Audi Motorsport Newsletter 9/2003
Date: Tuesday, May 06, 2003 @ 09:30:16 BST
Author: audioc
Topic: Audi in Motorsport

The latest news from Audi Sport, covering Le Mans preparations, DTM and the A4 STCC......

Audi drivers well prepared for Le Mans

Le Mans: The Audi drivers are extremely well prepared for the 24 Hours of Le Mans on 14/15 June. All three-customer team Audi R8 sports cars were in the top five at the traditional pre-race test on the 13.880 kilometre track. Jan Magnussen set the fastest time, clinching the first round of the internal Audi duel for Audi Sport Japan Team Goh during the one and only, eight-hour test session before the long distance classic in June. “That was definitely my best performance in Le Mans – and I believe we can actually improve for the race,” said Magnussen.

“All three teams have worked perfectly, making excellent use of the testing time available,” explained Head of Audi Sport Dr Wolfgang Ullrich. Frank Biela, in the Audi Sport UK Audi R8, occupied fourth place in the overall classification in front of Team ADT Champion Racing, for whom Emanuele Pirro clocked the fastest lap time. “I’m satisfied with today’s work. We never really had a clear lap, but have collected plenty of data for the race,” said the Italian. The three Audi R8 sports cars were separated by a mere eight tents of a second.
After almost seven trouble free hours, Team Audi Sport UK suffered a frightening moment when Frank Biela left the circuit and slid into the barriers after hitting oil at the Porsche Curves in his R8. “The oil warning flags were shown initially after the point where I had the accident, which was obviously too late,” explained the three-time Le Mans winner. “I’m okay, but I’m really sorry to have given my team so much work to repair the R8.”

The teams’ work also continues at full swing until the race in June. “After the cars are disassembled, the teams check every component and evaluate all the data collected from the weekend,” said Dr Wolfgang Ullrich.

New Audi A4 wins at its debut in Sweden

STCC: Dream start for Team KMS Motorsport in the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC): Fredrik Ekblom won in the debut race of the new Audi A4. Ekblom secured pole position for the first race in the Super Pole event, took the lead immediately after the start and defended it until the chequered flag. In the second race, in which the first eight drivers from the first round have to start in reverse order, Ekblom fought his way up to third from eighth place. After the first two rounds the Audi driver leads the STCC point standings: “A perfect weekend,” said team principal Tommy Kristoffersson. “It’s fantastic to win the first race with a new car.” Tobias Johansson completed the Audi success with sixth and fourth place.

Next DTM skirmish in Italy

DTM: Following the exciting opening round of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters), in which Champion Laurent Aiello managed to finish on the podium first time out, the 21 drivers confront each other at the Adria International Raceway this weekend for the next skirmish. The first Italian away match of the new DTM is of particular importance for Audi Junior Peter Terting: “I completed my first official test as a DTM driver here. The Adria Raceway is therefore one of the few circuits that I know and on which I have driven with the Abt-Audi TT-R.” The demands made of man and machine at the circuit lying approximately 70 kilometres south of Venice are enormous: At 2.702 kilometres, the second shortest race track in the DTM calendar has almost exclusively tight corners and hairpins, there are no straights to relax on.
“In Adria, it is only a question of braking and accelerating,” said Martin Tomczyk (21), who, together with newcomer Peter Terting, forms the S line Audi Junior Team. Because there are so few opportunities to overtake, qualifying and the subsequent Super Pole are of special importance. Tomczyk, who started the new DTM season from the front row at Hockenheim and finished twelfth in the race, knows that he has his work cut out in Italy. “Actually I’m not so good on such tight circuits. Therefore, I’ll try to use both test sessions as effectively as possible to get used to the track.”

Laurent Aiello travels to Italy as third in the overall classification, his team colleague Mattias Ekström occupies eighth position after the opening race.

Audi Historic Car Festival

Tradition: To make such a staunch racing driver as Christian Abt glassy eyed is not easy. Audi managed it at the weekend: At the Donauring 2003 in Ingolstadt, the Audi Headquarters, the DTM driver drove the legendary Auto Union Rennwagen Type C, with which Bernd Rosemeyer won the 1936 Nürburgring Grand Prix, for the first time. “I have driven a lot of race cars in my career. But for the first time today, just starting up the 16-cylinder engine sent shivers down my spine,” reported the experienced touring car driver. Peter Terting also had the opportunity to drive: The 19-year old Audi Junior piloted an Audi 200 quattro TransAm, with which Audi won the hotly contested 1988 North American TransAm Championship. Dieter Basche presented another historic race car, with which Audi caused a sensation in the USA: The former Head of Audi Sport impressed the many thousands of spectators surrounding the 1.6 kilometre long “Old Town” circuit with a drive in the Audi 90 quattro IMSA-GTO.

Audi Motorsport in figures

Pre-practice Le Mans (F), 4 May
1 Capello/Kristensen/Smith (Bentley) 3m 34.820s
2 Ara/Magnussen/Werner (Audi R8) 3m 38.385s
3 Blundell/Brabham/Herbert (Bentley) 3m 38.769s
4 Biela/Salo/McCarthy (Audi R8) 3m 39.016s
5 Johansson/Lehto/Pirro (Audi R8) 3m 39.077s
6 Bosch/Lammers/Wallace (Dome-Judd) 3m 41.535s
7 Goossens/Matthews/Tinseau (Riley & Scott) 3m 41.856s
8 Gabbiant/Gommendy/Ortitz (Dome-Judd) 3m 42.185s
9 Ayari/Helary/Minassian (Courage-Peugeot) 3m 42.485s
10 Cochet/Gregoire/Derichebourg (Courage-Judd) 3m 42.535s

Falkenberg (S), Round 1 of the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC), 4 May
1 Fredrik Ekblom (Audi A4) 21 laps
2 Jens Edmann (Peugeot) + 1.240s
3 Jan Nilsson (Volvo) + 2.336s
4 Tomas Engström (Honda) + 4.283s
5 Niklas Karlsson (Alfa Romeo) + 4.665s
6 Tobias Johansson (Audi A4) + 8.248s

Falkenberg (S), Round 2 of the Swedish Touring Car Championship (STCC), 4 May
1 Richard Göransson (BMW) 35 laps
2 Jan Nilsson (Volvo) + 1.207s
3 Fredrik Ekblom (Audi A4) + 5.649s
4 Tobias Johansson (Audi A4) + 6.226s
5 Niklas Karlsson (Alfa Romeo) + 8.101s
6 Tommy Rustad (Opel) + 12.564s

Positions after 2 of 16 rounds:
1 Ekblom, 35 points;
2 Nilsson, 32;
3 Göransson, 28;
4 Johansson, 23;
5 Karlsson, 22;
6 Engström, 20.
Next round: Mantorp Park (S), 18 May

Coming up this week

Second DTM round at the Adria International Raceway (Italy) ... Seiji Ara becomes 29 years old on Monday ... Christian Abt celebrates his 36th birthday on Thursday ... Michael Galati and Randy Pobst test their Audi RS6 in Moroso (Florida) on Wednesday ...


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