Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Blancpain Sprint Series: PRO-AM title for Phoenix duo Basseng/Latif

Phoenix Racing Press Release

Marc Basseng (D) and Alessandro Latif (GB) are early winners of the PRO-AM classification in the Blancpain Sprint Series (BSS). Midfield finishing positions in the penultimate race at Zolder were sufficient to clinch this victory. The second Audi R8 LMS ultra fielded by the team based in Meuspath at the Nürburgring for drivers Niki Mayr-Melnhof (A) and Markus Winkelhock (D) also scored no points for the overall classification.

The squad around Team Boss Ernst Moser had already produced an impressive feat before the sixth round of the Blancpain Sprint Series at Zolder. Because following an unfortunate collision while testing at the Nürburgring the previous Friday, the #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra had to be completely rebuilt in just three days. “The rebuild went outstandingly well, the car ran without the smallest technical problem at Zolder,” praised GT Team Manager Bernhard Demmer. As a result, Basseng and Latif were able to concentrate on set-up work from the very beginning. The 18-year old in particular faced a tricky task since the extremely demanding former Grand Prix track was completely new to him. However, young talent Latif and his experienced team mate Basseng brought the white-blue R8 in both Saturday’s qualification race as well as the one-hour main race on Sunday safely to the chequered flag and with a pair of 15th positions achieved the main target – winning the PRO-AM classification ahead of the final round.

On Friday, Markus Winkelhock missed free practice at Zolder due to the presentation of the new Audi TT Cup, in which he will act as driver coach, but quickly got to grip with the car and track on Saturday. A small mistake in the third segment of qualifying saw the #6 Audi ultimately take eleventh on the grid and the sixth row instead of a possible third row start. Following a good start to the qualifying race, things initially ran well for the white-red R8. The Phoenix crew once again produced two perfect pit stops for the #6 Audi and the sister car. However, in the direct fight for position some time was lost and could not be regained, which meant that Mayr-Melnhof/Winkelhock, who was also handed a 30 second penalty, was only classified in 16th position. In the main race, Niki Mayr-Melnhof was lapping quickly, however, in the second half of the race Markus Winkelhock was increasingly slowed by problems, which ultimately led to his retirement.

After the unsatisfactory results at Zolder, Phoenix Racing now prepares meticulously for the seventh round and a suitably happy conclusion to the season finale on 1/2 November in Baku in Azerbaijan.

Photo credit: Phoenix Racing