After an excellent start of the season, the Belgian squad is aiming at doing well in home.
It’s home race time for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, as the Blancpain Sprint Series heads to Zolder for what has become a very traditional stop for the championship. After an excellent start of the season, the Belgian squad is aiming at doing well on a track that has not always been very favourable to the Audis R8 LMS ultra and to improve even further its performance as a team.
The four driver line-ups are focused on this objective, although it is useless to say that some of the drivers have an extra motivation. This is certainly the case for Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Frijns for which the expression “home race” takes its fullest meaning. Enzo Ide, paired with Christopher Mies, is also racing on home soil, while Ortelli-Richelmi and Stippler-Nash, although not having blood connections to the country, are now so much part of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT family that they will also feel the “home effect”!
Team Principal Vincent Vosse faces this special rendez-vous with his usual coolness: “We have prepared this round in the same way we do prepare all rounds”, he comments, “but yes, home race is something special. The important thing will be to continue the positive trend we have enjoyed since the beginning of the season and possibly come with stronger results as a team”.
Sporting director Pierre Dieudonné further explains: “So far, we have obtained excellent results in all competitions, but for different reasons, we haven’t been successful with all cars at the same time. If there is something we would like to improve it’s this, and I hope we can do it as from Zolder.”
This said, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT currently enjoys a positive situation, as it leads in the Drivers’ and Teams’ standings of both the Sprint Series and the overall Blancpain GT Series.
As widely known by now, Zolder is home race for Laurens Vanthoor to the extent his family’s home borders with the track. It won’t be surprising therefore that the 24-year-old will have a lot of fans, friends and family members around him next weekend. Still, he will not be distracted from what remains his goal: “We have won the Qualifying race on Saturday last year, but never the Main Race”, he reckons, “It would be nice to do so this time, although Zolder is always a challenging and somehow unpredictable track. The weather forecasts points to warm temperatures, which may impose an additional constraint on the brakes, for which this track is very demanding, but that would be an issue for all participants…”
Laurens’ team-mate, Robin Frijns, can also be deemed as local hero, as his home town, Maastricht, in the Netherlands, is only a few kilometres away. The young Dutchman is looking forward to a good weekend: “Zolder will be the first track I know, after racing at Nogaro and Brands Hatch for the first time, so I hope this will help. On top, Zolder is the kind of track I like, although it doesn’t leave any margin for mistakes.”
Enzo Ide has a slightly longer distance to cover to get to Zolder, but no doubt that, together with Christopher Mies, he will aim at a flamboyant performance in front of his fans. Stéphane Ortelli and Stéphane Richelmi will try, on their side, to maintain and possibly improve their excellent current second position in the championship, while Frank Stippler and James Nash (who, being from Cologne and Milton Keynes, respectively, are also not far from home…) will definitely aim at visiting the podium for the first time this year.
For the Zolder round, the race format goes back to usual, with the qualifying Race on Saturday afternoon, at 14:45, and the Main Race on Sunday at 15:15.
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 2 of 7
1. Vanthoor-Ortelli 34 points
2. Ortelli-Richelmi 33
3. Martin-D.Müller (BMW Z4) 31
4. Abreu-Filho 24
5. Ide-Mies (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 19
…10. Stippler-Nash (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 8
Provisional Teams’ standings (Pro Cup) after Round 2 of 7
1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT 61 points
2. BMW Sports Trophy Team Brazil 55
3. Attempto Racing 22
4. Bentley HTP 18
Belgian Audi Club