Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Harold Primat storms from P30 to finish P4 in the 24H of Spa

Harold Primat Press Release

Phoenix Racing Audi driver Harold Primat this weekend had one of the greatest races of his career to date; storming from P30 on the grid to finish fourth in the iconic 24 Hours of Spa. Harold and his Phoenix Racing teammates; Christopher Haase and Oliver Jarvis, arrived in Spa expecting another difficult race weekend due the Audi cars having a performance disadvantage on the straights.

In Thursday evening's qualifying session the team's concerns were realised when the #6 Phoenix Racing Audi was only able to manage the 30th fastest lap time of the session. The #6 car was the third best Audi of the highly competitive field, with only one Audi R8 making the cut for the Top 20 qualifying session in which the grid positions one to 20 were set on Friday evening.

"This is my first time racing in the 24 hours of Spa and unfortunately it wasn't an easy qualifying session for us; the Audi is short on power compared to the competition. However, the car feels comfortable for the race, and we must do everything possible to get through without problems;" commented Harold Primat.

At 16.30 local time on Saturday afternoon the 24 Hours of Spa began with Haase behind the wheel in 30th place on the grid. Making a strong start to the race, Haase had moved up to P24 after two hours of racing and came into the pits to hand over to Jarvis. Continuing to make great progress through the field Jarvis was in P16 at the four hour mark when Harold took over driving duties.

Harold had a strong first stint in the car and pushed on to climb further up the standings. Despite still being new to GT racing Harold posted competitive lap times and by the time it came to hand back to Haase, the Swiss driver had moved the #6 car up to P13.

The Phoenix Racing teammates continued to have a strong and trouble free race and as the hours ticked by they continued to move further through the field. At the halfway mark they were up to P9, having made up a staggering 21 places from the start.

Despite many other cars getting involved in accidents and spins, the #6 car stayed out of trouble through the night and when it came to Harold taking his final stint of the race at the 21 hour mark they were running in sixth place.

With fatigue and dehydration from the extreme temperatures setting in for many drivers Harold focused on putting in a series of strong lap times, while avoiding the accidents that were continuing to happen in the closing stages of the race.

After a solid one hour stint, Harold came into the pits in fourth place, handing over to Haase for the final two hours of the race. Haase pushed on and, after 24 hours and 564 laps of racing, took the chequered flag in a brilliant fourth place.

"This feels like a win for us as nobody expected such a fantastic result given how big a performance disadvantage we have on the straights. The current Balance of Performance regulations for GT3 racing are making it extremely difficult for the Audis to match the performance of the other cars on track as our power has been significantly reduced compared to theirs.

Every time we reached a straight it feels like we are in a different race category compared to the other manufacturers as the Audis were losing so much time. This was so apparent in qualifying which is what makes the fourth place result so special for us;" commented Harold Primat.

"We had a fantastic race, and it was definitely an unexpected result when you look at our pace, but it shows how having a great strategy, pushing hard and staying out of trouble can produce a strong result in endurance racing. Personally it's a great achievement as I'm still fairly new to GT racing so I am very happy to have brought home such an fantastic result for the team;" continued Harold Primat.

"This weekend's result was a real team effort so I want thank Phoenix Racing and my teammates for a fantastic job and also to my personal sponsors for their continuing support:" commented Harold Primat.

Photo credit: Audi Media