TrackWorthy - Audi R8 LMS - 24h Spa 2017

Audi R8 LMS Wins Fourth 24 Hours of Spa for Audi Sport

by TrackWorthy,

TrackWorthy - Audi R8 LMS - 24h Spa 2017
“What we saw this weekend was perfect advertising for GT3 racing.”Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing
In one of the most thrilling editions of the 24 Hours of Spa, Audi clinched its fourth victory in the world’s biggest GT3 endurance race. After 3,824 kilometers, Jules Gounon, Christopher Haase and Markus Winkelhock won by just 11.862 seconds over the second place Bentley Continental GT3 driven by Maxime Soulet, Vincent Abril and Andy Soucek. The top four positions went to four different manufacturers with the Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Edoardo Mortara, Michael Meadows and Raffaele Marciello finishing third and the Porsche 911 GT3 R of Kevin Estre, Michael Christensen and Laurens Vanthoor finishing fourth.
TrackWorthy - Audi R8 LMS - 24h Spa 2017
Audi Sport Team Saintéloc in its first factory-backed commitment with Audi Sport customer racing shone with a convincing performance. In the world’s toughest GT3 race, the number 25 Audi R8 LMS ran impeccably, its drivers having stayed clear of all trouble and ending the race without any sporting penalties. In the penultimate hour of the race, Christopher Haase chased leader Raffaele Marciello over several laps until the Italian pitted. Following his own final service and the stops of his rivals, the 29-year-old Audi Sport campaigner took the lead and went on to celebrate his first victory at Spa. For Jules Gounon from the South of France, this success marked the first one he has clinched in this race and together with Audi as well. Markus Winkelhock had previously won the iconic event in the Ardennes with Audi in 2014. In addition, this was the second 24-hour race victory claimed by the 37-year-old professional race driver this season following his success at the Nürburgring in May. Sébastien Chetail, who formed Saintéloc Racing in 2004, and his squad celebrated the first-ever 24-hour success in their team’s history.
TrackWorthy - Audi R8 LMS - 24h Spa 2017
“Sincere congratulations to the victorious drivers and the team on this outstanding performance,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “This was a particularly tough edition of the 24 Hours of Spa because, due to a very good balance of performance, the Stéphane Ratel organization and Claude Surmont managed to create a field that has been as level as hardly ever before. This was hard work for all the teams because no-one dominated this race. What we saw this weekend was perfect advertising for GT3 racing.”
TrackWorthy - Audi R8 LMS - 24h Spa 2017
Pre-race favorites included two other teams relying on the Audi R8 LMS. Audi Sport Team WRT was leading on home soil with three different driver squads during the race. After three hours, car number 5 with Marcel Fässler, André Lotterer and Dries Vanthoor was the frontrunner, but on Saturday night a damaged brake pad forced the squad to make an unscheduled pit stop. From 45th place the trio battled its way back to eleventh. After nine hours, car No. 2 with Christopher Mies, Connor De Phillippi and Frédéric Vervisch was running in front. However, time lost during a pit stop and an unfortunate on-track positioning when the safety car was deployed caused the driver trio to lose ground, ultimately clinching fifth place. They were trailed by Antonio García/Nico Müller/René Rast in the number 1 sister car. Although having run at the front some of the time as well, two sporting penalties cost the three pros a valuable time.
TrackWorthy - Audi R8 LMS - 24h Spa 2017

A fourth Audi R8 LMS also finished in the top ten. Audi Sport Team I.S.R. from Prague with Pierre Kaffer, Kelvin van der Linde and Frank Stippler finished in ninth place. Three privateer drivers in another Audi R8 LMS from Saintéloc Racing – Fred Bouvy, Christian Kelders and Marc Rostan – saw the checkered flag in fourth place in the AM class and 27th overall.

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