Night thrills await the Team WRT at Misano

With the Endurance Series season now over, the focus of the Blancpain GT Series community is all on the Sprint Series and the decisive two final rounds.

First stop this weekend is at Misano. There will still be a flavour of summer at the Italian track on the shores of the Adriatic, as numerous holiday-makers still enjoy the good weather of early Autumn, but it is going serious business for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT.

It will seek to consolidate his leadership in both the Drivers’ and Teams’ championships and it has a tangible chance to conquer already in Italy the mathematical certainty of the crowns. This is the objective of Laurens Vanthoor-Robin Frijns, while Ortelli-Richelmi, Ide-Mies and Stippler-Nash also aspire to podium positions. It’s the first time that the track that now carries the name of the late local motorbike champion Marco Simoncelli is included in the Blancpain calendar, offering to the series what is one of its traditional features: a twilight race (the Qualifying Race on Saturday) followed by fire works!

Theoretically, we can be champions already in Misano

Laurens Vanthoor

Team WRT Principal Vincent Vosse is relatively confident ahead of this important event: “We’ll try to be conscious and do our best. We have a lot at stake in this final part of the season, as we are in contention for the Drivers’ and Teams’ titles in the Sprint Series and also in the overall Blancpain GT standings, and we also have Stéphane Ortelli aspiring to the runner-up position in the Drivers’ overall ranking, which is equally important. The BoP in the Sprint Series has been better for our cars throughout the season, so I hope we will be competitive, although we have seen how strong the Bentleys have been recently.”

Laurens Vanthoor is equally determined as he hopes to be the first driver to clinch a second Blancpain Sprint crown. The young Belgian conquered the top honours in 2013, alongside Stéphane Ortelli, and now chases a second title associated with Robin Frijns. “Theoretically, we can be champions already in Misano”, he comments, “I think we need only 7 points to reach the goal. It’s doable and that would allow us to get rid of the little pressure you always have when you lead the standings. We are in a good position, as it is up to our rivals to chase us, while we can concentrate in doing well our job and avoid mistakes.”
The young Belgian is not too concerned about not having raced at Misano before. “We were there twice for testing in the Spring”, he explains, “so we know the track and we have data, although a new surface has been laid down since then and this may change many things. I like the idea of a night race, it’s something different from usual and the kind of thing that brings additional fun. Misano is essentially a motorbike track, which means that track limits will be an issue, as you have plenty of chances to cut corners…” Vincent Vosse echoes the concern: “Respect of track limits and the way this is handled is becoming more and more an issue in modern motor racing and Misano really poses a challenge to that regard. I hope the issue will be tackled correctly since scratch.”

For the other three cars of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, podium will be the mission. As said, Stéphane Ortelli is on the race for vice-champion honours in the overall Blancpain GT Series and his and Stéphane Richelmi’s goal will be to go for heavy points. Enzo Ide-Christopher Mies and Frank Stippler-James Nash can equally aspire to podium finishes that would be a deserved reward after some previous misfortunes.

Action in Misano will start on Friday, with free practice, with qualifying on Saturday afternoon and the night Qualifying Race starting at 20:45. Main Race on Sunday will be under full sun, at 14:00 hours.

Blancpain Sprint Series - Round 6

Misano Adriatico, Italy
3-4 October 2015

Timetable (all times local = CET-1)

Friday 2nd October 2015
14:40-16:00 Free Practice 1
15:45-17:05 Free Practice 2

Saturday 3rd October 2015
14:00-14:15 Qualifying 1
14:22-14:37 Qualifying 2
14:45-14:55 Qualifying 3
20:45-21:45 Qualifying Race

Sunday 4th October 2015
14:00-15:00 Main Race

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT

#1 Laurens Vanthoor (B) – Robin Frijns (NL) (Pro)
#2 Enzo Ide (B) – Christopher Mies (D) (Pro)
#3 Stéphane Ortelli (MC) – Stéphane Richelmi (MC) (Pro)
#4 James Nash (GB) - Frank Stippler (D) (Pro)

Provisional Drivers’ standings (Pro Cup) after Round 5 of 7:

1. Vanthoor-Frijns 109 points
2. Abril-Buhk 83
3. Abeu-Brito 59
4. Seefried-Siedler 58
5. Ortelli-Richelmi 56
7. Mies-Ide 36
14. Nash-Stippler 17

Provisional Teams’ standings (Pro Cup) after Round 5 of 7:

1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT 141 points
2. BMW Sports Trophy Team Brazil 96
3. Bentley HTP 89
4. Rinaldi Racing 61
5. Phoenix Racing 55

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT

 

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About this article
Series Blancpain Sprint
Event Misano
Track Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli
Drivers Stéphane Ortelli , Laurens Vanthoor , James Nash , Enzo Ide
Teams Audi Sport Team WRT
Article type Preview