- Grand appearance by Miguel Molina and Adrien Tambay in Austria
- Laurens Vanthoor and Stéphane Ortelli in GT1 World Championship leading group
- Audi R8 LMS ultra wins opening round of GT Asia race series
A week before the fourth DTM race at the Red Bull Ring the Audi drivers appeared with DTM in front of an enthusiastic public in Graz, the state capital of Styria.
Great anticipation for the race: Miguel Molina and Adrien Tambay enjoyed a DTM presentation in Austria that exceeded many expectations. 22,000 visitors travelled to Graz to see how Molina burnt rubber as he drifted on the tarmac. Mayor Siegfried Nagl also enjoyed his ride in the DTM Audi alongside the Spaniard. Autograph sessions, a visit by the racing drivers and Head of Audi Sport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich’s visit to the Town Hall to write in the city’s golden book as well as a Grid Girl beauty contest completed the program of events. Molina, Tambay and Markus Michelberger, Timo Scheider’s race engineer, arrived on Friday at the FH Joanneum in Graz to give a lecture to the students. On the same evening Molina signed autographs at the ‘Men in Black 3’ premiere at the Cineplexx in Graz.
Within striking distance: After three of the ten FIA GT1 World Championship races this season two Audi drivers continue to fight among the leading group. Laurens Vanthoor from Belgium and Stéphane Ortelli from Monaco share third place in the standings only four points behind Frédéric Makowiecki, Stef Dusseldorp, Thomas Jäger and Nicky Pastorelli who all share the lead with 46 points. Ortelli and Vanthoor started sixth at Navarra, Spain in the Audi R8 LMS ultra and finished tenth. Their team mates Oliver Jarvis and Frank Stippler improved in the second Audi R8 LMS ultra fielded by the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT from tenth on the grid to eighth at the flag. They are now seventh in the standings. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is third in the team classification.
Fun on the range: Rahel Frey and Timo Scheider enjoyed a pleasant change of scenery away from a DTM race weekend. The female Audi factory driver took a close look at the UniCredit Ladies German Open presented by Audi on Friday at the Golfpark Gut Häusern, Timo Scheider was there on Saturday. The two DTM professionals did not only fulfill many autograph requests, but also visited the Player’s Night in Munich on Friday evening.
Preparation for the 24-hour race: Audi runs with all four R18 prototypes at the test day at Le Mans on June 3. Reserve driver Marc Gené also attends. He is planned to drive alongside Marco Bonanomi and Oliver Jarvis in the Audi R18 ultra with start number ‘4’. He replaces regular driver Mike Rockenfeller at Le Mans who competes in the fourth DTM race at the Red Bull Ring at the same time. Timo Bernhard is still expected to take the wheel of the Audi R18 ultra with start number ‘3’. The Saarlander's recovery has progressed well since his accident at Sebring while testing in March. A scheduled medical examination in the week before the test day will decide whether his participation is possible.
Prominent guests: Two Audi factory drivers welcomed the journalists invited to the presentation of the Audi R8 GT Spyder for the British market. Allan McNish, winner of the Sebring 12 Hours in March, accompanied the event from Monday to Wednesday. Audi UK guests enjoyed circulating the Stowe circuit at Silverstone in the Audi R8 LMS GT3 race car alongside the Scotsman. At Tuesday evening’s media dinner the journalists got acquainted with another Audi sportscar driver – Oliver Jarvis.
Successful season opener in Asia: Jeffrey Lee from Taiwan and Marchy Lee from Hong Kong clinched two podium finishes at the opening race weekend of the GT Asia Series at Sepang. In Saturday’s race they started from pole position in the Audi R8 LMS ultra, but dropped down to ninth after an attack before fighting their way back up to third place. On Sunday the duo improved from fifth on the grid to second. Marchy Lee now leads the standings by one point from Jeffrey Lee.
Podium in Spain: Ni Amorim and César Campaniço were delighted about their podium place in the third round of the FIA GT3 Championship. The Portuguese driver duo started Sunday’s race in the Team Novadriver Audi R8 LMS ultra from sixth position and improved to take third place at the flag.
A word from ... Adrien Tambay
You enjoyed an exceptional spectacle in Graz where the DTM received a very warm welcome. What did you like the most?
"We enjoyed a particularly pleasant appearance and gave a road show that impressed many fans. My Audi team mate Miguel Molina grabbed plenty of attention with his donuts. Our press conference was also well received and was attended by many journalists. It was convincing advertising for our race this coming week.”
You encountered a particularly interested knowledgeable audience at the FH Joanneum in Graz – young student engineers. Your impression?
"We visited the technical conference together with Miguel Molina and engineer Markus Michelberger. The students obviously want to know everything about our work with Audi and in the DTM. They are also actively involved in motorsport because they participate in Formula Student. This appointment was great fun for me.”
You race in Austria next week. Your form curve is currently heading upwards after having improved for the third successive time in qualifying. What do you plan for the Red Bull Ring?
"I’ve never driven a race in Austria. The Red Bull Ring is the only circuit on the calendar that I don’t know. Obviously I want to do as well as possible in qualifying again. Maybe I’ll manage to score my first point in the race as well. Our family has tradition at this track. My father started from pole position in the Formula 1 race at Zeltweg in 1983.”
Coming up next week
June 2nd Silverstone (GB), Blancpain Endurance Series, round 2
June 2nd Detroit (USA), GRAND-AM, round 5
June 3rd Red Bull Ring (A), DTM, round 4
June 3rd Le Mans (F), WEC test day
June 3rd Portimão (P), Portuguese GT Championship, round 3
and Taça de Portugal
June 3rd Zhuhai (CN), Audi R8 LMS Cup, round 2