Team Rosberg wins DTM race at Portimão with Audi R8 LMS
Comtoyou Racing leads the standings after TCR Europe opener
Audi Sport Asia Junior Programme promotes young talent in Asia
The Audi R8 LMS remains top: Team Rosberg was the best of three Audi squads with its victory at the DTM season opener in Portugal, while Team WRT clinched two second places at Brands Hatch in the sprint season opener of the GT World Challenge Europe. The Audi RS 3 LMS is also in top form as Comtoyou Racing leads the TCR Europe after a success at the beginning of the season. Meanwhile, Audi Sport customer racing Asia has launched a special support program for juniors.
Audi R8 LMS GT3
Successful DTM season opener: Nico Müller in Team Rosberg’s Audi R8 LMS is among the first winners of the 2022 DTM season. After the Swiss secured pole position for the second race with a two-tenths of a second advantage at Portimão, he managed a flawless start defending his position against Lamborghini driver Mirko Bortolotti. Despite an early pit stop, the Audi Sport driver managed to make perfect use of his tires until the end of the race. As a result, he ultimately won on the Algarve circuit with a 3.4-second advantage over Ferrari driver Felipe Fraga and Bortolotti. Müller is now in second place in the standings. Audi is also second in the manufacturers standings with points tied with championship leader Mercedes-AMG. In the team standings, ABT Sportsline is the second-best team ahead of Rosberg.
Second place in the standings after two podium finishes: Team WRT started the new Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup season with two second positions in Great Britain. Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts, the champions of the past two years, scored valuable points for Team WRT at Brands Hatch. Weerts overtook a car in front right at the start in the first race from fifth on the grid. After the pit stops, teammate Vanthoor improved to second place. In the second race, Patric Niederhauser with Saintéloc Racing also had a chance for a podium but a slow pit stop during the change to Aurélien Panis threw his Audi back to fifth position. This benefited his Audi Sport driver colleagues Vanthoor and Weerts who again finished second. With a gap of only three points, they are now second in the standings. Audi Sport customer racing was pleased with a strong team performance as a total of six R8 LMS cars of the customer teams finished in the top ten. World Motorcycle Champion Valentino Rossi, who was on the grid with Frédéric Vervisch, scored his first points with Audi in eighth place.
Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)
Triple championship lead in the TCR Europe: Comtoyou Racing managed a perfect start to the TCR Europe season in Portugal. Jean-Michel Baert’s Belgian team celebrated an emotional victory in the second sprint race at Portimão. Franco Girolami, who drove the Audi RS 3 LMS gen II for the first time, had started the race in fifth place. Already at the start he overtook two rivals and steadily improved. On lap seven he raced alongside Pepe Oriola for several turns before finally overtaking the Honda driver. After 14 laps, the Argentine in the Audi won by 1.8 seconds. Teammate Tom Coronel, who had started in fourth place, completed the podium in third. Girolami thus leads the drivers standings with a nine-point advantage. Luís Cidade as the best Junior driver in an Audi RS 3 LMS fielded by Élite Motorsport by Comtoyou occupies first place in the rookie classification. Viktor Davidovski, who contests the season for Comtoyou Racing, is at the top of the Diamond Trophy for amateur drivers older than 35.
Second place in thrilling race: In the third round of the IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge, not one but two Audi customer teams with the RS 3 LMS had chances for the best positions. Until eight minutes before the end of the two-hour race at Laguna Seca, Gavin Ernstone/Jon Morley for Road Shagger Racing were in the lead. However, Morley hit an opponent while lapping, received a drive-through penalty for it and dropped back to eighth position. Denis Dupont, who shared an Audi of the Belgard & Techniseal Racing team with Eric Rockwell, overtook Hyundai driver Tyler Gonzalez on the home straight and secured second position with an advantage of 52 thousandths of a second.
Two trophies in Portugal: At the second event of the Campeonato de España Resistencia, Jorge Silva and Pedro da Silva in the Audi RS 3 LMS were among the best contenders in the D1 class. In the first race at Portimão, the Portuguese drivers in the Audi RS 3 LMS clinched second place in their classification. In the second race, they managed to win their category with a 14.4-second advantage after 50 minutes of racing.
Two class wins in Latvia: Ivars Vallers in the Audi RS 3 LMS won the TCR class in both sprints at the season opener of the Baltic Touring Car Championship. The Latvian finished fourth overall in both competitions on the Riga circuit in his production-based touring car ahead of several Cup and GT4 sports cars.
First victory for Bitci Racing: The Turkish team Bitci Racing celebrated its first success with Audi in the Coppa Italia Turismo. Vedat Ali Dalokay won the second sprint race on the second race weekend from grid position five. He crossed the finish line at Vallelunga after 13 laps with a 2.086-second advantage over Honda driver Paolo Rocca, who had won the first sprint.
Audi Sport customer racing Asia
Audi Sport Asia Junior Programme to promote talent: Audi Sport customer racing Asia has launched a new initiative. In order to specifically guide young Chinese racing talents to the top of the sport, they will receive professional training in the new Audi Sport Asia Junior Programme. 21-year-old Yu Kuai and 20-year-old Cao Zhuo are the first two sponsored drivers who started their careers in karting and continued in single-seater racing. In addition to regular tests and races in the 2022 China Endurance Championship, the two juniors receive continuous instruction in disciplines such as race craft, physical and mental fitness and media training. “Audi Sport customer racing Asia has set milestones in regional motorsport with support programs for a decade, enabling many talents to rise to the top,” says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “We very much welcome the next step which is now aimed at systematic junior promotion. We wish the first candidates every success.”
Coming up next week
03–04/05 Fuji (J), round 2, Super GT
05–08/05 Imola (I), round 2, TCR Italy
06–08/05 Nürburgring (D), 24h Nürburgring Qualifiers
07–08/05 Pukekohe (NZ), round 1, North Island Endurance Series
07–08/05 Pau (F), round 1, FIA WTCR
07–08/05 Silverstone (GB), round 2, British GT