Maximilian Buhk and Maximilian Götz took their second Main Race win of the season at the Portuguese round of the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series.
Maxi Götz laid the groundwork for this win, passing polesitter Hari Proczyk in the opening laps. The lead he built afterwards proved to be enough to keep first place until the end.
Laurens Vanthoor crossed the line in second, but incurred a 30-second penalty after the race for not respecting track limits and gaining an advantage. Therefore the #28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini of Bleekemolen and Proczyk was classified second, the #9 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi of Ortelli and Hamprecht third.
The Silver Cup win went to the BMW-duo of Stefano Colombo and David Fumanelli, driving the only Silver Cup car that did not hit trouble during this race. In Pro-Am Trophy the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi of Marc Basseng and Alessandro Latif crossed the line in first, and finished in 7th overall as well.
Scoring a win here is important, because I don’t think we will be at the front in Zolder and nobody knows what Baku will bring.
It was clear from the start that Maximilian Götz in the #84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes had his mind set on the lead, putting pressure on polesitter Hari Proczyk. The Austrian in the #28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini managed to hold off Götz three or four times, but in the end he had to give way to the Series’ leader. After a brief intervention of the safety car – Silver Cup drivers Vincent Abril and Armaan Ebrahim having stranded their cars in turn 10 – Götz swiftly built up a lead, culminating in a twelve-second advantage when the pitstop window opened. Team-mate Maximilian Buhk had little trouble in controlling that advantage and five months after winning the opening round at Nogaro, the #84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes crossed the line in first.
With five minutes remaining, the fight for second became a thriller. After the pitstop Jeroen Bleekemolen had managed to defend the runner-up position rather easily, but five minutes from the end of the race, Laurens Vanthoor in the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi closed the gap towards the Dutchman. With two laps to go, the Belgian overtook the Lamborghini in the braking zone before the hairpin. At the beginning of his overtaking manoeuvre Vanthoor had not respected track limits however, and therefore incurred a drive-through penalty which was converted into a 30 second time penalty after the race. Therefore the Lamborghini took the second spot, with the #9 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi classified third.
I have to apologize to the race director for speaking bad about him on TV for not taking action, because he did take action.
Behind the top three, the fight for the point-scoring positions hotted up after the pitstops. Due to some excellent pitwork and a well-executed passing manoeuvre on Stephane Ortelli, Alex Zanardi looked set to at least equal his best result of the year, but in the final phase of the race the Italian could not resist the comeback of several Audi drivers.
Eventually, it was Tomas Enge in the G-Drive Lamborghini who claimed fourth, with Total 24 Hours of Spa-winners René Rast and Markus Winkelhock crossing the line seconds later in the #2 WRT and #6 Phoenix Audi R8 LMS cars respectively. Pro-Am winner Alessandro Latif in the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi managed to hold off Zanardi, which gave him 7th place.
Marc Basseng, Latif’s team-mate on the Phoenix machine, had taken the start of the race from 11th and through some excellent driving managed to briefly take the lead of the race during the pitstops. The other podium finishers in Pro-Am were the #71 Sports & You Mercedes and the #27 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini.
With Abril and Ebrahim retiring early on, the fight for the Silver Cup win was between the #86 HTP Motorsport Mercedes and the #34 ROAL Motorsport BMW. It was the latter who took the win, after Lucas Wolf was sent into a spin by his HTP team-mate Sergei Afanasiev. The German managed to continue however, albeit a lap down. In the Silver Cup standings the ROAL Motorsport-pairing of Colombo and Fumanelli have now closed the gap to Series’ leaders Abril and Lisowski to 14 points.
Maximilian Götz (#84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes): “It was very important that I overtook Hari as quickly as possible, because I started the race on new tyres and I wanted to take as much advantage as possible on them. Scoring a win here is important, because I don’t think we will be at the front in Zolder and nobody knows what Baku will bring.”
Jeroen Bleekemolen (#28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini): “I am aware that there were some discussions about track limits after the race, but I am happy with the outcome! I have to apologize to the race director for speaking bad about him on TV for not taking action, because he did take action. Also I have to say that Laurens made a great pass and is a great guy to race against.”
David Fumanelli (#34 ROAL Motorsport BMW, 1st Silver Cup): “It’s unfortunate that Stefano hit mechanical trouble during his stint, because we could have finished a lot higher up overall. Still, we win the Silver Cup and close the gap in the Series’ standings.”
Alessandro Latif (#6 Phoenix Racing Audi, 1st Pro-Am Trophy): “I managed to get in some decent lap times, but the guys behind me still caught up with me. I did not want to risk being caught by Zanardi as well and therefore did not try to block them too much. It proved to be the right decision.”
Blancpain Sprint Series - Round 5 - Algarve - Main Race
1 #84 Götz/Buhk – HTP Motorsport Mercedes 33 laps
2 #28 Proczyk/Bleekemolen – GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini +11.576
3 #9 Hamprecht/Ortelli – Belgian Audi Club Team WRT +23.435
4 #3 Rusinov/Enge – G-Drive Racing Lamborghini +23.753
5 #2 Ide/Rast – Belgian Audi Club Team WRT +26.407
6 #6 Mayr-Melnhof/Winkelhock – Phoenix Racing Audi +30.600
7 #5 Basseng/Latif – Phoenix Racing Audi – first Pro-Am Cup +39.331
8 #1 Ramos/Vanthoor – Belgian Audi Club Team WRT +40.332
9 #33 Zanardi – Roal Motorsport BMW +40.788
10 #60 Onidi/Pantano – Bhaitech McLaren +43.264
15 #34 Fumanelli/Colombo – Roal Motorsport BMW - first Silver Cup +1:05.421
Blancpain GT Series