Audi Sport’s head of customer racing Chris Reinke doesn’t expect a 35 kg weight break handed out to his cars before qualifying to make a sufficient difference in dry conditions during Saturday’s Kyalami 9 Hour.
SRO Motorsports Group issued a new Balance of Performance one hour before qualifying on Friday, switching Kyalami from Category C to Category H, the high-altitude specific BoP classification only previously used at Utah Motorsports Campus.
The most important change was a break of 35 kg for the pair of Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evos after both cars had struggled for pace in dry conditions throughout Thursday and Friday morning.
Christopher Haase qualified the Audi Sport Team Land car second in the Pole Shootout, but this was only possible because of damp conditions, according to Reinke, as well as Haase’s teammate Christopher Mies.
“I think [the BoP change] is a professional reaction to the situation,” Reinke told Sportscar365.
“It got us into the situation we are now in qualifying and we have a good variety of brands out there.”
As a result, Reinke is hoping for a wet race on Saturday as he expects dry conditions to still pose a challenge for his cars.
“In the dry it’s still uncertain. This is why I hope for changing conditions and then it’s on us.”
Mies says that dry laps early in qualifying show that the change wasn’t sufficient to bring the Audis up the order, pointing to the lap times set by himself and Markus Winkelhock before rain arrived.
The top speed recorded by an Audi in the speed trap did increase to 236.3 km/h for Mies in dry conditions during Qualifying 2, but this was still over 10 km/h slower than the top speed, set by a Bentley Continental GT3.
In wet conditions in Qualifying 3, the disparity between Audi and the quickest car, again a Bentley, reduced to 7.7 km/h.
“Even though we got a BoP change with 35 kg out, you saw in the dry, Winkelhock was P17 and I was P10 or 11, and almost a second off P1, or seven-tenths, quite a lot,” he told Sportscar365.
“It is like it is. We can’t change it and we’ll go as quick as we can. The race is long and we just have to be there in the last hour on the lead lap, hope for a late safety car and just go for it.”
John Dagys contributed to this report