Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Audi Records First Triumph in Spa 24 Hours

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Audi, winner of 10 of the last 12 24 Hours of Le Mans races, added another prize to its racing portfolio with victory Sunday in the Total 24 Hours of Spa.

Mattias Ekstrom, Greg Franchi and Timo Scheider shared driving duties in the R8 LMS coupe and won by two laps over a Schubert Motorsport BMW Z4 GT3 driven by Dirk Werner, Claudia Hurtgen and Edward Sandstrom.

Unlike the Le Mans classic, the Spa race is for production-based GT cars only and does not include the purpose-built sports prototype machines. The 64th edition of the race was staged, as it has been each year since 1979, on the Circuit de Spa-Francorchamps, site of the Formula 1 Belgian Grand Prix.

Two Audis were entered in the race, both with factory support. The winning car was one of two fielded by Audi Sport Team WRT. The second WRT car, with Bert Longin, Filipe Albuquerque and Stéphane Ortelli driving, finished 4th.

Third place went to a Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 driven by Kenneth Heyer, Thomas Jäger and Stéphane Lémeret.

An Audi Sport Phoenix entry led in the early going, but crashed out of the race before the midway point. The winning car led the final 13 hours.

Porsche was the winner of last year's race, but no Porsche entry was a contender this year. The highest finisher for the iconic marque was 17th.

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