Following a perfect race by Enzo Ide-René Rast and the entire Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, the Audi R8 LMS ultra #2 has conquered its maiden win this season in the Blancpain Sprint Series at Zandvoort. On the track in the dunes of the Dutch resort, the pair Laurens Vanthoor-César Ramos has not enjoyed the same success, as the Belgian’s choice to put on wet tires at the moment a storm broke proved not to be the right one. After an excellent third position in the Qualifying Race, Vanthoor and Ramos had to satisfy themselves with the 10th position on Sunday. It was again a good outing for the youngsters of the squad, with Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski dominating the Silver Cup for Under-25 drivers throughout the weekend, which allows them to significantly increase the lead in the standings. Thanks to the success of Ide-Rast, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is again on the race in the Teams’ standings.

«We can say it was a nice race for the fans, with a lot of changes and surprises », declared a joyful Team Principal, Vincent Vosse.“René and Enzo have put a wonderful performance and the team has very well managed the pit stops. Laurens wasn’t lucky with his tire choice, but this kind of bet is part of the game in racing… If the rain had persisted, he would have been the hero in the final part of the race. We aren’t yet at the half-season mark and while we aren’t very well placed in the Drivers’ standings, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT can still retain its Team crown. With regard to our younger drivers, they confirm their excellent form in the Silver Cup. »

Qualifying had been quite positive for the Belgian squad, as Laurens Vanthoor signed the second-fastest time at the wheel of car #1, with René Rast placing #2 in P4. It’s by less than one tenth of a second that Mateusz Lisowski conquered the pole position in the Silver Cup, while taking P13 overall.

Disturbed by a strong shower, the Qualifying Race was closely-fought. César Ramos, who had taken over from Laurens Vanthoor after a complicated pit stop, climbed positions in his stint and concluded third after passing team mate Enzo Ide at the braking of the famous Tarzan corner two laps from the finish. By finishing 4th, Ide and René Rast secured a position on the second row of the grid for the Main Race. Right off the top ten, Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski took again top honours in the Silver Cup.

The one-hour Main Race was also exciting and full of surprises. An accident at the start unfortunately eliminated the WRT-prepared G-Drive Racing car of Rusinov-Ortelli and forced the safety-car out. Thanks to an excellent start, Enzo Ide took third and kept the position throughout his entire stint. The excellent work of the mechanics sent René Rast back to the track in second, at the very moment some rain drops started to fall. Absolutely inspired despite the challenging weather conditions, the German put pressure on the leading Mercedes to eventually pass Buhk twenty minutes from the end with a perfect overtake on the outside. « René driving on slicks on a wet track was really impressive to watch », admitted Enzo Ide. « He’s really done a fantastic job!»

Still, the race wasn’t over and René saw in the final laps the BMW of Baumann becoming bigger and bigger in his mirrors. “I pushed even more, using the dry parts of the track”, explained Rast, « I know it was going to be difficult for him to pass, as only the ideal line was dry. This win comes very welcomed, of course, after all the bad luck in the initial rounds.” The Rast-Ide duo is now in third position in the Drivers’ standings, although at some distance from the lead.

Car #1, which sported a logo « Well done Belgium » that replaced the « Go Belgium ! » of the day before was less lucky, just like the national football team… César Ramos could not keep the p3 that he had on the grid and concluded his stint in sixth; shortly after the pit-stop, Laurens Vanthoor pitted again to put on wet tires. «I thought this would have been our best chance to win the race », confessed the Belgian after crossing the finishing line in 10th, « At the beginning, I was very fast, but then, the rain stopped… Not only my charge stopped, but I had to concede two positions in the closing laps, as my tires were dead. It was a bet, but once again this season, we haven’t been very lucky…”

Like Vanthoor, it’s on wet tires that Vincent Abril concluded the race after an excellent start and first stint by Mateusz Lisowski, who came into the pits in P7. Restarting in fifth, Abril immediately passed Piquet Jr and climbed up to third position before having to lift off to spare the over-consumed tires, finishing ninth. « At the beginning of my stint, when I knew I was the first car with wet tires, I even thought we could win the race », smiled Vincent. « We were really so fast. When the rain stopped, the track started to dry very quickly and I knew I had to prepare for a difficult end of the race. But the most important is that we won again in the Silver Cup.”

The Slovakiaring will host the fourth round of the Blancpain Sprint Series on 22-24 August. Needless to say, before that, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will have to focus on the most important rendez-vous of the season, the Total 24 Hours of Spa, on 26-27 July. Not to be missed!

Blancpain Sprint Series - Round 3

Zandvoort, Netherlands

5-6 July 2014

Qualifying Race Result :

  1. Bleekemolen-Proczyk (Lambo FLII) 30 laps in 1h01m45s733
  2. 2. Götz-Buhk (Mercedes SLS) + 0s408
  3. Vanthoor-Ramos (Audi R8 LMS ultra) + 2s245
  4. Rast-Ide (Audi R8 LMS ultra) + 3s290
  5. 5. Baumann-Jäger (BMW Z4) + 5s263

11. Lisowski-Abril (Audi R8 LMS ultra) + 1m27s882 (1. Silver Cup)

Main Race Result :

  1. Ide-Rast (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 31 laps in 1h00m21s573

2. Baumann-Jäger (BMW Z4) + 1s366

3. Renauer-van Lagen (Porsche 911) + 20s732

4. Götz-Buhk (Mercedes SLS) + 37s996

5. Bleekemolen-Proczyk (Lambo FLII) + 49s430

9. Lisowski-Abril (Audi R8 LMS ultra) +1m26s781(1. Silver Cup)

  1. Vanthoor-Ramos (Audi R8 LMS ultra) +1m39s434

Provisional Drivers’ standings (Pro Cup) after Round 3 of 7 :

1. Buhk-Götz (Mercedes SLS) 69 points

2. Bleekemolen-Proczyk (Lambo FLII) 61

3. Ide-Rast (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 36

4. Bueno-Jimenez (BMW Z4) 33

5. Vanthoor-Ramos (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 27

6. Abril-Lisowski (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 25

Provisional Drivers’ standings (Silver Cup) after Round 3 of 7 :

1. Lisowski-Abril (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 99 points

2. Colombo-Fumanelli (BMW Z4) 71

3. Toril (Mercedes SLS) 61

4. Bastian (Mercedes SLS) 40

Provisional Teams’ standings (Pro Cup) after Round 3 of 7 :

1. HTP Motorsport 69 points

2. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT 67

3. Grasser Racing Team 63

4. BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil 41

5. Phoenix Racing 25

5. G-Drive Racing 23

Photo: Patrick Hecq Photography

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