The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT to the Nürburgring to secure the two Blancpain Endurance Series titles

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT to the Nürburgring to secure the two Blancpain Endurance Series titles

16/09/2015

The time of the big finals has come: the first one will take place next weekend at the Nürburgring, where the Blancpain Endurance Series titles will be decided. The last round of the season, on the iconic track in the Eifel region, will see a superb battle, with many candidates. Still, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is heading to Germany in a more favorable position, as it leads in both the Teams’ and Drivers’ standings, although the advantage is not huge: nine points in the Teams’ competition and seven in the Drivers’ one. Frank Stippler and Stéphane Ortelli (who will be joined by Stéphane Richelmi) are on top of the standings and best-placed to clinch the title, but Laurens Vanthoor-Robin Frijns-Jean-Karl Vernay also still have a chance, although their gap is now 20 points.

Team Principal Vincent Vosse approaches this decisive round with his usual cool: “Nothing is done and we know it will be a strong battle. There are 4-5 cars fighting for the top honours and all can make it. We know that the Audi is competitive at the Ring, but all of our direct rivals, the Bentley, the BMW, the Mercedes and the Nissan have performed very well recently. We need to stay very focused and do things well. Last year, we had one of our best races at the Ring, let’s repeat that. In terms of strategy, it won’t be very sophisticated, the best way to go is always aiming at winning. This is true also for the Drivers’ title, where we have Frank and Stéphane leading. Laurens and Robin also have a mathematical chance, but there are six other candidates in-between our two pairs, so it would be extremely difficult for them.”

For Frank Stippler and Stéphane Ortelli, associated with Stéphane Richelmi, the objective is clear: to keep the leadership in the Drivers’ standings and conquer the title. Stéphane Ortelli is philosophical ahead of this decisive round: “Having two driver pairs in contention for the title”, says the seasoned Monegasque, “proves how good the work of Team WRT has been throughout the season. We know our strengths and are well prepared, so we will have the two cars going for victory. For me, it is simply fantastic to be again in the position of fighting for a title and I thank WRT for their trust and the excellent relationship. In five years we have built an extraordinary bond, both from a professional and human point of view, and I believe it is all this that lead us to perform 100%. If I win the title, it will be my seventh major international title and I would be very happy, but I would be even happier for Frank, who has done a tremendous job for WRT and Audi and brings a lot of serenity to the team. He really deserves a first crown!”.

It is precisely with the serenity praised by Ortelli that the German driver approaches next weekend: “There is a title at stake, for sure, but I am preparing this race exactly as all the others, with a 100% motivation”, says Stippler, “Winning a title is a matter of putting all the pieces of a puzzle together, but the chances are there, and yet another season, WRT is there fighting for a title. What is certain is that, for me, it is nice to have this decisive race at the Ring, my home track…”

Even with a 20-point advantage, the trio composed of Laurens Vanthoor, Robin Frijns and Jean-Karl Vernay hasn’t surrender yet their chances, albeit slimmer. “It’s never done until it’s done”, says Vanthoor, “but it is going to be difficult for us. We have to win and we’ll certainly go for that, but we need also to hope in others’ misfortunes. Still, the Ring has always been nice to me. It is there that I won the F.3 title in 2009, the Blancpain Endurance last year and the 24 Hours race this year… Regarding strategy, I don’t think there is any problem with two cars of our team in the fight for the title. We’ll see how things fold out during the race, and if we have no chance left and have to help Frank and Stéphane, we will of course do it very gladly.”

As usual, Team WRT enters a third car in Pro-Am for the trio of young guns Bottemanne-Koebolt-Schothorst. The Nürburgring round will follow the usual BES format, with free practice and pre-qualifying on Saturday, and qualifying early on Saturday morning (8:30), while the 3-hour race will kick-off at 14:45.

Revive the Total 24 Hours of Spa with the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT film

This year the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT fell one position short from victory at the Total 24 Hours of Spa, but podium honors in the toughest and most legendary GT race in the world is always a great satisfaction. You can revive all the epics of the 2015 edition with the recently-released film by the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT at:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l-k1zGXO6rc (English version)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O-gm8Fd2980 (French version)

Blancpain Endurance Series - Round 5

Nürburgring, Germany

19-20 September 2015

Timetable (all times local = CET)

Saturday, 19th September 2015
09:00-10:00 Bronze test

11:05-12:35 Free Practice

16:15-17:45 Pre-Qualifying

Sunday, 20th September 2015

08:30-09:30 Qualifying

14:45-17:45 Race (3 hrs)

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT (Audi R8 LMS ultra)

#1 Laurens Vanthoor (B) - Robin Frijns (NL) – Jean-Karl Vernay (F) (Pro)

#2 Frank Stippler (D) – Stéphane Ortelli (MC) – Stéphane Richelmi (MC) (Pro)

Additional car entered by Team WRT (Audi R8 LMS ultra)

#4 Sacha Bottemanne (F)–Max Koebolt (NL)–Pieter Schothorst (NL) (Pro-Am)

Drivers’ provisional standings after Round 4 of 5 (Pro Cup):

1. Stippler-Ortelli (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 56 points

2. Palttala-Luhr (BMW Z4) 49

3. Dusseldorp-Bastian (Mercedes SLS) 48

4. Chiyo-Reip-Buncombe (Nissan GT-R) 47

5. Juncadella (Mercedes SLS) 42

7. Vernay-Frijns-Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 36

14. Richelmi (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 15

Teams’ provisional standings after Round 4 of 5 (Pro Cup):

1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT 67 points

2. Bentley M-Sport 58

Marc VDS 58

4. Rowe Racing 55

5. Nissan GT Academy RJN 53

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