NÜRBURGRING 6 HOURS IN THE GTWCE AND ASSEN DTM: TEAM WRT AGAIN ON TWO FRONTS
NÜRBURGRING 6 HOURS IN THE GTWCE AND ASSEN DTM: TEAM WRT AGAIN ON TWO FRONTS
Once again, Team WRT will be busy on two fronts this weekend, for two crucial commitments. At the Nürburgring, for the 6-hour race of the GTWCE Endurance Cup, the Audi R8 LMS under the banner of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will try to confirm the string of successes that it has enjoyed in GT3 racing since the restart of the season. The objective is to keep and possibly extend the leadership in the overall standings of the Endurance Cup and the GTWCE.
On the other side of the border, at Assen, in the Netherlands, the Audi RS 5 DTM of WRT Team Audi Sport will engage in the fourth round of the DTM, with the clear objective to translate the pace potential already shown in good positions on the grid and better race results.
Reflecting on the challenge ahead of this weekend, Team Principal Vincent Vosse comments: “In GT racing, we have had a terrific start of both the GTWCE and the ADAC GT Masters and the objective is to continue doing well. We know that it is going to be difficult to win all the time, and some BoP adjustments have been introduced. At the Nürburgring, the objective will be to manage well all parameters and go for heavy points. In the DTM, the objective is to confirm the improvements we have shown in the two Lausitzring rounds. We have proven that we can have a good pace, both in qualifying and race, but we need to put all the elements together in a consistent way and avoid little mistakes. Assen, where we were ok last year, could be a good track to prove that.”
The second round of the Endurance Cup of the GT World Challenge Europe holds superb promises. The race duration has been extended to double (i.e. 6 hours) to compensate the one event less following the reshuffling of calendars imposed by the effects of the pandemic, the track hosting it is the Nürburgring (in its GP configuration of 5.137 kms) and the period of the year prone to changing weather conditions. Add an entry of 48 cars and are reunited all the ingredients for a true endurance top rendez-vous, which will yield additional points at the mid-race mark.
The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT started the season in style, winning the season-opener at Imola and the objective is to maintain, or even extend, the advantage the leadership that the squad enjoys in the standings of both the Endurance Cup and the GTWCE standings. The Audi R8 LMS of the Belgian squad are generally at ease in the Eifel track, as proven recently by the success in the ADAC GT Masters, and the objective is to harvest a maximum of heavy points.
The only change in the driver line-ups see Rolf Ineichen, who could not race in Italy, taking his place in the #31 Bio-Circle-livered car, alongside Audi Sport drivers Mirko Bortolotti and Kelvin van der Linde. The other two cars see no changes, with Christopher Mies-Dries Vanthoor-Charles Weerts in car #32 backed by Skechers and Rik Breukers and Stuart Hall accompanying Benjamin Goethe in his home race in car #33.
Rolf Ineichen: "I am very happy to start my season in Endurance Cup, after having to miss the first round at Imola. The guys did a wonderful job, bringing the car to victory, and I hope we can repeat that at the Nürburgring, a track that suits the Audi R8 LMS quite nicely. It will be great to be at the 'Ring for a 6-hour race, it will really have all the ingredients of a true endurance race. I won there in 2016, already with Mirko as one of my team mates, so we have proven we can make it, although the competition this year is going to be very high-level."
Dries Vanthoor: “I love the Nürburgring, where we have always been very competitive and where I have some good memories. Also some bad, but this doesn’t matter… We have done well in the ADAC GT Masters there a few weeks ago and I am sure it is possible to do even better. The objective is to take a maximum of points.”
Charles Weerts: “I look forward to the race, although the Nürburgring is not my favourite track. It is though one that Dries and Chris, my team mates, like very much, and that should help. We can aim at a good weekend and good points, let’s see how things unfold.”
