· Former Audi factory driver receives award
· Autograph session with DTM stars at Munich airport
· Two podium finishes for the Audi R8 LMS in France
Ingolstadt, July 11, 2011 – Former Rally World Champion Walter Röhrl was distinguished for his life’s work in Munich on Sunday evening. Munich is also the venue for a DTM show event this coming weekend.
Great honor: To mark the 10th anniversary of the Bavarian Sport Prize the two-time Rally World Champion Walter Röhrl was honored for his life’s work on Sunday evening in Munich. The 64-year old was Audi factory driver between 1984 and 1992. He won the Rally Monte Carlo with the Audi quattro and raced up the famous Pikes Peak in the USA in record time. The exceptional driver was also victorious for Audi on the race track.
Meeting point airport: The "final countdown” has started for the eagerly awaited DTM premiere at the Munich Olympic Stadium (16/17 July). Audi fans can get in the mood for the DTM show event on Thursday. Between 12:00 and 14:00 the two Red Bull drivers Mattias Ekström and Miguel Molina sign autographs at the Munich Airport Center between Terminals 1 and 2.
Backwards across the line: Stéphane Ortelli and David Hallyday finished second in both French GT Championship races at Magny-Cours. In race one Ortelli in an Audi R8 LMS fielded by Audi France attacked the later victor all the way to the flag and crossed the finish line backwards after a last attack in the final corner. In race two Ortelli/Hallyday led up to the mandatory pit stop.
Lead defended: Mike Guasch and Matt Bell defended their lead in the British GT Championship standings. During the fourth race weekend held at Spa-Francorchamps, Belgium the duo in the Audi R8 LMS entered by United Autosports finished sixth and fifth. In the overall standings Guasch/Bell lead their closest rivals by two points.
Still in title race: Mark Eddy is still a hot favorite to win the title following the Australian GT Championship’s fourth race weekend at Townsville. He finished the two races in fourth and sixth positions in the Penfold Audi Sport team Audi R8 LMS and still holds second in the overall classification as a result.
Fight back: In front on an impressive number of spectators at the Nürburgring the two youngsters Christopher Mies and Luca Ludwig impressed with their fight back during the ADAC GT Masters staged at the Truck Grand Prix. After retiring on Saturday they fought from tenth on the grid to third in the ABT Sportsline team’s Audi R8 LMS on Sunday, before losing the near certain podium finish following an opponent’s robust maneuver on the last lap.
Test race: With an Audi R8 LMS each the Audi Sport teams Phoenix and WRT participated in an official test day last Wednesday for the 24-hour race at Spa-Francorchamps (30/31 July). Christopher Haase, Andrea Piccini and Mike Rockenfeller recorded the fourth fastest time among the 27 participants in the process.
Appearance at the House of Lords: Allan McNish and Siegfried Krause, Head of Procurement and Partnerships at Audi Sport, are among the 300 guests on Wednesday evening at the summer reception held by the Motor Industry Association (MIA) at the House of Lords in London. Audi was invited due to its many years of success with sports prototypes. The illustrious guests representing the British Government and automotive industry can also admire an Audi R18 TDI.
Far from home: Le Mans record winner Tom Kristensen is in New Zealand from 11 to 19 July. The Audi factory driver who celebrated his 44th birthday last week is guest at a press launch for the new Audi A6.
A word from ... Mike Rockenfeller
From your point of view how did the test for the 24-hour race at Spa go?
Very good. I drove in the morning and concentrated on set-up work. I hadn’t driven at Spa-Francorchamps with the Audi R8 LMS since last year, but had already raced there this year with the R18 TDI. So, I’m already very familiar with the track. We set the best time in the morning. In the afternoon my team mates Andrea Piccini and Christopher Haase took over and completed long-runs. All in all both parts went very well.
The GT3 class is the top class at Spa for the first time. Is this right way?
This is difficult to assess. However, for me as driver of a GT3 car this is obviously a great thing. It’ll be about overall victory for us. Even though there are plenty of cars capable of winning I think we have a good chance. Like every other 24-hour race it’ll be down to getting through without problems. In this respect I think that we are well positioned with Audi Sport Team Phoenix.
Can you compare the 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and Spa with one another?
Yes and no. To start both races run for the same amount of time and the goal is the same: to get through the traffic as quickly as possible without technical problems and without making mistakes. In this respect things shift quite a lot due to the different pit stop regulations. Refueling and changing tires simultaneously is not allowed. So, for this reason the possibility of running double stints gains importance so as to be able to save a possible tire change. Therefore, in Spa it’ll be more about tactics than at the Nordschleife and about tire management as a result.
What defines the legend of Spa-Francorchamps for you?
To begin with Spa is one of my favorite race tracks. It was a lot of fun to drive it with the Audi R18 TDI during the ILMS race we used as preparation for the 24 Hours of Le Mans. A 24-hour race here is, however, not just something special here, even though it’s incomparable with an absolute highlight like Le Mans. There as many as 20 cars capable of winning on the grid. This indicated the significance of this event.
Coming up next week
14/07 Mattias Ekström, 33rd birthday
16-17/07 Munich (D), Show Event DTM
16-17/07 Imola (I), Italian GT Championship, round 4
16-17/07 Paul Ricard (F), FIA GT3 European Championship, round 4
16-17/07 Zolder (B), Dutch Supercar Challenge, round 6
16-17/07 Estoril (P), Spanish GT Championship, round 4