By Chris King • 30 May 2022 • 4:20
Image of the victorious Audi team.
Credit: Audi MediaCentre
Audi has won the 50th-anniversary edition of the 24-hour classic at the famous Nurburgring circuit in Germany. This was the sixth overall victory in a decade for the brand with the four rings.
After a spectacular race with numerous overtaking manoeuvres, lead changes, and a dramatic finale with rain showers, Robin Frijns, Kelvin van der Linde, Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch celebrated their victory in the Audi R8 LMS from Audi Sport Team Phoenix.
With predominantly beautiful weather, a thrilling rain-induced drama in the final hours, 230,000 spectators back at the track, and a triumph for the four rings with the overall victory and three more Audi R8 LMS cars in the top 10 – the 50th edition of the 24-hour race was a festival for all motorsport fans.
“Congratulations to Audi Sport Team Phoenix”, said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “This victory has a special meaning because strong nerves were required in the changing conditions, especially during the final hours, from the drivers on the track, as well as from the mechanics, engineers, and strategists in the pits”, he continued.
Reinke added: “The fact that fans were finally allowed at the track again and turned this race weekend into one big party makes the success particularly valuable”.
The 2022 edition of the classic was a sprint race over 24 hours. This was also reflected by the total distance of 159 laps covered by the winning car No 15, which equalled the record also set by Audi in 2014.
Starting the race from the 22nd position on the grid, the four teammates did not incur any penalties and avoided any major slip-ups for the entire duration of the race. During brief but heavy rain showers at some points on the track in the final hours of the race, the team made the right decisions in terms of tyre selections.
For van der Linde, Vanthoor, and Vervisch, it is their second 24-hour victory with Audi and the first success for Frijns. The Phoenix squad led by Ernst Moser has won the race for the fourth time with Audi.
“Congratulations to the entire team. This victory is once again proof of a strong team performance”, said Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH, responsible for motorsport at Audi. “Our new Audi R8 LMS GT3 evo II displayed that it is an absolute winning car against enormously tough competition”, he enthused.
The triumph of the four rings on the Nordschleife was completed by the other Audi R8 LMS cars in the field. Christopher Haase, Nico Muller, Patric Niederhauser, and Rene Rast narrowly missed the podium with fourth place.
This quartet from Audi Sport Team Car Collection started the race from the second row and was the most promising R8 LMS in the field for a long time. Two time penalties set the No22 squad back before they fought their way back into the leading group during the final hours of the race.
Two other Audi R8 LMS cars managed to make it into the top 10 overall: Michele Beretta, Kuba Giermaziak, Kim-Luis Schramm and Markus Winkelhock in the car from Scherer Sport Team Phoenix finished fifth.
Mattia Drudi, Patrick Kolb, Christopher Mies, and Patric Niederhauser shared the cockpit of the No24 car from the Lionspeed by Car Collection Motorsport team, and finished in sixth place. The sister car from Lionspeed, with Dennis Fetzer, Klaus Koch, Dennis Marschall, and Simon Reicher, finished 13th.
The No5 car from Scherer Sport Team Phoenix, shared by Ricardo Feller, Kelvin van der Linde, Vincent Kolb, and Frank Stippler, was the only one of a total of seven Audi R8 LMS cars that had to retire early after van der Linde collided with a lapped car during the night.
There was success also for the Twin Busch by the equipe Vitesse team, which competed in the Pro-Am classification with Elia Erhart, Michael Heimrich, Pierre Kaffer, and Arno Klasen, who finished 14th overall. The Audi RS 3 LMS from the Max Kruse Racing team, which competed in the fiercely contested TCR class, was forced to retire after an accident in the morning.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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