After Le Mans, Audi wins in Spa
Published On Jul 29, 2014 11:14 AM By Rahul
Audi has won the toughest GT3 race at Spa. In the battle of eleven auto makers and 60 participants, the R8 LMS ultra was successful for the third time in four years in the classic race in the Ardennes that celebrated its 90th anniversary this year. The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT took victory in its home round with the driver trio Laurens Vanthoor/René Rast/Markus Winkelhock. Rast and Winkelhock had previously achieved victory with Audi at the Nürburgring together with two other team-mates.
Audi has impressively demonstrated its endurance racing expertise in the 2014 season. In June, the company won the Le Mans 24 Hours for an amazing 13th time. Only a week following this victory of the R18 e-tron quattro hybrid sports car, the brand celebrated its next 24-hour race win at the Nürburgring with the R8 LMS ultra. Now, the third endurance race victory within six weeks was scored at Spa. With that, Audi, just like in 2012, has won three major international motorsport classics in the same year.
The subsequent winners dropped to sixth place during this phase. Only in the seventh hour of the race, Laurens Vanthoor took the top spot again. Due to the different pit stop strategies the lead kept changing. In the morning, the BMW team Marc VDS Racing had an advantage, which the three Audi drivers progressively reduced. In the 21st hour of the race, René Rast took the lead, which he briefly lost again due to a change of the brake pads. Afterwards, the Audi driver battled and went on to re-capture first place 75 minutes before the end of the race. Different pit stop strategies caused the lead to change again in the last hour of the race. In the end, Audi celebrated its third victory at Spa after 2011 and 2012. Laurens Vanthoor is the new leader of the Blancpain Endurance Series standings before the finale to be held at the Nürburgring on September 21.
Christopher Mies/James Nash/Frank Stippler (D/GB/D), who competed for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT as well, completed the podium in third place. On Saturday, the squad had lost valuable time due to a drive-through penalty. Another Audi team followed in fourth place overall. Saintéloc Racing, with a consistently fast drive by Grégory Guilvert/Stéphane Ortelli/Edward Sandström (F/MC/S), in third place, secured a strong position in the standings of the Blancpain Endurance Series, which includes the Spa 24 Hours.
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