Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Phenomenal 2013 for Phoenix Racing with Audi

By Tarek Ramchani

2013 has been a great year for Phoenix Racing with Audi. DTM champions with Mike Rocknefeller, as well as many successes in GT racing with the Audi R8 LMS ultra. A look back at a phenomenal season for the Nürburgring based squad.

As a factory team in the Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters (DTM) under the Audi Sport Team Phoenix banner, Phoenix Racing had a great and successful year in the most demanding touring car series in the world. The team's star, Mike Rockenfeller, clinched a very well deserved drivers' title. This was the second drivers' trophy for team Phoenix in the DTM, following Martin Tomczyk's crown in 2011. Rocky won twice this year, taking victory at Brands Hatch and Moscow Raceway. He also took many podium places and scored enough points to secure his maiden title. The team's second driver, Miguel Molina, had a strong recovery during the second half of the season with his all red Audi RS 5 DTM. The Spanish Audi driver bounced back and helped Audi Sport Team Phoenix to take their first ever DTM teams' title. Two out of two and mission accomplished for the team managed by Ernst Moser. Phoenix has proved that they are no longer a "satellite" team and that they are capable of not only taking race victories, but championship titles as well. Not an easy task against a full field of stars and factory teams from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Success also came from the German VLN Endurance Championship. Three overall victories from nine races at the demanding Nürburgring Nordschleife. These are very strong results given as to how the Audi R8 LMS ultra was penalized all season long in GT3 racing. Marcel Fässler and Frank Stippler won round 3, the 55. ADAC ACAS H&R-Cup (second race of the season) with their #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra. Frank Stippler along with the Stuck brothers, Ferdinand and Johannes, won the fourth round with the #15 Audi R8 LMS ultra, the 44. Adenauer ADAC Simfy Trophy. Their third victory was at the season finale, the 38. DMV Münsterlandpokal, with Marc Basseng, Laurens Vanthoor and Christian Mamerow in the #37 Audi R8 LMS ultra.

At the Nürburgring 24 Hours, Phoenix Racing entered no less than three cars. The Audi team took a fine pole position with Frank Stippler in the #4 Audi R8 LMS ultra. The team battled really well in extreme conditions, yet bad luck hit all three of the cars. The best ranked car was the #1 G-Drive Racing By Phoenix entry in fifth overall with Mike Rockenfeller, Marcel Fässler, Frank Stippler and Markus Winkelhock.

Phoenix Racing also performed well in the demanding Blancpain Endurance Series. Two cars took part in all five races within the Pro-Cup class. The two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars were driven by: Harold Primat, Christopher Haase and Oliver Jarvis in the #6 car, and the #16 machine was driven by Markus Winkelhock, Anthony Kumpen and Enzo Ide. The team always battled hard in what is clearly the best GT3 field worldwide. Strong performances, some bad luck, and a fine fourth place at the Spa 24 Hours, the stellar event of the series with Harold Primat, Christopher Haase and Oliver Jarvis.

The FIA GT Series was also part of Phoenix Racing's program in 2013. Only one car entered the SRO organised series with Belgian duo Anthony Kumpen and Enzo Ide. Phoenix was very unlucky in many of the races and also skipped two rounds, Slovakia Ring and Navarra. However, the team will be back for the season finale at Baku, again with a single car effort, which will be driven by Enzo Ide and Markus Winkelhock.

At the Bathurst 12 Hour, Phoenix Racing entered a single Audi R8 LMS ultra aiming to defend their 2012 victory. The car was driven by Harold Primat, Johan Kristoffersson and Andreas Simonsen. The #1 Audi qualified in seventh and finished the Aussie enduro event in fifth place overall.

Photo credit: Phoenix Racing