Rallycross: roller coaster ride for EKS Audi Sport

Andreas Bakkerud is an extremely fast learner. Still in fifth position after day one at Montalegre, the new driver at EKS Audi Sport made a really strong showing on Sunday. On his favorite track in the mountains of Northern Portugal, the Norwegian won Q3 and Q4, so securing overall victory in qualifying ahead of Sébastien Loeb in a Peugeot. His teammate, Mattias Ekström, completed the strong qualifying performance of the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro cars in position three.

Then the first setback in the semi-finals: After having been bumped by Peugeot driver Kevin Hansen in turn one, Ekström, in fourth position, missed the final – for the first time since Canada in early August 2017. Bakkerud lost a position due to the tussle as well but, in second place, made it into the final anyhow.

But then Bakkerud, in his 51st run in the World Rallycross Championship, experienced a premiere: snow! “I’ve never driven a supercar on snow before,” said the Norwegian. “The conditions were extremely difficult. In the end, I only finished fourth. But the joy about my first qualifying victory in the Audi S1 EKS RX quattro outweighs any disappointment.” With his strong performance the Audi driver advanced to second place in the World Championship.

“Today again showed how close victory and defeat are together in rallycross,” said Ekström, who was half a second short of making it into the final. “Following the qualifying heats, things looked promising but then, after turn one of our semi-finals, really bad. Due to the impact from behind I simply lost too much time even though I tried everything afterwards. The end was disappointing. But we again showed that we have a fast car.”

Disappointment for Audi in WTCR – FIA World Touring Car Cup in Hungary

As last year’s champion in the TCR International Series, Jean-Karl Vernay knows how to clinch victories and titles. At the Hungaroring, however, the 30-year-old pro in his Audi RS 3 LMS was equally powerless as his five brand colleagues. In Saturday’s race, the Frenchman advanced from eleventh position on the grid to eighth place. In rounds two and three, his performances were better yet. The driver from Audi Sport Leopard Lukoil Team improved by five positions each time and in tenth place scored points. His teammate, Gordon Shedden, came 18th in race one and fifteenth in race two. In race three, the Scotsman shone with a comeback drive from grid position 21 to 13th place. 

“The Audi RS 3 LMS clinched nine podium results in six racing series around the globe, including three victories, this weekend,” said Chris Reinke, Head of Audi Sport customer racing. “Our customers prove the versatility and capability of our race touring car week after week. Unfortunately, under the prevailing conditions at Budapest, a better result was not possible. We’re going to leave no stone unturned to ensure that this will change at the Nürburgring in two weeks from now.” There a total of seven Audi RS 3 LMS cars will be on the grid in round three of the series. DTM Champion René Rast is set to thrill the fans around the Nordschleife as a guest entrant. Audi Sport customer racing unveiled the livery of his race car in Hungary. Throughout the race weekend, the touring car featuring the colors of Esports WTCR Oscaro was an eye-catcher in the paddock. 

Audi with electrifying fightbacks in Paris

In free practice in the morning, reigning champion di Grassi managed to set a new track record on the city street circuit near the Eiffel Tower. His teammate, Daniel Abt, was only a little slower. However, in qualifying, both drivers at relatively low track temperatures had difficulties getting the tires to work optimally. Di Grassi missed the “Super Pole” of the top five by a razor-thin margin of 0.005 seconds. Abt was only three tenths of a second slower. Because of the extremely fierce competition in Formula E, the German ended up in 14th position – on a track on which overtaking is considered to be particularly difficult.

As on many other occasions this season, both Audi drivers subsequently managed to fully use the potential of the Audi e-tron FE04. Abt in the first half overtook seven competitors. Shortly before the end of the race, he used the Fanboost to overtake former champion Sébastien Buemi in his Renault. On the last lap, the Swiss forced the issue and pushed past Abt again.

Di Grassi made up one position at the start. In the first half of the race, he saved so much energy that he was able to drive two laps longer than the front runners. After a quick pit stop by Team Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler, the Brazilian advanced to fourth position. With a series of fastest laps he closed the gap to the front runners, overtook Rome winner Sam Bird as well as André Lotterer on the last lap who had been running in second position up to that point.

“That was an incredible race and an extremely tough one,” said di Grassi following his third second place in succession and his 23rd podium in total in the electric racing series. “In the first part of the race, I saved energy. In the second part, I was able to go for all-out attack and clinch the trophy for second place. I’m overjoyed!”

