2018
30.08

RACE PREVIEW

> The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT to defend Sprint Cup double leadership at the Hungaroring

 

Summer holidays are over for the Blancpain GT Series community, but no doubt that the atmosphere will still be warm and pleasant in the outskirts of beautiful Budapest this weekend, as the Sprint Cup contenders gather for the fourth round of the season. With only one other event left after this one, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has a clear mission: to retain and possibly increase the advantage it enjoys on both of the Drivers’ and Teams’ standings of the Sprint Cup, with an eye also towards the situation in the Blancpain GT Series overall standings, where the Belgian squad and Álex Riberas-Christopher Mies are in the same position, although with a smaller gap after the Total 24 Hours of Spa.
Like in the previous Sprint Cup round at Misano Adriatico, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will enter four Audis R8 LMS in Hungary. Alongside Riberas-Mies and Dries Vanthoor-Will Stevens, Adrien De Leener-Ricardo Feller will perform a second outing, entered in the Silver cup, while Robin Frijns will be back alongside Stuart Leonard in car #17.

 

Post-summer activity has in fact already resumed for the team, as it was present last weekend with two cars at the Suzuka 10 Hours, part of the Intercontinental GT Challenge, where it took closely-fought 4th and 9th spots. Back from Japan, Team Principal Vincent Vosse reflected: “Suzuka was an exciting race, with a thrilling finale. We took an excellent 4th position, only 2 seconds behind the second, and proved competitive. Now our focus is back to the Blancpain GT Series, and to Hungary, where last year we did very well, winning both races and collecting two other podium finishes. There is no reason why we shouldn’t be competitive in a track that suits our cars, but we’ll need to see how the latest, and significant, changes introduced to the Balance of Performance will play for us. We go to the Hungaroring fully determined to do our best, as always, and to collect as many as points possible.”

 

For Alex Riberas and Christopher Mies, the two drivers of car #1, things start to look good in the Sprint Cup standings, as they have a 22-point advantage over their closest rival. A good result in Hungary could get them very close to the title, although Mies refuses to speculate much on the situation. “We are not into sophisticated strategizing”, explains the German driver, “We’ll go for the best possible result and not refrain from fighting. That’s always the best approach. I expect us to be ok at the Hungaroring as in the past and I expect the team to be at the highest level, especially at pit stops. It is up to Álex and me to do equally well. We form a very balanced and consistent pair, with very similar level and driving style.”

 

In car #2, Dries Vanthoor and Will Stevens will certainly be in ‘flat-out’ mode, as their personal chances in the championship have slimmed considerably. Back from Suzuka, Dries Vanthoor admits: “It’s a very long journey, but I will be totally fit for the Hungaroring and I enjoyed a lot Suzuka, which is a terrific track”. The young Belgian continues: “I have high expectations for the Hungaroring round. We have always been strong there, and as we don’t have much to lose with respect to the championship, Will and I will definitely go for it! We want to bring the team a very good result.”

 

In car #17, Robin Frijns will reunite with Stuart Leonard at this event, and the reigning Sprint Cup champion pair is eager to do well, after Leonard lost the leadership in the sprint cup at the last round in Misano. For Frijns, who shone last weekend in the DTM precisely on the Italian track, going back and forward from DTM cars and GTs poses no issue: “When you know well the cars, you adjust quickly, after a few laps of free practice”, explains the Dutchman, “The race format is pretty similar, sprint races, so it is full-attack anyway! For me, it is always a pleasure to drive for WRT, it is such a good team and you know you’ll always be fighting up-front. I’m confident it will be so at the Hungaroring, which is a good track for the Audis, although one with too many corners to my liking…”

 

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will again have a car present in the Silver Cup, #3, as Adrien De Leener and Ricardo Feller are contending the second half of the season. The Belgian and the young Swiss had a very positive debut at Misano, scoring their first half-point and aim at repeating solid races and at climbing the ladder further.   

 

The Hungaroring weekend is structured on a 3-day format, with free practice on Friday, qualifying and Race 1 (at 14:45) on Saturday and Race 2 kicking-off on Sunday at 15:30.

 

Blancpain Sprint Cup – Round 4
Hungaroring, Mogyoród, Hungary, 1st – 2nd September 2018

Timetable (all in local time = CET)

 

Friday 31st August 2018
11:10-12:30 Free Practice 1
15:25-16:45 Free Practice 2

 

Saturday 1st September 2018
09:40-10:30 Qualifying
14:45-15:45 Race 1

 

Sunday 2nd September 2018
15:30-16:30 Race 2

 

Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entries

# 1 Álex Riberas (E) – Christopher Mies (D)
# 2 Dries Vanthoor (B) – Will Stevens (GB)
#3 Adrien de Leener (B) – Ricardo Feller (CH) Silver Cup
#17 Stuart Leonard (GB) – Robin Frijns (NL)
 

Provisional Blancpain Sprint Cup Drivers’ standings after Round 3 of 5:

1. Riberas-Mies 66.5 points

2. Marciello-Meadows 44.5

3. Leonard 43.5

4. K. vander Linde-S.Schothorst 43

5. Vanthoor-Stevens 42.5

8. Vervisch 25

12. Frijns 12

11. Picariello-Magnus 7.5

23. De Leener-Feller 0.5

 

Provisional Blancpain Sprint Cup Teams’ standings after Round 3 of 5:

1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT 88.5 points

2. Akka ASP 62.5

3. Attempto Racing 57

4. GRT Grasser RT 54.5

5. Saintéloc 42

 

Provisional Blancpain GT Series Drivers’ standings after Round 7 of 10:

1. Riberas-Mies 103.5 points

2. Marciello 92.5

3. Vanthoor 79.5

4. K.Vander Linde 79

5. S.Schothorst 51

8. Leonard 49.5

10. Vervisch 43

12. Stevens 42.5

14. S. vander Linde 40.5

25. Frijns 26

48. N.Müller-Rast 8

50. Picariello-Magnus 7.5

 

Provisional Blancpain GT Series Teams’ standings after Round 7 of 10:

1. Belgian Audi Club Team WRT 138.5 points

2. Akka ASP 116.5

3. Emil Frey Racing 86.5

4. Saintéloc 74

5. GRT Grasser RT 70.5

 

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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