Maximilian Buhk and Vincent Abril win Qualifying Race at Portimão.
Portimão, Portugal, - Bentley Team HTP succeeded at the fifth round of the Blancpain Sprint Series in Portimão / Portugal with a second consecutive victory. Maximilian Buhk (D) and Vincent Abril (MC) won the Qualifying Race in their Bentley Continental GT3.
Due to their second win in a row and a fourth position finish in the feature race, the HTP-Duo are still in contention for the championship with two rounds to go. Jules Szymkowiak (NL) and Max van Splunteren (NL) finished inside the top ten in the Qualifying Race in the second Bentley Continental GT3 and took the class victory in the Silver Cup, reserved for young drivers.
In the feature we were not so lucky. But overall, I think we showed a great performance this weekend and can be confident for the next round.
The summer break in the Sprint Series came to an end in Portugal, but Bentley Team HTP maintained the strong performance the team showed at the most recent race in Moscow, where it took their first win. During qualifying, Buhk/Abril secured a front starting position, from which Abril went into the lead during the first part of the race. In a hard fought race, Buhk then had a thrilling duel for the victory with championship leader Robin Frijns in an Audi and eventually won.
Buhk continued this striking performance in the feature race and built a solid lead of more then eight seconds in the first part of the race. A Safety Car then neutralised the young Germans lead and after some seconds were lost at the mandatory pit stop, Buhk/Abril finished fourth.
Szymkowiak/van Splunteren experienced a weekend of ups and downs. After they finished eighth in the Qualifying Race and took the Silver Cup class win, van Splunteren got hit in the feature race and had to retire early with damaged suspension.
"A weekend with very mixed emotions," said Bentley Team HTP team boss Norbert Brückner. "Maxi and Vincent showed a impressive speed and our second consecutive win was the confirmation of our hard work this season. Our strategy for the feature race was to attack in the first part, but unfortunately this strategy was ruined when the Safety Car went out. It was too bad that Max van Splunteren was taken out of the feature race very early, as a top-five finished would have been possible.”
Buhk/Abril are second in the driver’s championship with two rounds to go. The next race will take place from 2nd to 4th October at Misano in Italy.
Driver Quotes after the race
Maximilian Buhk: "The qualifying race was very hard, but I was able to win and thus drive out the best grid position for the feature race. In the feature race, our tactic was to get the maximum out of a fresh set of tires. That worked quite well until the Safety Car came out. We then lost a few seconds during the pit stops, but what really cost us victory was the Safety Car.“
Vincent Abril: "I’m very happy about our victory in the Qualifying Race, as I tried by all means to keep the lead. Maxi then performed great and saved the victory. In the feature we were not so lucky. But overall, I think we showed a great performance this weekend and can be confident for the next round.“
Jules Szymkowiak: "I couldn’t find my rhythm here this weekend and the gap to our sister car was a bit too big. We secured a quite good starting position for the feature race, but then Max got hit very early in the race and had to retire with a damaged car. This was not the weekend, we were looking for.“
Bentley Team HTP