Francorchamps, August 31, 2003
At its first competitive outing in the FIA Sportscar Championship, the Audi
R8 has etched its name into winners list of yet another motorsport classic:
Seiji Ara and Tom Kristensen won the 1000 kilometre race at
Spa-Francorchamps, which was being held for the first time since 1988,
with the Audi R8 of Japanese Team Goh. After 144 laps, Ara/Kristensen
had a four-lap advantage over the Courage-Peugeot of the Frenchmen
Stéphane Sarrazin and Franck Lagorce.
On a partially wet track, Kristensen put the R8, running under the “Audi
Team Goh For Belgium” banner, commandingly on pole position. During
the opening hour of the endurance classic, run under changeable weather
and in part extremely difficult track conditions, the five-time Le Mans winner
delivered an exiting duel with the DBA-Zytek of Andy Wallace. The lead
changed hands regularly, before Kristensen and Ara gradually left the rest
of the field behind them and eventually won convincingly.
With the victory in Spa, Kristensen achieved a perfect comeback at the
wheel of the same Audi R8, with which the Dane had won the American Le
Mans Series (ALMS) last year. For the Japanese driver Seiji Ara it was his
first triumph with the Audi R8, as it was for the team headed by Kazumichi
“My first victory at Spa means a lot to me,” said Kristensen. “The 1000
kilometre race has a great tradition, and hopefully a great future. Spa is a
fabulous race track, which was fantastic to drive with the Audi R8.” The Spa
1000 kilometres should be part of the new LMES next year.