By Johan Laubscher
Audi Sport Italia fielded two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in the 2013 Italian GT Championship. It was a season of ups and downs, but Audi Sport Italia never gave up and even won the final race of the year at Monza.
The season review has been compiled from the 2013 Audi Motorsport Blog Weekend Round Up posts. Each round has been added as was seen in the individual Weekend Round Up posts during 2013, which can be accessed via the links throughout the review below:
The Italian GT got their season underway at Misano. Audi Sport Italia are once again entering a two-car team this year. Two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars, both in 2013 specification. A difficult qualifying session was followed by an unlucky race with the cars finishing in sixth and eighth, after one start from the back of the gird and the other suffered a penalty. The second race was another hard race for the team, finishing seventh and ninth.
The Italian GT Championship headed to Austria for round two, hosted at the Red Bull Ring. Audi Sport Italia and their two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars struggled during practice and qualifying, being relegated to the lower half of the top ten for the most part, however the #5 was able to qualify fourth for race two. The first race saw Capello and Sonvico progressing up to third and then inheriting second on the last lap when problems hit another competitor, their teammates finished in fifth. The second race had the top placed Audi involved in a tussle for the podium, and the #5 Audi finished in third. Their teammates finished in sixth.
Round 3: Mugello
Mugello hosted the third Italian GT round this weekend. Audi Sport Italia was entered with their two-car Audi R8 LMS ultra team. They showed good pace during practice and Alex Frassineti was able to take pole position for race one, and fifth for race two. His teammates suffered an engine problem during qualifying and placed lower down. The first race proved to be very difficult and both Audis finished in the lower half of the top ten, in positions eight and nine.
Imola played host to round four of the Italian GT Championship. It proved to be a weekend where Audi Sport Italia’s resources were spread thinly. They downsized their Superstars effort in Portugal to only one Audi RS 5 entry, but they did field both of their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars at Imola. The qualifying was highlighted by pole position for Dindo Capello and Andrea Sonvico for race one. They backed up the pole by winning Audi Sport Italia’s first GT race of the 2013 season, followed by their teammates in fifth. Race two saw another podium finish as Alex Frassineti and Johan Kristoffersson finished third. Their teammates finsihed race two in seventh.
Imola again hosted the Italian GT Championship this weekend, round five. Audi Sport Italia was split between the Italian GT at Imola and the Superstars at Donington, but despite of this both Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were present at Imola. They qualified third and seventh for race one, followed by fourth and eighth for race two. The first race saw the #5 Audi starting from pitlane and ultimately finishing seventh, whilst their teammates in the #4 suffered contact at the start and finished fourteenth after losing time for repairs. Race two saw the #4 Audi finishing fifth, whilst their teammates unfortunately did not start the race in the #5 Audi.
The Italian GT headed to round six at Vallelunga. Audi Sport Italia was entered with both of their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. They qualified in sixth and seventh for race one, followed by fourth and seventh for race two. The first race saw the #5 Audi battling for the lead and ultimately finishing second, their teammates finished fifth. Both Audis were again inside of the top five during race two, as the #5 Audi finished third ahead of their teammates in fifth.
Monza played host to the seventh and final round of the 2013 Italian GT Championship season this weekend. It was a victorious end to the season for Audi Sport Italia and their Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. Audi Sport Italia was entered with their regular two-car Audi R8 LMS ultra team. The #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra was driven by Alex Frassineti and Johan Kristoffersson, along with their sister #4 Audi driven by Dindo Capello and Andrea Sonvico. Qualifying saw the Audis within the top ten, as they qualified fourth and ninth for race one, followed by third and eighth for race two. The first race began with both of the Audis moving up into the top five. Ultimately the #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Alex Frassineti and Johan Kristoffersson finished in fifth, whilst their teammates, Dindo Capello and Andrea Sonvico, suffered a puncture in Audi #4 and finished in tenth, a lap down. The second and final race on Sunday, saw Audi Sport Italia bouncing back to take victory in the final race of the season. Frassineti and Kristoffersson converted their third position on the grid into a well deserved race victory. They were followed home by their teammates in fourth, who were later promoted to third after a penalty for one of their competitors. A great result for Audi Sport Italia to conclude their 2013 season, which saw race wins with the R8 LMS ultra in the Italian GT Championship and the Superstars championship title with Gianni Morbidelli and the RS 5 quattro.
Photo credit: Audi Sport Italia