Saturday, July 4, 2015

Blancpain Sprint Series: Late penalty denies Phoenix Racing from second place in Moscow Raceway main race

By Tarek Ramchani

Following an unbelievable unlucky qualifying race earlier today, the Audi teams were able to bounce back in the Blancpain Sprint Series main race at the Moscow Raceway showing great performances. Yet bad luck hit again the Four Rings with Phoenix Racing denied from a strong second following a late penalty.

It all started very well for the Phoenix Racing team with Markus Winkelhock behind the wheel of the #6 Audi R8 LMS ultra. The German driver managed to overtake several cars showing an impressive pace.

At halfway mark, Markus Winkelhock headed to pitlane for the mandatory pit-stop. It was a perfect one by the Phoenix Racing crew members and the #6 Audi rejoined to track in second place behind the leading Bentley. With less than ten minutes left the Phoenix Audi was hit by a drive through penalty for unsafe release. Markus Winkelhock was back on track in sixth place and had a great battle for position five with another Audi, the #1 car of Laurens Vanthoor.

All of the four Belgian Audi Club Team WRT cars made it inside the Top 10. Stéphane Ortelli and Stéphane Richelmi (#3 Audi) were the best drivers within the Belgian Audi squad taking fourth place.

Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Frijns (#1 Audi) who were forced to retire in the qualifying race were fifth . Both drivers managed to bounce back but in the closing stages of the race, Laurens Vanthoor had a spin, dropped from fifth to sixth place and then took back position five following the Phoenix Racing's penalty.

Christopher Mies and Enzo Ide (#2 Audi) were seventh. Frank Stippler and James Nash (#4 Audi) were eighth.

Bad luck hit again the ISR Racing entry. The #75 Audi R8 LMS ultra driven by Marco Bonanomi and Filip Salaquarda did not finish the race and retired after 16 laps.

Photo credit: Blancpain GT Series