Misano BSS: Vervisch and Vanthoor victorious in main race
Audi WRT duo Frederic Vervisch and Laurens Vanthoor struck back with victory in the Blancpain Sprint Series Championship Race in the season-opening round at Misano.
Starting in third place, Vervisch fought through to the lead before handing over to Vanthoor, who brought the car home.
The #8 Bentley, having benefitted from a well-timed full-course-yellow to take the win on Saturday, led the field at the rolling start - but Maxime Soulet and Andy Soucek were quickly robbed of any hope of doubling up.
First, Soulet was passed round the outside by the #99 BMW of Philipp Eng into Turn 1, before slipping behind Vervisch and, finally, being tapped into a spin by the #4 Audi of Dries Vanthoor - a move for which the latter would incur a drive-through penalty.
The Bentley's misfortune set up a fascinating battle between Eng and Vervisch, the Audi quickly closing on the BMW but struggling to find a way past.
Finally, with the pit window closing in, Vervisch forced his way past Eng, the duo running side-by-side for a couple of corners before the #1 Audi took the lead for good - with the #84 HTP Mercedes of Dominik Baumann also profiting to pass Eng for second.
And Baumann, following close behind Vervisch, was the first of the frontrunners to come in, handing his car over to Maximilian Buhk.
However, the #1 Audi lost no time by opting to stay out a couple of laps more, Vervisch's teammate Vanthoor rejoining five seconds clear of the Mercedes.
A spirited drive from Buhk got him to within two seconds of the Belgian by the end of the race, but it proved too little too late, he and Baumann settling for second.
The battle for third in the second half of the race, however, was a thriller, with Felix Rosenqvist, despite a slow changeover between himself and Tristan Vautier in the #77 AKKA-ASP Mercedes, reeling in Eng's teammate Alexander Sims.
Rosenqvist shadowed Sims for several laps before eventually barging his way past with seven minutes left on the clock.
However, as the chequered flag drew nearer, Rosenqvist had to pull over to the side of the track, giving up a debut podium, with Sims and Eng moving back into third.
Alvaro Parente and Rob Bell in the McLaren inherited fourth, ahead of the ISR duo of Filip Salaquarda and Frank Stippler, the Rinaldi Ferrari pairing of Norbert Siedler and Marco Seefried - and Bernd Schneider and Jules Szymkowiak, who went from 37th on the grid to seventh.
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About this article
|Location||Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli|
|Drivers||Frederic Vervisch , Laurens Vanthoor|
|Teams||Audi Sport Team WRT|