24H Nurburgring: Audi qualifying report

All Audi R8 LMS cars in top six Ingolstadt/Nurburg -- The new GT3 sports car from AUDI AG delivered an impressive performance in qualifying for the 24-hour race on the Nurburgring: All four Audi R8 LMS finished among the top six in the ...

All Audi R8 LMS cars in top six

Ingolstadt/Nurburg -- The new GT3 sports car from AUDI AG delivered an impressive performance in qualifying for the 24-hour race on the Nurburgring: All four Audi R8 LMS finished among the top six in the final qualifying session and thus secured grid positions on the first three rows of the 171-car field.

As is often the case at the 24-hour race, the first lap of the second qualifying session was crucial. As early as from the second lap there was heavy traffic on the 25.378-kilometer track consisting of a combination of the Grand Prix circuit and the Nordschleife which made it nearly impossible to improve lap times.

In the one-lap sprint for the best starting positions the fastest Audi driver was Marc Basseng (Audi R8 LMS #99/Phoenix Racing). With 8m 37.553s, the Nordschleife specialist was merely 1m 017s short of clinching the pole position. The reigning DTM Champion Timo Scheider (Audi R8 LMS #100/Team ABT Sportsline) was just six tenths of a second slower although he had to pass several vehicles on the Grand Prix circuit and lost additional time in the "Bergwerk" section.

Hans-Joachim Stuck (Audi R8 LMS #98/Phoenix Racing), as well, proved that at age 58 he is still one of the fastest contenders on the Nordschleife. With 8m 39.618s, the Austrian, who had won the first 24-hour race on the Nurburging in 1970, posted the sixth-best time.

Jean-Francois Hemroulle (Audi R8 LMS #97/Team ABT Sportsline) was out of luck on the first lap. The Belgian got caught behind slower cars and, at first, had to settle for tenth place. However, his teammate Lucas Luhr managed the leap onto position four of the grid at the last moment. Although the track was not clear, the German managed an impressive time of 8m 38.181s and was thus one of the very few drivers to improve his time.

"Prior to this qualifying, nobody knew where they really stood," said Marc Basseng. "So, I'm all the happier that we're at the very front of the field with the Audi R8 LMS. Our new car is still a young baby but I trust Audi to have built a reliable car too."

The four Audi R8 LMS cars were running without problems in qualifying. In the first session in the rain on Thursday night merely the Audi R8 LMS car number 100 had a few bugs that were corrected overnight.

"I think that, considering that this is our Audi R8 LMS's maiden run at the 24-hour race, we can be happy with its performance," said Head of Audi Motorsport Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich after the qualifying sessions. "Obviously, we're able to run at the front of the field. However, we've done -- and will continue to do -- a lot of work on our new car. We're preparing ourselves for the race now which will be an extreme endurance test in the form of this very special 24-hour race for the Audi R8 LMS."

The 37th edition of the endurance classic starts on Saturday at 4 pm. DSF will broadcast from the Nurburgring starting at 3 pm (local time), airing more than ten hours of live coverage. The entire race can be watched on the internet at www.audi.tv as a live stream. The organizer expects a turnout of some 200,000 spectators who can look forward to a thrilling race: the fastest six vehicles are separated by merely three seconds after qualifying.

-credit: audi

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About this article
Series Endurance
Drivers Hans-Joachim Stuck , Lucas Luhr , Timo Scheider , Marc Basseng , Jean-François Hemroulle
Teams Phoenix Racing