After sprint title, Audi R8 LMS wins endurance title in Italy as well
Victory for B-Quik Absolute Racing at season opener in Thailand
Runner-up titles for Audi customer teams in TCR Japan and TCR Russia
Audi Sport Italia achieved the maximum result in the domestic GT Championship with the R8 LMS: After winning the sprint race series, the team also celebrated endurance championship success at Monza. In Asia, B-Quik Absolute Racing won at the season opener of the Thailand Super Series. In Japan and Russia, two Audi Sport customer racing teams clinched runner-up titles with the Audi RS 3 LMS.
Audi R8 LMS GT3
Dramatic finale in Italy: The final three-hour race of the Campionato Italiano GT Endurance was nothing for the faint-hearted. In the first two and a half hours, the Audi Sport Italia team seemed to have no chance at Monza: Riccardo Agostini was stuck behind the title rivals from Lamborghini and Ferrari at the beginning. When he handed over the cockpit to Lorenzo Ferrari at the pit stop, the Audi R8 LMS had to adhere to a 30-second extended stop time. It resulted from the handicap regulations that penalized the team’s previous victory at Vallelunga with a longer standing time at the following race. In the final third of the race, Mattia Drudi took over the wheel and experienced déjà vu. As in his first GT3 victory for the team in 2018, rain set in towards the end of the race. The Audi Sport driver was prepared to continue on slicks in these critical conditions while his rivals pitted for tire changes. As a result, Drudi took the lead on the 86th of 94 laps and did not relinquish it. In addition to his talent, the 23-year-old Italian was helped in this situation by the particularly finely adjustable driving aids of the R8 LMS. Hence the race car is suited for young professionals as well as gentleman drivers. Drudi has already been involved in numerous victories for the team but previously had no title chances in Italy because his international commitments for Audi Sport repeatedly resulted in scheduling conflicts. In the company of his teammates, Drudi now celebrated the well-deserved first motorsport title of his career after clinching his third victory of the season. The Audi Sport Italia team of Emilio Radaelli and Ferdinando Geri had already won the Sprint Championship in Italy three weeks earlier with Agostini and Ferrari. As a result, the squad from Nibbiola has already contributed two of five drivers titles so far to the Audi R8 LMS’ overall tally in the 2021 season.
Victory at the season opener in Thailand: The Thailand Super Series kicked off the 2021 season on the Buriram circuit on the last weekend in October, with the Audi customer team B-Quik Absolute Racing competing as defending champions. An accident, in which the Audi R8 LMS of the Pro-Am driver pairing Martin Rump and Daniel Bilski was also slightly damaged, ended the first sprint shortly after the start. After the restart, Bilski held second place until teammate Philip Massoud overtook him in another Audi. Martin Rump took over Bilski’s car at the pit stop, was in second place at times and eventually finished third ahead of teammate Massoud and his fellow driver Sandy Stuvik. In the second sprint, Martin Rump took the lead from pole position until an opponent overtook him. The team reacted wisely to the early pit stops of the competition and delayed the driver change for a long time. So the Estonian built up a lead again and handed his car over to Daniel Bilski, who eventually won by eleven seconds. Thanks to the points scored by the two driver combinations, B-Quik Absolute Racing leads the team standings ahead of the race series’ finale from December 23–26.
Audi RS 3 LMS (TCR)
Second place in Russia: In the TCR Russia finale, two different Audi customer teams each clinched second place. Egor Orudzhev finished second in the Audi RS 3 LMS for the Lukoil Racing Team in the first sprint at Sochi in a turbulent race. Dmitry Bragin was the victim of a chaotic situation after the start when a car left the track and returned to the middle of the field. The Russian had to avoid this competitor and spun his Audi RS 3 LMS backwards into a tire wall. As a result, he lost his last theoretical title chances. In the second sprint, Bragin improved from third to second place, chased the leading Cupra driver Pavel Kalmanovich to the finish and was beaten by only 0.315 seconds. As the best Audi privateer in the field, Dmitry Bragin closed the season in second place.
Two trophies and runner-up in Japan: Masanobu Kato closed the 2021 TCR Japan season with two podium results. The Japanese finished third in the first sprint race at Suzuka in the Audi RS 3 LMS and finished the second race in second position. TCR Japan counts Saturday’s and Sunday’s races in two separate championship tables. In both classifications, Audi privateer Masanobu Kato is the runner-up. Audi Team Mars, which prepares and enters his RS 3 LMS, was the second-best of 15 outfits in the team classification.
Class wins in Portugal: At the third round of the Campeonato de Portugal de Velocidade, Jorge Silva celebrated three class victories. The Portuguese in the Audi RS 3 LMS won each of the touring car classifications at Portimão. In addition, he finished 4th, 2nd and 5th overall in the production-based touring car in the three rounds amid more powerful GT Cup and GT4 sportscars.