Spa 24 hours: Audi, BMW claim the podium

An attempt at creating history refused to be washed away by rain last weekend, when Audi became the first racing team to claim a hat-trick at 24 hour races in Europe. The victories include Nürburgring, Le Mans and now Spa-Francorchamps!

Audi R8 and BMW Z4 GT3 shared the podium between the two marques among the 66 sports cars from twelve different brands at the 54th running of the 24-hour race on the Grand Prix circuit in the Belgian Ardennes.

For the second consecutive time, the Audi R8 had won this endurance race for GT3 sports cars with the first and second places. After 509 laps on the 7.004-kilometer track, Andrea Piccini (I), René Rast (D) and Frank Stippler (D) triumphed in the R8 of Audi Sport Team Phoenix as Christopher Haase (D) Christopher Mies (D) and Stéphane Ortelli (MC) from Audi Sport Team WRT finished second.

The number 66 BMW Z4 GT3 belonging to Vita4One Racing came home in third. After starting from pole position, Gregory Franchi (BE), Frank Kechele (DE) and Mathias Lauda (AT) were rewarded with their first podium finish in the 2012 Blancpain Endurance Series, eventually finishing a lap behind the victorious Audi. Marc VDS Racing drivers Markus Palttala (FI), Bas Leinders (BE) and Maxime Martin (BE) followed in fourth in their BMW Z4 GT3. When the rain came on Saturday evening, Martin was by far the fastest driver in the field and then set the fastest lap of the race (2:19.758 minutes) on a dry track.

The race was made difficult at times plagued by torrential rain, minimal vision and a total of 16 safety car periods.

After a difficult first race hour, the Audi R8 LMS ultra cars following a correction of the tire pressure managed to put pressure on the BMW cars that were initially leading and gathered its first leading kilometers in the fourth hour.

200 million milestone up for Toyota

If you thought there were too many Toyotas on the road, well, here are statistics to prove it wasn’t just a feeling. Toyota Motor Corporation announced that its worldwide cumulative vehicle production surpassed 200 million cars in June 2012.

The most-produced model among Toyota vehicles is Corolla, with 39.08 million units produced worldwide.

Starting with the production of the G1 truck in August 1935, Toyota’s unique achievement comes after 76 years and 11 months. Japan has accounted for 145.21 million of these and overseas production facilities for 55.12 million.

Rally legend inspires safety through cartoon

Rallying legend Mohammed Ben Sulayem hopes his special cartoon TV message to young Emiratis during Ramadan will convince many to keep their passion for speed off the roads of the UAE.

Sulayem, the Arab world’s most successful driver, conveys his message as a character in a special episode of the popular Shaabiat Al Cartoon programme on Sama Dubai at 7.40pm daily throughout the Holy Month.

The 14-times former FIA Middle East rally champion, who scored more than 60 international rally wins in his career before retiring from the sport in 2002, said: “You don’t win trophies for driving fast on public roads. You only risk your life, and those of others…”

Sulayem says: “I only ever drove fast when I was competing. It doesn’t matter how good a driver you are, the only place for speed is in a properly controlled motor sport environment, well away from public traffic.”

DriveME NewsTrack: 200 million Toyotas, Audi wins Spa 24 hrs, Safety via Cartoon was last modified: February 22nd, 2016 by Sudeep Koshy

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