MOTOR RACING: Latif makes solid start in Blancpain Sprint campaign

Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard: Promising motor racing driver Alessandro Latif Promising motor racing driver Alessandro Latif

ALESSANDRO LATIF finished ninth and 10th in two races for the Phoenix Racing Audi team on his Blancpain Sprint Series debut in France over Easter.

The Marlborough College student and co-driver Marc Basseng, of Germany, lie 10th in the standings after the opening two one-hour races at Nogaro.

“The Nogaro races were a huge learning curve for me,” said Latif. “They were my first GT3 sprint races and the first time I’d raced one of those cars on a wet, slippery track, so there was a lot of pressure."

Light rain and a damp track made for tricky conditions for the opening stages of Sunday’s qualifying race which Basseng started on wet tyres. Marc handed over to Latif placed 11th – a position the 18-year-old Briton maintained to the chequered flag before picking up one place due the disqualification of another car.

Latif began from 11th on the grid for Easter Monday’s one-hour main race staged in sunny and dry conditions, moved up two places at the start but dropped to 17th on the third lap after briefly leaving the track.

But a strong recovery from both Latif and then from team-mate Basseng, brought their Phoenix Audi up to an impressive ninth place at the chequered flag.

Alessandro said: “I pushed a little too hard on the third lap, dropped a wheel on to the grass, and by the time I’d recovered had fallen to the back of the pack.

“I focused on setting consistent lap times and making up time so that Marc and I could claw back up the field. We gained some places during the pit-stop phase thanks to another amazing job from the Phoenix crew.

“My mistake was costly but we fought back well.”

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