After a first successful season in GT racing, Belgian Audi driver Laurens Vanthoor (21), is competing at the wheel of the WRT Audi R8 LMS.
His 2013 season programme includes the Blancpain Endurance Series, the FIA GT Series, some races of the German VLN and the Nürburgring 24 Hours.
Together with Monegasque driver Stéphane Ortelli, Laurens Vanthoor arrived in Nogaro with high hopes.
During qualifying, the combined strengths of the Audi R8 LMS Ultra and the team resulted in a very strong fourth position on the grid.
Laurens Vanthoor: “We’re happy with the result, as it leaves all possibilities open for the first race. I think we should be able to finish well up the rankings later on today.”
Unluckily racing sometimes produces some bad surprises. Laurens Vanthoor took a good start, but was immediately hit from the rear by a BMW.
Despite a very strong comeback from both him and teammate Stephane Ortelli, another race incident and a flat tyre ruined the Audi pairing’s race.
Laurens Vanthoor: “The BMW shunted me after only a few hundred meters… I wonder what the guy was thinking. Luckily the safety car came out and I managed to slot back in at the back of the field.
During my stint, I managed to immediately overtake some competitors, and thanks to both a very strong pit stop by the WRT squad and some fine driving by Stephane we were back up in 5th position, which would have been a perfect result given the start incident.
However Stephane was then also hit, resulting in some body damage and a flat tyre. Result: our race was ruined. We are now 16th on the grid for the main race, which is even more than just a handicap…”
What occurred in the second race was great racing, in fact superb motorsport: Laurens Vanthoor and Stéphane Orteli came back from 16th to 2nd in the Pro category, with two amazing overtaking manoeuvres by Vanthoor in the closing stages.
Laurens Vanthoor: “It feels like the best race of my life, the battle for 2nd in the ultimate laps was amazing, I feel as though I have just won the championship.”
Vanthoor’s next race is in Monza for the opening round of the Blancpain Endurance Series, on the 14th of April. The following week the FIA GT Series pay a visit to Zolder for the second round of the championship.