Phoenix Racing Press Release
At the beginning of the 2015 motorsport season Phoenix Racing is bringing an excellent second place home from Australia. In the Audi R8 LMS ultra Laurens Vanthoor (B), Markus Winkelhock (D) and Marco Mapelli (I) only had to admit defeat by a razor-thin margin of two seconds in the twelve-hour race at Bathurst. The sister car of Phoenix Racing with Christopher Haase (D), Stephane Ortelli (MC) and Felix Baumgartner (A) took ninth place, which made them the second-best Audi team in the strong GT3 field in the iconic 12-hour race on the unique 6.21-kilometre Mount Panorama Circuit in Down Under, 200 kilometres west of Sydney.
The black #15 Audi sporting typical kangaroo graphics in which Laurens Vanthoor had clinched the pole position on setting a new lap record immediately took the lead after starting from the top spot on the grid. On the 29th lap Markus Winkelhock, at 2m 03.3091s, set the fastest lap of the race as well. In a race in which the safety car was deployed 20 times the last safety car period also produced the decision. In a sprint towards the chequered flag across merely two remaining laps the powerful Nissan overtook both the Phoenix Audi and the Bentley. Vanthoor, who drove the final stint, managed to recover second place in a remarkable manoeuvre in the final corner.
Laurens Vanthoor, the reigning champion of both Bancpain GT series, drove the last two stints, totally exerted himself at high air temperatures and the corresponding heat in the cockpit and closed the gap to the Bentley that was leading the race some of the time. However, when the race was re-started for the final sprint he had no chance against the Nissan but still managed to secure second place on the last metres. “Of course I’m a bit disappointed that it wasn’t enough for victory. I gave everything, really everything. But we were lacking a bit of top speed while we were battling for victory with the Bentley, plus the Bentley cleverly defended itself. In the end, the Nissan just blew past me. At least, I managed to advance from fourth to second in the final turn. We’ve earned this trophy.”
The #16 Audi of Phoenix Racing that was sporting distinctive graphics, a green crocodile, as well established itself in the pack of front runners after starting from position 13 on the grid too and was also in contention for a podium place some of the time. In the end, the R8 of Christopher Haase, Stéphane Ortelli and Felix Baumgartner crossed the finish line after 268 laps in ninth place, with a gap of barely one lap.
Stephane Ortelli was impressed as well. “This is a fantastic event and a great track. We had a perfect car and became faster and faster. Chris (Haase) drove very good stints and Felix (Baumgartner) really impressed me. We’re the second-best Audi team here. That’s tremendous, and I definitely want to come back.”