Whitmarsh hails departing Perez

2 Comments

Perez lined up 19th on the grid after a crash and a gearbox change penalty during qualifying, but gained 13 places to finish a strong sixth at Interlagos.

“Checo also drove a superb race today, surging from 19th on the grid to sixth at the flag, and I’m personally delighted that he was able to end his year at McLaren with such a fantastic performance,” said Whitmarsh.

“As I’ve said many times, he’s a fine driver. He’s also a lovely guy, and the way he’s conducted himself over the past ten days, in particular, in extremely challenging circumstances, has been hugely impressive. He’s a class act.”

In the run-up to the United States Grand Prix McLaren announced Perez will be replaced by rookie driver Kevin Magnussen next year.

Jenson Button gave McLaren their highest finish of the year with fourth place. “Undoubtedly, that was our best grand prix of the year,” said Whitmarsh. “It’s frustrating to have to say that after a race in which our drivers finished only fourth and sixth, but it’s also true.”

However Whitmarsh took some comfort from the result, saying: “The manner in which those results were achieved was heartening indeed.”

“Both Jenson and Checo had difficulties in qualifying, through no fault of their own, but the way they charged through the field from their lowly grid slots this afternoon was seriously impressive.”

Audi bids farewell to Dr. Wolfgang Ullrich upon retirement

Audi Sport
Leave a comment

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.”