Starting grid decided

Two Audi R8 LMS cars will start tomorrow’s LiquiMoly Bathurst 12 Hour in fifth and eighth position on the grid.

Both Audi Sport Team Valvoline cars will start tomorrow’s race in the top 10, with Kelvin van der Linde and Christopher Haase putting their cars in fifth and eighth positions respectively.

Mark Horsburgh

2 February, 2019

The starting order for tomorrow’s Bathurst 12 Hour has been decided with a thrilling Top 10 shootout that saw the two Audi Sport Team Valvoline cars initially nail down sixth and ninth positions. German driver, Christopher Haase was the first of the Audis to take to the Mountain for qualifying, posting a 2:03.7828 after a couple of small errors robbed him of any chance of taking the top spot. 

South African Kelvin van der Linde in the #22 Audi R8 LMS was the next out on the track, and even after putting both wheels off at Hell Corner at the start of his flying lap, managed to beat his teammate in the #2 car with 2:03.1791 to ultimately take position six from the third row of tomorrow’s grid.

There was no shortage of drama though in the Top 10 qualifying, with a blistering run from the Aston Martin at the end of the session stealing pole position, only to subsequently lose two places for speeding in pit lane and then be dropped out of the top 10 for a further infringement. This meant that the two Audis moved up a position each to start from position five and eight.

But securing pole or a front row start is not essential says Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing.

“It’s a long race and plenty can happen in 12 hours,” said Reinke ahead of the Top 10 Shootout today. “The main thing from our point of view is not to break something in qualifying and be ready to race tomorrow. The important thing is to get a clean start.”

High drama in this year's qualifying, but both Audi Sport Team Valvoline cars are safely in the top 10

Belgian driver, Frédéric Vervisch will take the first driving stint tomorrow in the #22 car he shares with Kelvin van der Linde and Garth Tander.

Although no stranger to the Bathurst circuit, the morning stint presents a unique set of challenges he said today.

“You’re starting in the dark and of course we’re not able to practice the circuit in the dark. There’s also the sun in your eyes for a time as well as early traffic,” he said.

Over the past eight years, Audi has three times started from pole position and five times from the front row of the grid, but last year, when the brand added a a record third win to its tally, it was the Audi Sport WRT from Belgium, starting from seventh on the grid that brought home the result.

Anything can happen, but we are certainly in for another action packed 12 hours of racing from the home of Australian motorsport.

You’re starting in the dark and of course we’re not able to practice the circuit in the dark"

Frédéric Vervisch - Audi Sport Team Valvoline