2018
04.05

RACE PREVIEW

> The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT eager to write another nice story in its Brands Hatch book

 

Following a fantastic win in the Blancpain Endurance Cup season-opener at Monza, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is now leading both the Teams’ and Drivers’ standings in the Blancpain GT Series. An excellent position to start the short journey across the Channel: the traditional yearly British tour starts with the second round of the Sprint Cup in iconic Brands Hatch. The season-opener at home at Zolder definitely left a taste of “unfinished job” and the entire team is eager to do well at Brands, a track that has brought many satisfactions in the past. The Belgian Audi Team WRT will be entering three Audis R8 LMS in this event, all of them potential candidates for podium honours.  

 

Brands Hatch, as said, brings good memories to everyone in the team: in the last five years, the Belgian squad has conquered four wins and two pole positions on the legendary track nested in Kent’s green hills.

 

Team Principal Vincent Vosse confirms: “It’s always a pleasure to go back to Brands Hatch, a track that keeps alive the flavor of what was racing in the past. It’s a track that all drivers love and that requires courage, to use a civilized word. I am sure our drivers are anxious to be racing there, and I hope they will have fun, and also that they will stay … on the track. We all know that Brands doesn’t forgive much if you make a mistake… The first Sprint Cup round at Zolder left us with some mixed feelings. It was rewarding to see that we were fast and competitive, but it was also frustrating not to obtain the results that were within our reach. We are definitely determined to correct this. We will be in the UK with our standard 3-car entry, and it’s nice to know that any of the three can aspire to victory.”

 

The only change in the line-ups relates to car #17, where local hero Stuart Leonard will be associated this time with Fred Vervisch, who subs for Robin Frijns, taken by his debut in the DTM. For Leonard, Brands has the extra plus of being his home race: “I am always excited to go to Brands”, says the Londoner, “and even more to do it as the reigning co-champion! It’s a track I feel very comfortable with and, clearly, one of those old-school tracks that give a little extra in terms of pleasure to drive. I even wouldn’t mind the rain, if it comes! It’s always difficult to know what to expect with regard to competitiveness, but we know that the track suits well the Audi. As always, we will have to manage the expectations and do the best possible work in all areas, and I’ll be focusing exclusively on contributing my best. I am happy to be again with Fred, with whom I raced last time at the Nürburgring 24 Hours two years ago, and I am sure that if everything goes OK on track and during the pit stops, we can aim at a good result.”

 

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has not one but two local heroes at Brands: this will be home race also for Will Stevens, who shares car #2 with Dries Vanthoor. “I live very close to the track, so this is really home race”, explains the Brit, “Racing at Brands is always so enjoyable, I love the track, even if it’s a track that leaves no room for mistakes. I took a podium finish in my first year with GT cars there, so I really aim at repeating that, but being on the top step this time. The level of competition is so high and overtaking so difficult at Brands that qualifying will be the key phase: it really can make or break your weekend.”

 

After his magnificent performance at Monza, Dries Vanthoor is happy to go to another exciting ‘playground’ as Brands: “It was nice to start the Endurance Cup the way we did”, reckons the young Belgian, “and it is nice to be leading the Blancpain overall standings. Brands will be important to keep that advantage and improve our position in the Sprint Cup. It’s a track with high-speed corners but not long straights, so it suits our car and we know we can do well. Again, qualifying will be crucial. It’s always better to start from the front, it spares you a lot of trouble!”

 

In car #1, Christopher Mies and Álex Riberas will also benefit from the boost that the success they shared with Vanthoor at Monza has brought. “I was not expecting to be successful since my second outing with the team”, reckons the young Spaniard, “I am still discovering all the secrets of the Blancpain GT Series, but what I realized already is that it is so closely-fought between so many contenders that even the smallest detail counts and that to win requires perfect planning since free practice. It’s what happened in Monza, and doing well at Brands will require the same, although the track is more suitable to the Audis. For me, there will be the additional challenge of having to learn a track where I have never raced. I have been preparing that as much as one can, but with the event spanning over only two days, making an optimal use of available track time will be a must-do.”

 

The Brands Hatch weekend will indeed have a two-day format, with practice and qualifying on Saturday and the two races on Sunday: Race 1 will start at 12:00 and Race 2 at 16:30 (UK time). 

 

Blancpain Sprint Cup – Round 2
Brands Hatch, United Kingdom, 4-6 May 2018

 

Timetable (all in local time = CET-1)

 

Saturday 5th May 2018
09:30-10:30 Free Practice 1
12:30-13:30 Free Practice 2
16:00-16:50 Qualifying

 

Sunday 6th May 2018
12:00-13:00 Race 1
16:30-17:30 Race 2

 

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entries

# 1 Álex Riberas (E) – Christopher Mies (D)
# 2 Dries Vanthoor (B) – Will Stevens (GB)
#17 Stuart Leonard (GB) – Fred Vervisch (B)


Provisional Blancpain Sprint Cup Drivers’ standings after Round 1 of 5:

1. K.Van der Linde-S.Schothorst                                              24 points

2. Bortolotti-Engelhart                                                               20.5

3. Marciello-Meadows                                                              14

    Pérez Companc-Caldarelli                                                    14

5. Vanthoor-Stevens                                                               13

6. Frijns-Stevend                                                                     12

7. Riberas-Mies                                                                          9.5

9. Picariello-Magnus                                                                 7.5

 

Provisional Blancpain Sprint Cup Teams’ standings after Round 1 of 5:

1. GTR Grasser RT                                                                  27 points

2. Attempto Racing                                                                   26

3. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT                                          20.5

4. Akka ASP                                                                             19.5

5. Kessel Racing                                                                      10.5

    Saintéloc                                                                               10.5

 

Provisional Blancpain GT Series Drivers’ standings after Round 2 of 10:

1. Vanthoor                                                                              38 points

2. Riberas-Mies                                                                        34.5

3. Engelhart-Bortolotti                                                               32.5

4. K.Vander Linde-S.Schothorst                                               32

5. Caldarelli                                                                               26

7. Frijns-Leonard                                                                     18

11. Stevens                                                                              13

15. Picariello-Magnus                                                               7.5

 

Provisional Blancpain GT Series Teams’ standings after Round 25 of 10:

1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT                                          45.5 points

2. GRT Grasser RT                                                                  39

3. Attempto Racing                                                                   34

4. Akka ASP                                                                             23.5

5. Strakka Racing                                                                     18

 

More info on the Blancpain series, live timing and live commented TV streaming of each race on www.blancpain-gt-series.com

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