Point finishes but no highlights for Team WRT in Moscow’s Sprint round
The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT obtained a satisfactory result, with many point finishes and all the four cars in the top 8 in the Main Race.
It was a weekend of mixed feelings at the Moscow Raceway for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, as the squad’s Audis R8 ultras obtained a satisfactory result, with many point finishes and all the four cars in the top 8 in the Main Race, but never appeared in a position to fight for victory and keep the pace of the front-runners. Still, the team leaves Russia keeping the leadership in both the Teams’ and Drivers’ standings of both the Blancpain Sprint and overall Blancpain GT Series.
... Lambos, Ferraris and Bentleys are much faster than us at this moment.
In Moscow, the best results were the 5th of Ide-Mies in the Qualifying Race and the 4th of Richelmi-Ortelli in the Main Race, while Vanthoor-Frijns’ weekend was marred with an accident in free practice and a contact in the opening lap of Race 1, which impacted on their entire weekend, concluded with a 5th position in the Main Race.
Team Principal Vincent Vosse perfectly summarized the situation: “We came here hoping for a good team results, and yes, we have reached 7 finishes out of the possible 8, with the four cars making it in the Main Race, although between 4th and 8th. Clearly, we aimed at better positions, but that was impossible here, despite the great work by all drivers and the entire team. The performance sought wasn’t there, and I can’t really explain why, it’s probably the result of a combination of small factors and details.
But the truth is also that the Lambos, Ferraris and Bentleys are much faster than us at this moment. We seem able to compete with them on a one lap basis from time to time but not consistently over an entire race. We are bit disappointed, although we limited the damage, keeping the advantage in all championships. Now it’s time to go home and work as hard as we can to prepare the Total 24 Hours of Spa.”
The Russian round, held over only two days (Friday and Saturday) started with relatively good results in free practice, Vanthoor even taking fastest time in FP2 before a small mistake in the chicane sent him into the barriers, which resulted in some damage on two corners of the car. Qualifying saw the Belgian taking P5, ahead of Mies, with Ortelli 9th and Stippler 12th.
In the Qualifying Race, the fortunes of car #1 was marked since the opening lap, as Vanthoor got touched by one of the Bentleys, which resulted in a puncture and having to complete one lap on the rim. The incident costed a lap and a half in total, and the team decided to withdraw the car shortly before the pit stop to preserve it for the Main Race starting a couple of hours later.
Christopher Mies-Enzo Ide did a solid race to take a good fifth place, with Ortelli-Richelmi finishing 8th and Stippler-Nash 10th among Pro-Cup cars, respectively.
In the Main Race, Robin Frijns had an excellent start, which put him in the top 10 from lap 1 and he handed over the car to Vanthoor in a position that allowed hoping for a podium finish. The young Belgian fought hardly with the BMW that eventually finished second. Unfortunately, this time, he couldn’t avoid a small mistake and spinning, which meant eventually a final P5, right behind team-mates Richelmi-Ortelli, who took fourth. The other two cars finished not far behind, with Ide-Mies taking 7th and Nash-Stippler 8th.
The Blancpain GT Series now gears up for the stellar Endurance event of the season, the Total 24 Hours of Spa (25-26 July), a race that means quite something to the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and where the team has a title to defend!
Qualifying Race results
- Thurn u.Taxis-Catsberg (Lambo FLII) 36 laps in 1h00m14s065
- Seefried-Siedler (Ferrari F458) - 7s285
- Abril-Buhk (Bentley Continental) - 15s670
- Bueno-Jimenez (BMW Z4) -23s027
- Mies-Ide (Audi R8 LMS ultra) -28s480
9. Richelmi-Ortelli (Audi R8 LMS ultra) -31s820 (8. in Pro Cup)
11. Nash-Stippler (Audi R8 LMS ultra) -41s106 (10. in Pro Cup)
DNF Vanthoor-Frijns (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 13 laps
Main Race Race results
1. Buhk-Abril (Bentley Continental) 36 laps in 1h00m20s222
2. Brito-Abreu (BMW Z4) - 7s524
3. Seefried-Siedler (Ferrari F458) - 8s371
4. Richelmi-Ortelli (Audi R8 LMS ultra) - 9s024
5. Frijns-Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS ultra) -20s544
7. Mies-Ide (Audi R8 LMS ultra) -21s673
8. Nash-Stippler (Audi R8 LMS ultra) -25s736
First win for Vincent Abril and Maxi Buhk in the HTP Bentley Continental GT3
Bentley team HTP wins in Moscow