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Early title defense for Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor with Audi
- Team WRT wins Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Sprint Cup
- Three victories for the Audi R8 LMS at the ADAC Racing Weekend
- First success for Yuki Fujii in the Audi RS 3 LMS in TCR Japan
Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor in the Audi R8 LMS have already been crowned Sprint Champions of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS before the finale. Three victories were celebrated by teams with the Audi R8 LMS in Europe at the ADAC Racing Weekend and one in the USA at GT America. Podium successes of the Audi R8 LMS GT4 and the Audi RS 3 LMS rounded off the tally on the last weekend in August.
Audi R8 LMS GT3
Fourth sprint title for an Audi driver squad: Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor secured their second consecutive title in the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS early at Brands Hatch. The two Audi Sport drivers from Team WRT scored their fourth victory of the season after a smart drive in a dramatic first race on the British rollercoaster track. Weerts was in fourth place in the early stages. After swapping the cockpit with his teammate at the mandatory pit stop, Vanthoor returned to the race action in third place in the Audi R8 LMS. The two rivals in front of him fought a fierce duel in the final phase in which one competitor crashed. Vanthoor crossed the finish line in second place behind the safety car. Race control subsequently blamed the accident on the provisional winner Raffaele Marciello and penalized him. As a result, victory went to Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor. Third place was secured by their teammates Frank Bird/Ryuichiro Tomita as the best Silver driver pairing in another Audi R8 LMS. In the second sprint, Weerts and Vanthoor maintained third place over the entire race distance. When the leading Mercedes driver Timur Boguslavskiy went off the track on the last lap due to a puncture, the Audi driver duo moved up to second place. With a 42.5-point advantage, the two Belgians will be uncatchable at the sprint finale at Valencia at the end of September. Never before has a driver team won the title in this race series two years in a row. After Enzo Ide (2016), Robin Frijns/Stuart Leonard (2017) and Dries Vanthoor/Charles Weerts (2020), this is already the fourth championship victory for Audi in the sprint classification. Team WRT has won the team title for the seventh time after 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2020. Added to this is the corresponding success in 2013 in the predecessor race series FIA GT Series. At the same time, the team and drivers have hopes of winning further titles: In the Endurance classification, Vanthoor and Weerts are in second place with Kelvin van der Linde with two races to go. Vanthoor/Weerts lead the overall combined Sprint and Endurance standings by 71.5 points.
Five trophies in Assen: There were several reasons to cheer at the ADAC Racing Weekend in Assen. In the Goodyear 60 endurance race, Salman Owega scored his first victory in his fourth car race. The Cologne-based driver, who is only 16 years old, beat Mercedes driver Tim Heinemann at the start of the race on the Dutch circuit. Owega in the Audi R8 LMS from Phoenix Racing increased his lead to 31.6 seconds by the time he crossed the finish line. Another trophy also went to the Audi privateer team from the Eifel region: Christer Jöns and Carrie Schreiner finished third. Owega finished the subsequent first sprint in the GTC Race series in second place ahead of Carrie Schreiner. In the second 30-minute race, the junior driver was again the best Audi privateer in third place.
The first two wins of the season: Uwe Alzen was in perfect form at the second race weekend of the Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy. After managing a third-place finish at the season opener already, he remained unchallenged at the Assen circuit. The former professional driver steered his Audi R8 LMS to a commanding victory in the first sprint, 51 seconds ahead of Corvette driver Jürgen Bender. In the second sprint on the Dutch track, the Audi privateer prevailed by 4.5 seconds against Porsche driver Ulrich Becker. Stefan Wieninger in another Audi R8 LMS finished third in both sprint races.
Strong result at Road America: James Sofronas managed a perfect first race on the fifth race weekend of the GT America mixed sportscar series. The GMG Racing team principal and driver started from pole position in the Audi R8 LMS ultra at Road America. In the course of the 40-minute race he managed to set the fastest race lap. In the end, the veteran won by 3.6 seconds ahead of racing veteran Memo Gidley.
Audi R8 LMS GT4
With slicks to the front: Florian Boehnisch experienced a roller coaster of emotions at the ADAC Racing Weekend in Assen. The privateer started the second sprint of the GTC Race series from first place in the Konrad Motorsport Audi R8 LMS GT4. On slicks, Boehnisch had no chance on the initially damp track and dropped back. When it dried out, he fought his way back position by position and in the end finished third in the GT4 classification.
Second place in club racing: On the fourth race weekend of the Trophée Tourisme Endurance, Team Full Motorsport managed a podium result with the Audi R8 LMS GT4. The driver trio Pierre Arraou/Thibault Bossy/Nicolas Milan finished second in their class on the Ledénon circuit after four hours of racing.
Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)
First victory for Yuki Fujii: Audi Team Hitotsuyama will have special memories of the fourth race weekend of the TCR Japan. Last year’s champions are only occasionally competing in this race series this year and had opted for a guest start at Motegi. In the second sprint, Yuki Fujii in the Audi RS 3 LMS, who had started from second place, won the starting duel against the car in front of him, Yusuke Shiotsu in the Honda. After both race cars touched, Fujii was the first to turn into the first corner. Shortly thereafter, the Audi nearly spun off the track in a corner while chaser Shiotsu swerved to avoid and spun himself in the process. Further incidents in the field forced a safety car period. After being green-flagged again, Fujii in the Audi led ahead of Honda driver Masayoshi Oyama, who was soon overtaken by Yusuke Shiotsu. Although Shiotsu still reduced his gap to half a second, he could not get past the leading Audi. Thus, Yuki Fujii, who discovered his racing talent at the Audi driving experience in Japan and as the best participant was allowed to contest a TCR race last year for the first time, clinched his first victory in the TCR Japan.
Two wins in Canada: Travis Hill was unbeatable on the fourth race weekend of the Sports Car Championship Canada presented by Michelin. The driver of Team TWOth Autosport won the TC classification in the Audi RS 3 LMS on the Mirabel circuit in both races. Teammate Nick Looijmans completed the success of the first race to a 1-2 victory for TWOth Autosport.
Success in the Netherlands: Max Frederik Gruhn had a good second weekend in the Spezial Tourenwagen Trophy. The privateer driver in the Audi RS 3 LMS won his class by 27.7 seconds in the first 30-minute sprint at Assen. In the second sprint, he was beaten by Volkswagen driver Stefan Schäfer by only 0.5 seconds. The Audi driver had already recorded a first and a second place at the season opener.
Coming up next week
03–04/09 Padborg (DK), round 4, Danish Endurance Championship
03–05/09 Red Bull Ring (A), round 5, DTM
03–05/09 Red Bull Ring (A), round 4, DTM Trophy
03–05/09 Imola (I), round 3, Campionato Italiano GT Sprint
03–05/09 Barcelona (E), round 5, 24H Series
03–05/09 Nürburgring (D), round 4, GT World Challenge Europe Endurance Cup
03–05/09 Nürburgring (D), round 5, GT4 European Series
03–05/09 Nürburgring (D), round 5, TCR Europe
03–05/09 Vålerbanen (N), round 5, Racing NM
04/09 Ruapuna (NZ), round 1, South Island Endurance Series
03–05/09 Brno (CZ), round 6, Eset Cup
03–05/09 Brno (CZ), round 6, TCR Eastern Europe
03–05/09 Mosport (CDN), round 5, Sports Car Championship Canada presented by Michelin
04–05/09 Imola (I), round 5, TCR Italy
04–05/09 Anderstorp (S), round 4, TCR Scandinavia
04–05/09 Anderstorp (S), round 3, GT4 Scandinavia