Audi Sport drivers Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts dominate in Italy

RenĂŠ Rast is within striking distance in the DTM

Audi RS 3 LMS and Audi R8 LMS GT2 at the front of European classifications

The first weekend of July brought quite a few celebrations for Audi Sport customer racing: Two dominant wins for the Audi R8 LMS in the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS Sprint Cup at Misano, as well as two podiums in the DTM at Audi Sport’s home race at the Norisring headlined the GT3 successes.

In addition, Audi Sport customers also consolidated their championship leads in Europe with the Audi R8 LMS GT2 and Audi RS 3 LMS, and the GT4 version of the Audi R8 LMS also took customers to podium results in Italy, Germany and Portugal.

Audi R8 LMS GT3

Unbeatable in Italy: Audi Sport drivers Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts put on a masterful display in the Fanatec GT World Challenge powered by AWS Sprint Cup at the Misano circuit in Italy, the fourth race weekend of the Sprint Cup season. The reigning champions, driving an Audi R8 LMS for Vincent Vosse’s Belgian Team WRT outfit, took pole position for both of the weekend’s two one-hour races. In the opening heat, Weerts maintained the lead into the first corner and throughout his stint, before handing the Audi over to Vanthoor, who took the win with an advantage of over five seconds.

Third place saw a close battle between two Audi R8 LMS entries: Team WRT’s Benjamin Goethe and Audi Sport driver Christopher Haase from Tresor by Car Collection. In the end, Goethe held off Haase to clinch third place overall and victory in the Silver class classification for himself and teammate Thomas Neubauer. On Sunday, the second heat saw Vanthoor leading the way once again. He was the last of the front-runners to dive into pitlane to hand over his car to his teammate.

Weerts rejoined the proceedings as the leader and ultimately took the victory with a gap of over two seconds. This triumph marked a record-equaling 14th Sprint Cup race win for Dries Vanthoor, a record that he now shares with his brother Laurens. Third place on Sunday went to Tresor by Car Collection with Haase and teammate Simon Gachet.

The Belgian duo of Vanthoor and Weerts now holds an 11.5-point advantage in the drivers’ standings with the Sprint Cup season finale set to take place in mid-September at Valencia in Spain, where they stand the chance to clinch their third successive Sprint Cup title. They are also currently leading the overall drivers’ standings by half a point – this classification is comprised of the Sprint and Endurance Cup rounds. Team WRT also leads the sprint and overall teams’ classifications.

Two trophies for Team ABT Sportsline: Following his first win of the season at the previous round at Imola in Italy, René Rast added two more trophies to his tally at the Norisring street circuit in Nuremberg, which marked the home DTM race for Audi Sport and also the halfway point on the calendar. In the opening heat of the season’s fourth race weekend, Kelvin van der Linde started from pole position in his Audi R8 LMS from Team ABT Sportsline, but fell back and retired during the incident-filled race that only saw 11 cars finishing from 27 starters.

His teammate, Rast, moved forward from sixth to finish third. The three-time DTM champion repeated this result by again moving up from sixth on the grid to score third place in the second race on Sunday. With these results, Rast has moved himself forward from fifth to third in the drivers’ standings. He is the best-placed Audi driver and only ten points behind the leader, Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti. In the manufacturers’ standings, Audi has now increased its lead even further with a 60-point advantage over the nearest competitor, Mercedes-AMG.

Runner-up at the coast: The B-Quik Absolute Racing team finished second overall in the opening race of the Thailand Super Series. On the fast street circuit in Bangsaen, where the series returned to for the first time in three years, the team locked out the front row for the first race of the season with two of its four Audi R8 LMS entries.

Starting from pole, Akash Nandy dropped to fourth place and remained near the front before he handed the car over to Sandy Stuvik during their pit stop. Following a late-race safety car period, Stuvik put on an impressive charge during the closing minutes to move himself up to second place and challenged for victory against a Lamborghini from Vattana Motorsport on the final lap – narrowly missing out on the win by a mere 0.173 seconds.

Class victory in the USA: Audi privateer Danny Lowry won his class on his debut with a first-generation Audi R8 LMS in the Trans Am series. At the eighth round of the season hosted at the Road America circuit, Lowry qualified third in his class and moved forward to win the class.

Audi R8 LMS GT2

Championship leads extended: The GT2 European Series headed to Misano for its third event of the year. The battle for third place in the first race was a three-way Audi R8 LMS GT2 fight with the duo of Peter Guelinckx and Bert Longin from PK Carsport coming out on top to clinch the final step on the podium. Pole position for the second heat belonged to Elia Erhart with his Audi R8 LMS GT2 from LP Racing.

In the end, the victory came down to a tight battle with just over one second covering the first four cars at the finish. Leading the way was Stienes Longin and Nicolas Saelens in their Audi R8 LMS GT2 from PK Carsport, ahead of Am class winner Henry Hassid in his Audi R8 LMS GT2 from LP Racing.

This marked the fourth win in six races of the series so far this year for the most powerful race car from Audi Sport customer racing. Stienes Longin and Nicolas Saelens continue to lead the Pro-Am drivers’ standings, having extended their lead ahead of Peter Guelinckx and Bert Longin, while Henry Hassid also increased his lead at the top of the Am drivers’ classification.

Audi R8 LMS GT4

First place in Vila Real: The famous street circuit in Portugal hosted the second round of the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade, which was also a joint non-championship event of the Supercars Endurance series. Veloso Motorsport celebrated victory in the weekend’s opening race with the pairing of Patrick Cunha and Jorge Rodrigues in an Audi R8 LMS GT4, who won with a 14-second advantage over their nearest competitor in the overall results.

Silverware for Saintéloc Racing: At the third weekend of the GT4 European Series hosted at the Misano circuit in Italy, the reigning Pro-Am class drivers’ champions, Grégory Guilvert and Fabien Michal, finished runner-up overall in the weekend’s opening race. It was the second overall podium result for the two Frenchmen in an Audi R8 LMS GT4 from the Saintéloc Racing team so far this season.

Third place in Nuremberg: Thiago Vivacqua finished third in the opening DTM Trophy race at the Norisring – the third event of the season. It was the second podium result for the Brazilian youngster with an Audi R8 LMS GT4 from Heide-Motorsport so far in 2022.

Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)

Firm hold on the championship lead: Franco Girolami enjoyed a successful weekend with the Audi RS 3 LMS and the Comtoyou Racing team in TCR Europe at the Norisring in Germany – the fourth event on the season’s calendar. Having started the first race from eighth on the grid, the Argentine moved forward to take his fourth podium finish of the season with third place on the street circuit.

In the second heat, Girolami lined up in third place and later moved into the lead on the tenth lap and remained at the front to win his second race of the year so far. Girolami’s lead in the drivers’ championship has now more than doubled after the Norisring with an advantage of 72 points over second place.

Coming up next week

08–10/07 Portimão (P), round 5, 24H Series
08–10/07 Zhuzhou (CN), round 1, TCR Asia
09/07 NĂźrburgring (D), round 5, NĂźrburgring Langstrecken-Serie
09–10/07 Sugo (J), round 3, Super Taikyu Series
10/07 Varano (I), round 4, Coppa Italia Turismo
10/07 Hungaroring (H), round 4, International GT Open

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