Formula E: latest news and miscellaneous info from Paris

Important mission for Lucas di Grassi: The Audi factory driver was appointed as a worldwide Clean Air Ambassador of the United Nations (UN). The reigning champion of the electric racing series has been actively committed to the transformation of mobility for years. “This appointment is a great honor for me,” says Lucas di Grassi. “Electric mobility plays a major role in my profession as a race driver as well as in my personal life. I am delighted that now I have the opportunity to contribute my ideas to working with the UN as well.”

Daniel Abt, Lucas di Grassi, Head of Audi Motorsport Dieter Gass and Team Principal Allan McNish on Thursday night were guests at Audi City Paris which is fully focused on Formula E and electric mobility this weekend. Displayed at the show room on Place du Marché Saint-Honoré are the Audi e-tron quattro concept and the Audi e-tron FE04. The Formula E race will be shown live on big screens on Saturday starting at 4 PM.

The Audi e-tron Vision Gran Turismo is deployed to Formula E as a race taxi for the second time this weekend. At the E-Prix in Paris, longstanding Audi factory driver and three-time Le Mans winner Dindo Capello is again chauffeuring guests of AUDI AG around the city street circuit in the 600-kW (815-hp) electric race car concept. In Berlin, ex-DTM driver Rahel Frey will assume these driving duties.

Audi starts challenging year with successful first quarter

From January through March, the company delivered 463,788 automobiles of the Audi brand (2017: 422,481), which is 9.8 percent more than in the same period of last year. Unit sales increased significantly especially in North America (+10.2%) and China (+41.9%). Deliveries of Audi cars had decreased in China in the prior-year period in connection with the company’s discussions on its strategic alignment in that market. Assigned profits from the Chinese joint-venture business are included in the financial result of AUDI AG and do not flow into operating profit.

Despite slightly negative exchange-rate effects, the Audi Group’s revenue increased in the first three months of this year by 6.6 percent to €15,320 million (2017: €14,378 million). Positive impacts originated from new models that have been successfully established in the market such as the second generations of the Audi Q5 and A5. First-quarter operating profit amounts to €1,300 million (2017: €1,244 million), which is 4.5 percent more than in the first quarter of last year. There was a negative impact of about €0.1 billion on operating profit from first-time adoption of new IFRS accounting standards involving changes to revenue recognition and the measurement of financial instruments. This does not affect profit before and after tax, however.

The operating return on sales for the first quarter is 8.5 percent (2017: 8.7%). If the business in China were included in the calculation, the operating margin would be approximately one percentage point higher.

“With these results, we have prepared solid foundations for the exceptional year 2018,” says Alexander Seitz, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG for Finance, IT and Integrity. “Our unparalleled model and technology initiative will challenge us even more in the coming months. In this context, it will help that we are systematically implementing our Action and Transformation Plan on a broad basis and are continuing to strengthen our efficiency. Since January, we have already taken the first measures amounting to a low three-digit million figure.”

With this program of measures, the company is underpinning its profitability targets and self-financing strength for the far-reaching strategic change in line with the strategy “Audi. Vorsprung. 2025.” Key objectives of the Action and Transformation Plan are positive earnings effects totaling €10 billion by 2022, as well as the organizational realignment for future business models and the brand’s initiative in electric mobility.

The Audi Group achieved profit before tax of €1,426 million in the first quarter, at the level of the prior-year period (2017: €1,427 million). Financial result was slightly lower than in the first quarter of last year, when it had been driven above all by a positive one-time effect of €183 million from the sale and remeasurement of shares held in the HERE mapping service.

Increased cost and investment discipline along with consistent prioritization of future projects, as called for by the Action and Transformation Plan, contributed to a significant increase in the net cash flow in the first quarter. Despite high upfront expenditures for new models, technologies and production equipment, it amounted to €1,919 million (2017: €1,487 million). This increase also reflects cash inflows from changes in equity interests.

For full-year 2018, the Audi Group continues to expect an operating return on sales within the strategic target corridor of 8 to 10 percent. The company anticipates deliveries of Audi automobiles at the prior-year level and a slight increase in the revenue of the Audi Group. As forecast in the current annual report, there may be considerable fluctuations in deliveries and financial key figures during the year. In addition to the intensive management of model launches and phase-outs in the context of the Audi model initiative, challenges arise from industry-wide homologation requirements relating to the changeover to the Worldwide Harmonized Light Vehicles Test Procedure (WLTP).

Overview of selected key figures of the Audi Group

Q1 2018

Q1 2017

Car deliveries  Audi brand



Revenue  in EUR million



Operating profit  in EUR million



Operating return on sales  in percent



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