BSS: Latif/Basseng head PRO-AM classification
Alessandro Latif and Marc Basseng are heading the standings in the PRO-AM classification of the Blancpain Sprint Series (BSS) after three rounds. In the #5 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Phoenix Racing the English-German duo took second place in the PRO-AM classification in both races. Latif/Basseng were lacking the crucial bit of fortune just like their team-mates Niki Mayr-Melnhof (A) and Markus Winkelhock (D) in the #6 Phoenix Audi, who scored no points.
“Basically, it was a good weekend, we were just lacking a bit of fortune,” Marc Basseng summed up the race weekend in the Netherlands. “We concentrated on working on our set-up and made a step forwards. Our Audi was good and we’re heading in the right direction.” Basseng managed a good start to the qualification race from position nine but when rain set in had to hang on for four laps before making his mandatory pit stop. Latif, who is only 18 years old, took over the #5 Audi and managed to advance to position six. However, when the race was restarted after the last safety car period two laps before the end of the race the Phoenix Audi was forced into a spin by another car. “That deprived us of a place in the top five. Instead, we ended up in tenth place and also lost victory in the PRO-AM classification,” said a disappointed Latif. In the main race on Sunday that also lasted an hour Assendro Latif, who lives in London, showed a good performance and handed over the R8 in twelfth position, and the Phoenix squad performed the quickest pit stop of the weekend once more. When rain set in during Sunday’s race the #5 Audi switched to rain tyres. “Unfortunately, the rain stopped again almost instantly and the track quickly began to dry,” said Basseng, who was battling with ‘blunt weapons’ and ultimately finished in 13th place. “We’d placed our bet on longer rain showers but obviously misjudged Mother Nature,” said Latif.
Markus Winkelkock, who recently won the Nürburgring 24 Hours in the Phoenix Audi together with Christopher Haase, Christian Mamerow and René Rast, admitted that he had expected the weekend to go differently. “The car felt good but the qualification was less than perfect,” said Winkelhock. “When it started raining in the first race I was running well on slicks but apparently too well at some point because when shifting into lower gear I lost the car and spun into the gravel trap. At that time I was running in fifth place and scoring no points in the qualification race was really frustrating.” Consequently, the #6 Audi started the main race on Sunday from the rear of the field. “The start was pretty turbulent. At least, I was able to make up a few places,” said Niki Mayr-Melnhof, who drove the start. When rain set in after Winkelhock took over driving duties the switch to rain tyres seemed to be the right choice only at first. “Today, the tactics didn’t pan out,” commented Winkelhock, who ultimately finished in eleventh place.
Round four of the Blancpain Sprint Series will be held at the Slovakia Ring not far from Bratislava from 22 to 23 August.