Audi calls on international aces for final GT World Challenge round in Adelaide
Melbourne Performance Centre has called on Audi Sport factory drivers Christopher Mies and Kelvin van der Linde to support its tilt for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS title in Adelaide next weekend.
For the first time since 2017, the exotics sights and sounds of GT cars will contest a round around the streets of Adelaide where the title will be decided.
Favourite to take the title for the second year in succession is MPC’s lead contender Yasser Shahin, who holds an 11-point margin back to Mercedes-AMG rival Prince Jefri Ibrahim of Triple Eight Race Engineering.
Shahin will rekindle his successful partnership with Mies after the pair took victory at the Bathurst season finale last year, before winning a race at the opening event at Phillip Island back in March.
Mies is a previous GT champion locally, scoring pole in Adelaide to kickstart his run towards the 2016 title.
His fellow Audi Sport factory driver van der Linde can also lay claim to an Adelaide pole, achieving the feat a year later as he partnered Geoff Emery for much of his championship-winning campaign in 2017.
The South African has since represented Audi in GT competition across the world, including the Intercontinental GT Challenge and recently the DTM where he nearly won in 2021.
Van der Linde will join Tony Bates in the C-Tech Laser Audi as he aims to climb further up the Pro-Am standings after missing the most recent round at The Bend.
Liam Talbot is also in title contention, sharing the newly re-liveried Shannons Insurance R8 LMS GT3 Evo II with Fraser Ross, completing Audi’s Pro-Am entries.
In what will be a strong Audi representation in Adelaide, KFC’s Gary Higgon and Paul Stokell will aim to secure the Am Class title, with team-mate Matt Stoupas in the fight to secure second.
Marc Cini also continues in his Hallmarc Am entry, so too do the Koundouris brothers James and Theo in the Supabarn Supermarkets Audi, with further competition coming from category returnee Ash Samadi.
The fight for GT Trophy is also set to be an Audi battle as Brad Schumacher aims to defend the class win in Adelaide, but rookie Michael Kokkinos will ensure a closely fought contest.
For the first time this season, the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS will contest three 40-minute races across the weekend to conclude the 2022 campaign.
Melbourne Performance Centre
“The main reason we have the factory drivers coming over is Yasser (Shahin) has mainly had Garth Tander partner him, but he has TV commitments, so then we looked further afield and Christopher Mies was an obvious choice,” said Russell.
“Christopher fits in with the team, he’s been to Adelaide and he’s a good fit with Yasser.
“Tony (Bates) is a bit the same as he’s had David Reynolds and Cameron Waters do a bit with him all year, but they’ve got their Supercars commitments, so again we searched overseas for drivers. Kelvin has been here as well and they both love coming to Australia, so it was an easy sell and they both are looking forward to it.
“We know are drivers are in safe hands and it’s great that we can bring guys of this calibre to the category and to the return of the Adelaide street track event.”