Published on November 19th, 2018 | by Amirul Mukminin0
Two Victories for Audi Sport Customer Racing at Macau Grand Prix
Audi Sport customer racing returns from the race weekend in Macau with remarkable results. With two victories in the finale of the WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup Audi, from a historical perspective, has now clinched a total of four touring car victories on the city circuit since 1996. This makes the touring cars with the four rings equally as successful as the Audi R8 LMS that was unbeatable in GT sports car races in Macau on four occasions since 2011, but was not in the running for victory in the FIA GT World Cup this year.
Macau proved to be a perfect track for the Audi RS 3 LMS, with the TCR touring car completely in its element on the city circuit. In the first of three races, Jean-Karl Vernay stormed from fourth on the grid to the front of the field by taking advantage of the good aerodynamics of the production-based model for overtaking maneuvers on the long straight. The Frenchman from Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team celebrated his fourth victory this season by a margin of half a second.
The second race was equally exciting. Frédéric Vervisch had mounted the podium six times this season and at the finale achieved his breakthrough with Audi Sport Team Comtoyou in race two. From third on the grid he advanced to the front and won with a 1.7-second advantage.
Audi has a remarkable track record in the inaugural season of the FIA WTCR: At ten events, the Audi RS 3 LMS has clinched 17 podium finishes including six victories. Each of the three Audi Sport drivers, Jean-Karl Vernay, Frédéric Vervisch and Gordon Shedden, has won at least once. Vernay, as the best driver of an Audi RS 3 LMS, in the end took fifth place in the standings.
With Filipe Souza of Champ x TA Motorsport in the first race of the weekend and Kevin Tse of Team Work Motorsport in the second and third race in Macau, an Audi RS 3 LMS was the best “wildcard” entrant in each of the races at the finale.
“Congratulations to Jean-Karl, Frédéric and to our WTCR teams on their strong showing in Macau,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “The FIA WTCR with seven marques and many very seasoned drivers was fiercely competitive. The fact that every one of our permanently entered privateers, Nathanaël Berthon, Denis Dupont and Aurélien Panis, regularly scored points during the season underlines the qualities of the driver, team and race car.”
In tackling the dual challenge in Macau, Audi had a tougher time in the FIA GT World Cup with the Audi R8 LMS. After four victories since 2011, the attempt to extend that record further did not come to fruition.
Qualifying in Macau resulted in positions seven to nine for Robin Frijns of Audi Sport Team WRT Speedstar, Christopher Haase of Audi Sport Team Rutronik and the second Audi Sport Team WRT Speedstar entrant, Dries Vanthoor. Former Audi Sport R8 LMS Cup champion Adderly Fong qualified 12th in the Audi R8 LMS customer entry from Chinese team Zun Motorsport Crew.
There was practically no overtaking opportunity on the narrow 6.12-kilometre city circuit. In Saturday’s 12-lap qualification race, the trio of Frijns, Haase and Vanthoor saw the chequered flag in positions six to eight, with Fong also advancing a place to 11th.
In Sunday’s GT World Cup final, Frijns finished in fifth place, trailed by Christopher Haase. Dries Vanthoor achieved position eight, with Fong 11th. Even so, Audi looks back on a positive tally this season for the GT3 sports car that will be replaced by a new evolution next year: Twelve overall drivers’ titles have been clinched by drivers around the world in 2018 so far, plus 17 classification victories in other classes.