 (2000), the R10 TDI (2006), the R15 RDI (2009) and the R15 plus (2010), the Audi R18 of the 2012 model year is now the brand’s fifth sports prototype to win its debut race.
Future challenge: At Spa-Francorchamps, ten-time Le Mans winner Audi met its future challenger Toyota for the first time. Even though the Audi R18 e-tron quattro was not pitted yet against the rival’s hybrid vehicle in competition the two race cars “met” for the first time on track for a photo shoot on Wednesday. The first comparison between them will take place at the Le Mans test day on June 3 and the first outright competition at the Le Mans 24 Hours on June 16 and 17.
Much-admired premiere: Audi welcomed around 200 guests at its VIP Lounge for the second round of the WEC at Spa. The VIPs experienced the premiere of the Audi R18 e-tron quattro and the R18 ultra directly above the pits. Audi’s race team received visitors on the weekend as well. Yves Weerts, co-founder of the WRT team, and his team principal, Vincent Vosse, Laurens Vanthoor, the leader of the FIA GT1 World Championship in the Audi R8 LMS ultra, and the former Audi factory driver Vanina Ickx would not miss the premieres either.
Fit for the race weekend: Tom Kristensen arrived at Spa in perfect shape. The Dane had participated in the Stamina12 competition, a twelve-hour bicycle race in Denmark, on the previous weekend. Near Roskilde, the Audi factory driver and his team-mates Thomas Bonne and Morten Laustsen from the Traedtkil.dk team took second place overall among 750 mountain bike riders. Kristensen’s squad supported a campaign of the Danish Cancer Society through its participation.
Full agenda: Loïc Duval has little time to celebrate his victory at the Spa 6 Hours. As early as on Wednesday, the Audi factory driver is flying to Japan to spend two weeks contesting several Formula Nippon races. Afterward, he will return to Europe for the Le Mans 24 Hours pre-test on June 3 and immediately go back to Asia. In Malaysia, he will be competing in the Super GT series on June 9 and 10. On June 16 and 17, the new leader of the WEC standings will contest the Le Mans 24 Hours for Audi.
Historic moments in Monaco: On May 12 and 13, fans of the legendary Auto-Union-race cars are in for a special treat at the Grand Prix Monaco Historique. The six-time Le Mans winner Jacky Ickx in the 1936 Auto Union Type C will be giving the crowd goose bumps with the unique thundering roar of the sixteen-cylinder engine.
Barcelona commitment: The experience of the eight-time Le Mans winner Tom Kristensen is in demand in Formula 1 yet again. Next weekend, the Audi factory driver will be assisting the race stewards at the Spanish Grand Prix in the role of driver steward.
A word from … Romain Dumas
Together with your team-mates Loïc Duval and Marc Gené you won the Spa 6 Hours in the new Audi R18 ultra. Are you surprised?
“That was a surprise indeed. It was clear that the Audi R18 e-tron quattro has an advantage in adverse weather due to all-wheel drive. But at the end of the first race hour we made a bold tire choice. Then we were all the way in front with our lap times and the whole squad did an impeccable job as well. And it was fun working with Loïc and Marc – two new team-mates for me in the past two races. Marc was incredibly strong at the end of his stint, despite the fact that he’d never driven this car in rain.”
The suspense rose once more at the end of your stint. Wouldn’t you have had to change tires again?
“I made a bold decision and continued to run on one set of tires for a very long time. I didn’t want the rival behind me to have any chance of closing the gap to us. The last 20 laps were definitely not easy.”
What did you learn at Spa about the new car?
“Today’s vehicle generation is so sophisticated that even small temperature differences can have a major impact. I was very pleased in the race after things hadn’t been looking so good the day before. We’ve still got to more carefully analyze such phenomena because in the next race at Le Mans it’s usually quite warm during the day but then cool at night. That’s why consistency is crucial. With our set-up I managed to take it easy on the tires in the end at Spa. That brought us victory. But at Le Mans the conditions will be altogether different. And there we’ll also be meeting with Toyota for the first time.”
Coming up next week
May 12 Karlskoga (S), round 1, Swedish GT Championship
May 13 New Jersey (USA), round 4, GRAND-AM