Audi has been handed a performance break ahead of this weekend’s Blancpain Endurance Series finale at the Nurburgring.
The Audi R8 LMS ultra has been given a five millimeter diameter increase in the size of its engine air-restrictor for the Blancpain 1000Km event at the ‘Ring. The decision, which comes with the addition of 10kg to the car’s minimum weight, follows Audi’s uncompetitive showing in the Spa 24 Hours Blancpain event in July and previous rounds of the series.
Audi team boss Vincent Vosse, whose best-placed drivers lie only two points off the championship lead, welcomed the move on the part of series organizer the Stephane Ratel Organisation.
“We should be more competitive, more competitive than we were at Spa, but, then, that isn’t difficult,” he said. “I don’t know exactly how much this will give us, but I feel like we are starting the season again and that we will actually be able to fight with the opposition. The big luck for us is that we are still in the hunt at this stage.”
WRT has reshuffled its driver lineup for the Nurburgring finale to give itself two realistic shots at the title. Rene Rast, who normally shares with Stephane Ortelli and Laurens Vanthoor, has been moved over to drive with Frank Stippler and Christopher Mies, who are second equal in the points. Their regular co-driver, Edward Sandstrom, was teamed with Marcel Fassler and Mathias Ekstrom at the Spa enduro, which separated him from Stippler and Mies in the championship table. But with 31 points, the Swede still has a shot at the title and will take Rast’s place alongside Ortelli and Vanthoor.
Vosse said: “Sandstrom is the second-placed Audi driver in the points, but if we leave him with Stippler and Mies, he has no chance of the title. If we split them, then we have two chances of winning the championship.”
Because the Nurburgring event, which will run for a maximum of six hours, is effectively double the length of a normal three-hour Blancpain event, extra points are on offer for the top-six finishers.
Rather than scoring 25 points for a victory, the winners will get 33, the second-placed crew will get 24 rather than 18, down to nine rather than eight points for sixth position. That means that drivers all the way down to 15th position in the points table of the Blancpain’s premier class, the Pro Cup, have a mathematical chance of taking the title.
The points are led by the Kessel Racing Ferrari lineup of Cesar Ramos, Davide Rigon and Daniel Zampieri, who won the series opener at Monza in April.