- Victory in the opening races of the FIA GT1 World Championship and FIA GT3 European Championship at Nogaro
- Mattias Ekström to attend Styrian spring festival
- School students impressed by Le Mans engineer Leena Gade
The new Audi R8 LMS ultra enjoyed an extremely successful Easter weekend by claiming victories in the FIA GT1 World Championship and the FIA GT3 European Championship.
Impressive premiere: On its first outing in the FIA GT1 World Championship the Audi R8 LMS ultra, fielded by private team WRT, enjoyed a pair of one-two race results in France. Stéphane Ortelli (F)/Laurens Vanthoor (B) won the qualifying race at Nogaro on Saturday as well as the main race on Monday – on both occasions from their team mates Oliver Jarvis (GB)/Frank Stippler (D). Stippler also celebrated his 37th birthday on Monday.
Successful opener: The FIA GT3 European Championship also started with a win for an Audi customer racing team. At the wheel of the new Audi R8 LMS ultra Marc Sourd, who races with team mate Grégory Guilvert, secured victory by more than a minute for team Saintéloc by driving tactically in the rain on Sunday.
New record: The official Audi Sport ( www.facebook.com/AudiSport ) Facebook profile now boasts a healthy group of fans after just about one year. Over the Easter weekend Audi welcomed the 100,000 user to show their allegiance to the brand’s motorsport program.
Test for the opener: Hockenheim was the scene of the final general test for the three manufacturers competing in the DTM before the season opens there on April 29. Audi presented the A5 DTM in its new colors for the 2012 season. The eight Audi factory drivers shared cockpit time in the latest touring car generation between Monday and Thursday.
Spring fever in Vienna: Mattias Ekström and Audi introduce themselves in Vienna next Thursday. The two-time DTM Champion and an Audi DTM show car make an appearance at the 16th Styrian Spring Festival. The Styrian market village opens on the Vienna town hall square 11:00; at 12:30 Ekström and the DTM car are available for photos.
At the service of science and technology: Leena Gade impressed up-and-coming students as orator at the Atlantic Conference 2012 in Ireland. As responsible race engineer, the Briton from Audi Sport Team Joest guided the Audi R18 TDI of Marcel Fässler/André Lotterer/Benoît Tréluyer to victory at the 24 Hours of Le Mans last year. At the conference in Tullamore she conveyed the importance of science, technology, engineering and mathematics in a vivid manner to a school class.
A word from ... Edoardo Mortara
Preparations for the DTM season are almost finished. What do you like the most about the new Audi A5 DTM?
I prefer the new Audi A5 DTM to the previous A4 DTM. My feeling is that the handling really suits me. It has more grip that its predecessor. So far I’ve tested the car at Valencia and at Hockenheim. However, it’s also clear that with such a completely new design like the A5 DTM we still have to get to know it better in certain situations and how it behaves with specific circuit peculiarities to be able to judge it exactly. This is why I’m looking forward to the start of the season.
There have also been some personnel changes. Audi Sport Team Rosberg has employed Ossi Oikarinen as new Technical Director. Your impression?
Ossi Oikarinen brings know-how from 14 years in Formula 1, which you really notice. He’s very experienced, it’s great fun working with him and he gives the entire time a lot of confidence through his knowledge and how he works.
What’s on your personal agenda before the season starts?
Obviously my physical fitness. Also, motorsport once again dominates the entire day after having devoted the winter break to my studies which I will complete at the end of the year. I’ll also treat myself to a short holiday before the appointments come thick and fast from the middle of April. I flew to Abu Dhabi on Easter Saturday for a few days.
Coming up next week
14.04. Nürburgring (D), VLN endurance championship, round 2
14.04. Monza (I), Blancpain Endurance Series, round 1
15.04. Estoril (P), Portuguese GT Championship, round 2