Audi primed and ready

Audi will start from seventh position in tomorrow’s Bathurst 12 hour.

Kelvin van der Linde has put the Audi Valvoline #222 car in seventh position for the start of tomorrow’s race after a day marked by extreme heat and some serious accidents.

Mark Horsburgh

1 February, 2020

The day was marked by tremendous temperatures and some serious accidents

All three Audi team Valvoline cars survived a day of searing temperatures and a raft of major accidents during Saturday’s practice at this year’s Bathurst 12 hour. Frederic Vervisch gave the Audi Sport team cause to hold their collective breath when he left the track and made contact with the wall, but fortunately, the car was repaired and actually made it back out onto the track during the same practice session.

Many other teams were not so fortunate, with a number of accidents ending their campaign before the race proper has even begun. With the exception of Vervisch’s slight indiscretion, the other Audi drivers avoided trouble and the ever-present concrete walls around the famous track, with Kelvin van der Linde blasting his way around the 6.2 kilometre circuit in 2:03.6858 on his first run. That time was enough to secure him sixth place in the Top 10 Shootout to determine the final grid positions, and had it not been for an accident shortened final practice session, the #2 Audi of Christopher Haase, Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch and n would also have made it into final 10.

Markus Winkelhock, Kelvin van der Linde and Mattia Drudi.

That left it to Kelvin van der Linde to fight it out for final grid position, again, throwing the Audi R8 LMS around the track, at times leaving only millimetres between the car and the walls. Despite losing time on the first sector, he charged home to record a 2:04.3442 second time that placed the Audi in second on the ladder.

But after all of the contenders had had their turn, the Audi eventually moved to seventh, meaning it will start from the fourth row of the grid in the morning.

Teammate Markus Winkelhock was pleased with the South African’s performance and is looking forward to tomorrow’s race.

“It’s a track that punishes mistakes, so it’s good to be starting in the top 10 tomorrow with a car that has had no troubles,” he said.

The other two Audis will start from just outside the 10, but are all running well and without issue.

“We’re starting with three cars that are all straight,” said Garth Tander “and that’s the important thing in a race like this. Anything can happen in 12 hours, and with a potential thunder storm tomorrow, it will really make things interesting.”

Audi is looking to add a fourth victory to the brand’s tally, having previously won in 2011, 2012 and 2018 to become the most successful manufacturer at the Bathurst 12 Hour. The race starts at 5:45am tomorrow.

All three Valvoline Audi R8 LMS cars will start the race tomorrow intact

Christopher Hasse, Dries Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch.
Mirko Bortolotti, Christopher Mies and Garth Tander.