Audi are celebrating the successful defence of their “King of the Mountain” title at Mount Panorama in Australia this weekend. The German giant fought off challenges from Mercedes and Ferrari to come out on top at the Bathurst 12 Hours.
Christer Jöns (D), Christopher Mies (D) and Darryl O’Young (HK) fought through rain, fog, several lead changes and numerous safety car periods to take their GT3 spec #1 Audi R8 LMS to victory with a lead of 1m 13s.
Even a spin and an excursion into the gravel trap, that temporarily relegated the #1 car to third place, could not prevent the Jöns/Mies/O’Young team from taking victory. On Saturday the trio had taken pole position, and victory on Sunday completed a perfect weekend.
The second Audi R8 LMS from Phoenix Racing was less fortunate. The Australian trio of Warren Luff, Craig Lowndes and Mark Eddy had initially shown a strong pace, advancing to the front of the field after having started from fifth place. In the fourth and fifth hour of the race the #2 R8 LMS took the lead. Sadly a five-minute time penalty for a severed refuelling hose caused the #2 Audi to lose four laps at about the race’s mid-point. Afterward, on lap 157, Mark Eddy lost control of his car in dense fog and heavy rain. He crashed into a concrete wall on “The Dipper” track section. He was forced to retire with front and rear suspension damage.
A third Audi R8, fielded by United Autosports, also became a victim of the conditions on lap 60. Frank Yu spun off and hit a wall, damaging the frame of the vehicle and retiring the car on the spot. Fortunately Frank was not injured.
After the race Romolo Liebchen (Head of Customer Sport quattro GmbH) said: “After this weekend we can be more than happy because we experienced a pretty rough day. We were fighting for twelve hours straight, from the beginning through to the end, and we did so in difficult overall conditions. We won but on the other hand two of the Audi cars did not finish due to accidents – including our strong Australian car. In the end, one R8 LMS made it, and our youngsters prevailed with a really cool showing. A tremendous performance! The cars were running without any problem from the first meter on. They’d been perfectly prepared at home and were perfectly fielded by Phoenix Racing. And it’s nice for us to be able to beat our core competitors and to finish ahead of Mercedes and Ferrari. That does fill us with a bit of pride. The two 24-hour races at the Nürburgring and at Spa are the next big aims for the R8 LMS. In parallel, we’ll soon be starting into about 20 championships worldwide where the R8 LMS will be fielded.”