While the Audi R8 LMS GT3 won another championship in New Zealand and took the lead of the standings in Thailand, two Audi drivers celebrated their medal successes at the FIA Motorsport Games: Tom Coronel won gold for the Netherlands while Dries Vanthoor bid farewell to Audi Sport customer racing after five years with a bronze medal.
Audi R8 LMS GT3
Another title in New Zealand: Just two weeks after winning the South Island Endurance Series, Sam Fillmore and Jonny Reid celebrated another success in New Zealand. The driver pairing won the demanding race on the Highlands circuit in the Audi R8 LMS and thus decided the New Zealand Endurance Championship in their favor. The comparative competition of the 2022 season for the best teams from the country’s North and South Island surprised the participants with unpredictable weather.
After the 3-hour competition had started in dry conditions, heavy rain characterized the final phase. Accidents forced a race interruption at times. In addition to the Audi privateers, a Mercedes and two McLaren driver pairings still had chances for victory in the decisive phase. Despite a windshield wiper that didn’t work perfectly, Jonny Reid prevailed in the end against two McLaren cars that followed 6.7 and 12.4 seconds behind.
The tradition-steeped Team International Motorsport (IMS) thus clinched its third title this calendar year with Audi: Jonny Reid won the New Zealand Endurance Championship with Neil Foster in April as a retrospective comparative competition for the 2021 season and two weeks ago the endurance title on the South Island went to Lyall Williamson’s squad.
Leading the standings in Thailand: Audi Sport Asia driver Sandy Stuvik and Akash Nandy have taken the lead of the standings before the finale of the Thailand Super Series. At Buriram, the driver pairing in the Audi R8 LMS clinched victory in the first race. Henk Kiks and Eshan Pieris completed the success in another Audi from B-Quik Absolute Racing to clinch a one-two victory.
Akash Nandy had taken the lead from pole position and handed his car over to Sandy Stuvik at the pit stop, who returned to the track in third. With four minutes to go, Stuvik overtook the car in front of him. When the black-white checkered flag was already in sight, the leader suddenly ground to a halt so that Stuvik unexpectedly clinched victory ahead of his teammates.
In the second race, Audi Sport driver Markus Winkelhock started from first place on his debut in the Thailand Super Series. Stuvik overtook him but had to concede defeat to the German right away. At the stop Winkelhock handed over his Audi, also fielded by B-Quik Absolute Racing, to teammate Vincente Floirendo. On the third last lap, Akash Nandy passed Floirendo and finished second ahead of his teammate.
Floirendo improved to third place with his weekend result in the Audi Sport Asia Trophy for privateers. The title decision in Thailand will be made at Buriram from December 8 to 11.
Farewell bronze medal: Dries Vanthoor contested his last race for Audi Sport customer racing at the FIA Motorsport Games. After five years as a professional driver in the brand’s service, the 26-year-old Belgian gave his farewell performance in the GT Sprint competition at Le Castellet. He had qualified the Audi R8 LMS, fielded by the Audi Sport customer team Saintéloc Racing, for grid position one.
At the beginning of the one-hour race, Vanthoor lost three positions before overtaking a Porsche on lap ten to secure third place in the end. He thus scored a bronze medal for Belgium and helped his nation to third place in the medal table together with other compatriots from other disciplines.
Vanthoor’s achievements as an Audi Sport driver in the Audi R8 LMS include winning the Nürburgring 24 Hours twice, the Dubai and Zolder 24 Hours once each, the Bathurst 12 Hour once and the GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup three times in a row.
|Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)
Audi drivers dominate FIA Motorsport Games: In the touring car class – one of 16 individual competitions of the Motorsport Games held at Le Castellet – the nations relying on the Audi RS 3 LMS won. After Belgium had secured grid position one in qualifying with Audi Sport driver Gilles Magnus, there was no way past the 23-year-old talent in the qualifying race either.
After 13 laps, the youngster saw the black and white checkered flag 6.2 seconds ahead of Tom Coronel, who was competing for the Netherlands in another Audi RS 3 LMS. In the decisive main race, Coronel took the lead when Magnus, who had started from first place, slowed and came to a halt.
After 15 laps, Coronel, a 50-year-old privateer, won the gold medal for his country by 4.9 seconds. In the medal table, the Netherlands ended up in joint fourth place with Germany in the field of 72 nations. The Audi Sport customer team Comtoyou Racing made the successes of Belgium and the Netherlands possible this year. An Audi driver had already secured the gold medal in the touring cars at the first FIA Motorsport Games in 2019.
Two podium finishes at the finale: At the conclusion of the TCR Japan 2022 on the sixth race weekend at Suzuka, two Audi customer teams each clinched a trophy. In the first sprint, Masanobu Kato in the Audi RS 3 LMS fielded by Audi Team Mars finished second and thus ended the season in third position. In the second race, Kenji Suzuki from Team BRP in another RS 3 LMS crossed the finish line in third place.
Third place in New Zealand: In the New Zealand Endurance Championship, Warren Black managed to claim a podium finish. The privateer driver clinched third place in Class 4/5 in the Audi RS 3 LMS on the Highlands circuit in the one-hour race.
Audi R8 LMS GT4
Class successes at Oschersleben: On the fifth race weekend of Norddeutscher ADAC Börde Tourenwagen Cup, Seyffarth Motorsport achieved three podium results with its customers. In the two-hour endurance race, Lars Ellmer-Kiehn and Finn Alexander Ellmer-Kiehn finished third overall in the Audi R8 LMS GT4, winning their class. In the two sprints, Finn Alexander Ellmer-Kiehn also clinched a third and a second place in Division D.
Coming up next week
04–05/11 Nürburgring (D), round 2, Nürburgring Langstrecken-Serie