Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Phoenix Racing with both Audi R8 LMS ultra cars in top eight at Monza

Phoenix Racing Press Release

Finishing in sixth and eighth place in the gigantic field of 60 GT3 sports cars Phoenix Racing experienced a strong start into the new season of the Blancpain Endurance Series (BES). In the Royal Park at Monza GT1 World Champions Markus Winkelhock (D) plus the Belgians Anthony Kumpen and Enzo Ide in the Audi R8 LMS ultra – car number 16 – saw the chequered flag in sixth place, in the number 6 sister car Harold Primat (CH), Oliver Jarvis (GB) and title defender Christopher Haase (DE) were classified in eighth place at the end of the three-hour race.

This successful result had not been on the horizon after qualifying, which at this compact two-day event is not held until Sunday morning. Ide/Kumpen/Winkelhock did not get beyond grid position 19 while Primat/Jarvis/Haase even had to settle for position 34. On the four long straights of this 5.793-kilometre high-speed circuit the R8 cars were visibly outperformed in terms of top speed.

In the race the Phoenix drivers had to fight their way through enormous traffic and managed to make up so many places only thanks to a flawless performance and the high consistency they showed. “After a good start I immediately gained a few places before, on lap two, another car was standing in front of me in the chicane and I lost positions again. So I started making up ground once more. In the end, I had a slow puncture and had to pit earlier than planned, which ultimately didn’t cost us too much though,” said Enzo Ide, describing his first stint in car number 16. “My middle stint was okay but the considerable amount of traffic with cars that were slower on the whole but very fast on the straights made life pretty difficult for me in the cockpit. That’s what makes fifth place in the Pro Class and sixth overall even sweeter for me,” added his compatriot Anthony Kumpen. Another happy campaigner was Markus Winkelhock, who successfully continued the recovery in the #16 Audi through to the finish. “Starting from 19th on the grid and then finishing in sixth place is absolutely acceptable. Our R8 felt good right from the beginning even though not everything was perfect yet. If at the next races the straights aren’t this long anymore we’ll definitely be in a better position.”

Primat/Jarvis/Haase were able to recover even more places than Kumpen/Ide/Winkelhock. “After the start I just tried to stay out of any battles. At times it was very close but I didn’t want to take any unnecessary risks. Still, I made up a number of places,” said Harold Primat. “This being my third race in my new GT career it was all very exciting and anything but boring. In any case, it was a positive start into the new season.” This view was shared by Oliver Jarvis, who previously drove in the DTM with Phoenix: “We knew that from grid position 34 it would be a tough race. I’m pleased with my stint, especially since I wasn’t feeling well the days before. The Phoenix team did an excellent job and we’re taking a lot of positive things with us to the next race.” Like his Phoenix team-mates Christopher Haase was struggling with the large number of cars on track. Ultimately 46 of the 60 GT3 sports cars that had started into the race finished. “It wasn’t easy with the intense traffic. Across the distance we were pretty good and still consistently quick in the end. We scored valuable points for seventh place in the PRO class today and took eighth place overall. That’s a good starting base for the next races.”
Primat/Jarvis/Haase finished in ninth place but were classified in eighth overall after a penalty was imposed on a rival.

“An incredibly thrilling opener of the Blainpanc Endurance Series with a gigantic field of entrants. That was fascinating motorsport which TV viewers probably enjoyed too, in Germany on RTL Nitro and soon on Eurosport as well,” said an impressed Phoenix Team Director Ernst Moser. “For Phoenix Racing the opening round had a happy ending, with positions six and eight we made the best of the weekend after our modest qualifying.”

Round two of the Blancpain Endurance Series will be held at Silverstone in the UK on 18 June

Photo credit: Blancpain Endurance Series