Friday, August 3, 2012

Audi Sport Team Phoenix wants victory at VLN 6 hours race

By Tarek Ramchani

Round seven of the VLN Endurance Series at the Nordschleife this weekend. Five Audi R8 LMS ultra cars are set to race the 6h ADAC Ruhr-Pokal-Rennen. The longest event of the VLN calendar.

Audi Sport Team Phoenix fresh from a historical victory at the Spa 24 hours last weekend are fielding a pair of factory supported Audi R8 LMS ultra cars. The #5 cars will be shared by Christopher Haase, Christer Jöns and Luca Ludwig. Christopher Haase finished second overall last weekend in a WRT run R8 LMS ultra at the Spa 24 Hours. Christer Jöns is an Audi regular in ADAC GT Masters and has won the Bathurst 12 Hours earlier this season with team Phoenix.

The sister #15 Bilstein backed Audi R8 LMS ultra will be in the hands of veterans Marc Basseng, Frank Stippler and youngster René Rast. Stippler and Rast won the Spa 24 Hours together, while Stippler along with Basseng won last time out in VLN.

Two Audi R8 LMS ultra will come from the Audi race experience team. The #11 Audi will have Florian Gruber,
Luca Cappellari and Christian Bollrath as drivers. The second #22 car will be driven by Michael Erlich, Aditya Patel and team leader Marco Werner. Audi race experience is run by TKL Motorsport, an effort set up for Audi customers.

The fifth Audi R8 LMS ultra is entered by team Raeder Motorsport. The #44 Audi will have a trio of fast and experienced drivers, Christian Hohenadel, Thomas Mutsch, and Audi legend Frank Biela. The trio have a third place finish as their best result so far at round 5.

The Audi R8 LMS teams will have to fight a very strong and large field of top SP9 cars. Manthey Racing is fielding a very strong Porsche 997 GT3 R for Audi regulars Romain Dumas and a returning Timo Bernard, his first race after the nasty crash at Sebring with an Audi R18 ultra. Other strong rivals will come from the pair of ROWE Racing Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 and a BMW Z4 GT3 from Team Schubert.

In addition to the Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in the top SP9 class (GT3), four Audi TT RS cars will also enter the SP4T class. The factory quattro GmbH built cars will try to fight hard for overall positions and to finish in the top 10 outright.

The qualifying is set for Saturday morning while the race will start at 12:00 local time.

Photo credit: Norbert Kratz