Protestors march on Friday as Bahrain GP looms

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Thousands of anti-government protestors in Bahrain marched near the country’s capital of Manama on Friday as part of a series of demonstrations set to coincide with next weekend’s Bahrain Grand Prix.

According to Al-Jazeera, the protest was organized by the opposition bloc Al-Wefaq, whose head, Sheikh Ali Salman, told the news network that while they weren’t seeking to hold up the race with their demands for reform, they were “trying to benefit from the increased media presence.”

Among other chants, the protestors — which marched in a line that was more than a mile long according to the Associated Press — shouted “your race is a crime” in reference to the event according to witnesses. Al-Jazeera is also reporting that another demonstration is planned for April 19, the first official day of the Bahrain GP weekend.

The country has denied making a number of pre-emptive arrests leading up to the Grand Prix, with Human Rights Watch claiming that 20 people were arrested without warrants.

Last year’s race at Bahrain was marred by protests and violence. One of the bigger incidents involved Force India team members having to escape from a incident between protestors and police, which involved fuel bombs getting tossed over their vehicle while they were heading away from the track. No one on the team was injured.

The continued uneasiness in Bahrain has also caused some Formula One sponsors to limit involvement in the race and move most of their advertising in the Middle East toward the Abu Dhabi Grand Prix in November.

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

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Audi bid farewell to its iconic head of motorsport, Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich, at its end-of-season ‘Race Night’ event in Germany on Friday upon his retirement.

Ullrich took over the reins as Audi’s head of motorsport in 1993 and stayed in the role for 23 years, overseeing its arrival in the prototype class of sports car racing and domination of the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Ullrich stepped down from the position at the end of 2016, handing the reins over to ex-Audi DTM chief Dieter Gass, and attended his final racing event with the German marque at its first works Formula E outing in Hong Kong earlier this month.

Ullrich was honored at the Race Night event on Friday and thanked for his efforts in developing Audi into a force within global motorsport.

“In 566 factory-backed commitments during this period he celebrated 209 victories, 13 of them in the 24 Hours of Le Mans, eleven in the 12-hour race at Sebring and nine in the ‘Petit Le Mans’ at Road Atlanta,” a piece on Ullrich’s tenure for Audi’s website reads.

“31 driver titles in super touring car racing, in the DTM and in the sports prototype category are credited to him. 57 campaigners were Audi factory drivers during Wolfgang Ullrich’s era and he was responsible for 18 new developments of racing cars – an impressive tally.”