Rik Breukers: “It has been a long break, I haven’t race since Imola and I am very happy to be in the car again. We are fully ready, the team has raced there recently, showing great potential, and we can target a very good result, if we do not suffer incidents and contacts like in Imola. A podium in the Silver Cup and a good result overall are within our reach and that should be the objective.”
The fourth round of the DTM season will bring contenders to Assen, the ‘Cathedral of speed’ in the Dutch Northern province of Drenthe. Assen is part of the calendar since last year and brings the excitement of a relatively different track layout, designed primarily for motorbike racing, with some challenging fast corners. Assen will mark also the return of spectators on the grandstands: respecting all the health prevention measures, 10.000 of them will be allowed every day in the huge grandstands. A novelty worth mentioning under the current circumstances and that will add a warm touch to the event.
For WRT Team Audi Sport, the focus will be on improving the consistency of performance in qualifying, in order to be able to express in race conditions the full pace potential of the squad’s Audi RS 5 DTM which so far could be materialized in good results only in Round 2. Ferdinand Habsburg, Harrison Newey and Fabio Scherer, the three young guns of the team, are more than committed to the goal.
Ferdinand Habsburg: “I love racing in Holland, it always has spectacular crowds and exciting performances which makes it a great all round weekend. And fortunately we get to have some of that excitement for the first time as there will be spectators in the grandstands. I can’t wait to give them a good show with my Audi RS 5 DTM in its beautiful Remus colours!”
Harrison Newey: “It will be first time ever for me at Assen, a new track to learn is always a challenge but also fun. This one, I believe, has a different style of corners, it will be exciting. We can also expect mixed weather conditions, which is something I like because it changes things and the way the car behaves with respect to grip, weight, etc. It also allows people to see the real skills of a driver. It will be nice to see spectators in the grandstands, they will bring new energy to all of us.”
Fabio Scherer: "New tracks are always a new challenge and I love that! On a paper it looks like a fast track with some demanding corners. I think the layout should suit me. We've analysed the last qualifying sessions and we will hopefully make a step forward this weekend. Because the gaps in DTM are very small, a few tenths of a second can make a big difference. In Assen a good starting position is even more important because overtaking will probably not be that easy. It will be a nice feeling to see some fans on the grandstands, and some will travel from Switzerland for the event. This is, of course, additional motivation for me.”
Note: The GTWCE media service has devoted an interesting feature to the role of Team Principal, featuring Vincent Vosse. The article can be read here:
GTWCE Endurance Cup – Round 2
Nürburgring, Germany, 3-6 September 2020
Timetable (all in local time = CET)
Thursday, 3rd September 2020
10:00-10:50 Paid test 1
12:00-12:50 Paid test 2
16:00-16:50 Paid test 2
Friday, 4th September 2020
16:55-17:55 Bronze test
Saturday, 5th September 2020
09:00-10:30 Free Practice
Sunday, 6th September 2020
11:45-17:45 Race (6 hrs)
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entries
#31 Mirko Bortolotti (IT) – Rolf Ineichen (CH) - Kelvin van der Linde (ZA) Pro
#32 Christopher Mies (DE) - Dries Vanthoor (BE) – Charles Weerts (BE) Pro
#33 Rik Breukers (NL) – Benjamin Goethe (DE) – Stuart Hall (GB) Silver
DTM – Round 4
Assen, Netherlands, 4-6 September 2020
Timetable (All times = CET)
Friday 4 September 2020
13:00-13:45 Free Practice 1
15:40-16:10 Free Practice 2
Saturday 5 September 2020
10:40-11:00 Qualifying Race 1
13:33-14:28 + 1 lap Race 1
Sunday 6 September 2020
10:15-10:35 Qualifying Race 2
13:33-14:28 + 1 lap Race 2
WRT Team Audi Sport entries (Audi RS 5 DTM)
#10 Harrison Newey (GB)
#13 Fabio Scherer (CH)
#62 Ferdinand Habsburg (AT)
PHOTO: SRO Motorsports Group, Alexandre Epping de Barros
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