United Autosports’ Audi achieves podium “hat-trick” despite electrical problems
- Phil Burgan places Audi third in class in all three Rockingham races
Phil Burgan overcame intermittent electrical issues throughout each race to record third, fourth and third GTO class placings in the latest rounds of the GT Cup Championship at Rockingham today (24 May). Despite the best endeavours of the reigning GT Cup Championship winning team United Autosports, including a visit to Silverstone to collect parts from Audi “customer racing” technicians attending the Blancpain Endurance Series race meeting, it was unable to debug its Audi R8 LMS ultra of the gremlin.
Burgan’s experience of the 1.94-mile Rockingham circuit featuring a high-speed “banked” oval section and slower twisty “infield” sector amounted to a handful of laps in a test two months ago and in unofficial practice Friday. The electrical problem restricted Burgan’s lappery on Friday and also in Saturday’s practice. While Phil set the fifth fast time, the Leeds-based businessman only completed 14-laps and then missed qualifying completely as the United Autosports team changed the alternator in an attempt to solve the mysterious issue that was causing the Audi to cut out and also included despatching a team member to Silverstone.
Burgan lined-up in 23rd and last place for Saturday’s opening 50mins race but had swept the Maria Mallaband Care Group Ltd Audi R8 LMS ultra into third in class at the chequered flag thanks in part to a stunning pit-stop that was within 0.4secs of the mandatory time limit defined by series regulations.
Having qualified an excellent second quickest overall for Sunday’s opening race – denied his and United’s second outright pole-position of the season by just 0.107secs – Burgan went on to record fourth in class. An impressive second fastest lap time in the morning race, which began in the dry and finished wet, meant Phil started the weekend’s third and final race from the front row of the 19-car grid.
He ran inside the top-four until the race resumed after a Safety Car period but the electrics problem intensified six minutes from the flag costing Burgan overall places although he held on for a third GTO class podium of the weekend.
“Making my race debut at Rockingham was always going to be difficult but it was made even tougher this weekend being blighted with a sporadic electronics problem which made life very difficult at times with the engine suddenly cutting out without warning. That said, we managed to score three class podiums, scoring some decent points, which actually marks my best weekend so far in the series. United Autosports will work hard between now and the next races to solve the electrical issue and ”
Richard Dean, Team Owner and Managing Director, United Autosports:
“It hasn’t been one of our best weekends and I feel sorry for Phil that we were unable to give him a totally reliable car this weekend due to an electrical gremlin we’ve been unable to rectify since first running on Friday morning. The Audi’s electronics momentarily cut over the bumps, which in turn freezes the engine for a split second. This sometimes caused the dash to malfunction, the car-to-pit radio to turn off and for the R8 to go into ‘safe’ mode requiring Phil at times to reset the system during the races. It’s looking very likely we will need to replace the entire wiring loom back at our Leeds raceshop before next month’s races at Silverstone. But Phil soldiered on in from ideal conditions and brought us home three GTO podiums.”