The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT takes Blancpain Endurance Series Teams’ title for the fourth time in five years

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT takes Blancpain Endurance Series Teams’ title for the fourth time in five years

20/09/2015

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has conquered the 2015 Teams’ title of the Blancpain Endurance Series today, in a very closely-fought final race at the Nürburgring. This is the fourth time in five years of existence of the Championship that the Belgian squad brings home the coveted trophy. Although today’s was a difficult race for the Audis R8 LMS ultra, the 4th place signed by Jean-Karl Vernay-Robin Frijns-Laurens Vanthoor was enough to secure the title. The day also had a less happier note, as Stéphane Ortelli and Frank Stippler, who were leading in the Drivers’ standings ahead of the final round, could not clinch the Drivers’ title. Associated with Stéphane Richelmi, they finished 11th after a difficult race and being hit in the final part of the race, sliding to the third step of the championship’s podium.

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT team principal Vincent Vosse welcomed the success in the Teams’ competition but could not hide some regrets at the end of the race: “It’s great to win the Teams’ title, which makes it nr. 17 in Team WRT’s young history, and it’s a nice reward for the entire team, who has done an outstanding job throughout the season and also today, in terms of work, strategy and pit stops. But I also feel a little bit frustrated to see that we never had the right performance in the Endurance Series this year, as proven on the track also today. If we managed to stay ahead in the standings it’s because we have an excellent team and excellent drivers, but one has to reckon we didn’t go to the battle with the same chances as others…”

As expected, the competition proved hard since free practice, with some of the direct rivals showing excellent pace. In qualifying, the two Audis R8 of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT managed to somehow reduce the gaps, with Frijns putting car #1 in P9 and Richelmi doing P12 with car #2.

In the race, Vernay, who took the start at the wheel of car #1, managed to gain a couple of positions in the early stages, contrarily to Stippler on car #2. The race was then characterized by two safety-car periods. This, combined to early and perfectly executed pit stops by the team, allowed both cars of the Belgian squad to be back on the race during the second stint, with Frijns and Richelmi in the top then.

After the round of second pit stop, again perfectly managed by the team, things turned unfortunately sour for car #2, as Stéphane Ortelli, who was driving in the final stint was hit and sent into a spin by the Nissan of Plowman. The loss of time, pace and positions annihilated the chances of Ortelli-Stippler with regard to the Drivers’ title. The Monegasque eventually finished in 11th position.

Car #1 had better fortune, with Laurens Vanthoor climbing up positions after some nice duels, which included a slight contact with the Lambo of Venturini. The Belgian finished 4th and right behind the tail of the Nissan that took the last step on the podium.

The Blancpain Endurance Series is now over, but the GT season is not: the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will now focus on the final and decisive phase of the Blancpain Sprint Series, which includes two rounds at Misano (3-4 October) and Zandvoort (10-11 October).

Blancpain Endurance Series – Round 5

Nürburgring, Germany

19-20 September 2015

Race results:

  1. Estre-Van Gisbergen-Bell (McLaren 650S) 88 laps in 3h00m18s820
  2. Kane-Meyrick-Smith (Bentley Continental) -14s183
  3. Chiyo-Reip-Buncombe (Nissan GT-R) -19s161
  4. Vanthoor-Frijns-Vernay (Audi R8 LMS ultra) -19s650
  5. Soucek-Soulet-Buhk (Bentley Continental) -33s393

11. Ortelli-Stippler-Richelmi (Audi R8 LMS ultra) -1m09s391

27. Bottemanne-Schothorst-Koebolt (Audi R8 LMS ultra) – 1 lap (9. in Pro-Am)

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

1. Buncombe-Chiyo-Reip (Nissan GT-R) 62 points

2. Kane-Meyrick-Smith (Bentley Continental) 59

3. Stippler-Ortelli (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 56

4. Van Gisbergen-Estre-Bell (McLares 650S) 55

5. Luhr-Palttala (BMW Z4) 49

6. Vanthoor-Frijns-Vernay (Audi R8 LMS ultra) 48

Bastian-Dusseldorp (Mercedes SLS) 48

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

  1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT 79 points
  2. Bentley M-Sport 76

3. Nissan GT Academy RJN 68

4. Von Ryan Racing 66

5. Marc VDS 58

Grasser Racing 58

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