Tuesday, October 14, 2014

VLN: Perfect lap record - Basseng/Stippler in Audi R8 LMS ultra in third place

Phoenix Racing Press Release

7m 57.474s – with a dream lap Frank Stippler in the Audi R8 LMS ultra has set a new unofficial lap record on the Nordschleife, taking the pole position for round nine of the VLN Endurance Championship Nürburgring in the process. Despite a puncture and a penalty Marc Basseng and Frank Stippler clinched third place in the four-hour race, marking the fourth podium finish for Phoenix Racing in this season.

Frank Stippler in the morning’s qualifying session managed a perfect lap. The external conditions were ideal, the Phoenix Audi was superbly set up and ‘Stippi’ caught a relatively clear lap. As a result, the clocks of the electronic time measurement system stopped at 7m 57.474s – a new best mark for the 24.358-kilometre configuration of the legendary Nordschleife in combination with the short version of the Grand Prix circuit. “Everything fit,” said an obviously pleased Frank Stippler.

From the pole position Stippler entered the race with the traditional flying start and was initially able to maintain his position at the front. However, the forward thrust of the R8 LMS ultra of Phoenix Racing based in nearby Meuspath was massively slowed on lap five due to a puncture. A piece of debris that was apparently on track as a result of one of the numerous incidents was identified as the cause. The way back to the pits across the Nordschleife was far and, accordingly, took a long time. Over three minutes were lost due to this puncture. To make things worse, the stewards of the meeting imposed a stop-and-go penalty against the #5 Audi for jumping the start, which cost another more than 40 seconds.

While this frustrated all hopes for victory, the Phoenix squad headed by team boss Ernst Moser, as well as Frank Stippler and Marc Basseng, would not give up. The two ‘ring’ specialists started a bold recovery and subsequently made up ground. In the end the Phoenix Audi crossed the finishing line in third place overall. Basseng/Stippler well deserved the place on the podium.

For Phoenix Racing, the winners of the Nürburgring 24 Hours with the Audi R8 LMS ultra and drivers Christopher Haase, Christian Mamerow, René Rast and Markus Winkelhock, this marked the fourth podium finish – including a victory by Basseng, Stippler and Laurens Vanthoor – in this year’s VLN Endurance Championship. Due to the preparations for the race of the Blancpain Sprint Series in Baku, Azerbaijan, on 01/02 November Phoenix Racing will not participate in the VLN season finale on 25 October.

Photo credit: Phoenix Racing