2015 Blancpain Sprint Brands Hatch – qualifying race and main race
The interesting thing about Blancpain GT championship is qualifying race just before the main race on Sundays. The qualifying race comes after regular qualifying sessions (1&2&3) and lasts for a full hour just as main race. So, the second round of Blancpain Sprint series on famous Brands Hatch circuit had advantage of great weather that suited the all drivers. The temperature was around 18 degrees and there wasn’t rain whole weekend which helped the drivers and the audience.
The qualifying race was held just before the noon on Sunday and you could say it was mirror image of qualifying session No3. This means that Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Frijns dominated the Qualifying Race for the Brands Hatch round of the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series in their Audi R8 LMS Ultra. The rest of the grid was almost the same as they were in qualifying. Here are the results:
So, the pole position of the main race was occupied by Audi and the second was BMW Z4 of BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil. The Nissan of Sean Walkinshaw and Craig Dolby is third and the three of fastest cars and drivers are in the first part of the grid. Kevin Estre in McLaren 650S GT3 on 5th place was ready to jump on drivers in front. Knowing the Brands Hatch track, it is best to start first and hold your position as long as you can, hoping that the guy in front will make mistake. However, the main race started in 15:25 CET with fantastic rolling start. There wasn’t any accidents on start, however, one of Bentleys (No 83) had a little off track excursion after the third corner but had rejoined the race on last place.
Kevin Estre was 4th after the start behind the Audi on first and two BMWs on 2nd and 3rd place. His McLaren 650S GT3 was attacking BMW on 3rd place, while BMW’s driver Caca Bueno was guarding his position. However, after 10 laps into the race, Caca Bueno made a mistake which allowed Kevin Estre to pass him and get on the third place. In a few laps he was behind the second BMW driver, Atila Abreu. Estre was driving aggressive but very good with few fastest laps. Very soon, Abreu has made a mistake and Estre was there to exploit that. So, Estre was second in McLaren and two BMW’s that he passed was third and fourth. Around half of the race, when the pit window was open for drivers change, Audi from 1st place went to pits and leave Estre clean space to set fastest laps and gain some ground. However, in a 2 laps, Estre went to pits and Rob Bell has set in his McLaren and joins the race in 3rd position after a slow pit stop. But, after the pit stops and driver changes, Audi had over 10 seconds advantage over BMW on second and McLaren on third place.
However, after the pit stops and drivers change, the race calmed down and there wasn’t any significant on track battles, except Nick Catsburg in Lamborghini who climb two places to fifth. The Audi of Laurens Vanthoor keept its first place with over 19 seconds over the BMW on second and McLaren on third place. When the checkered flag was flown, this was overall result. Audi first, BMW second, McLaren third, BMW fourth and Lamborghini fifth. The deserved winner was Laurens Vanthoor with perfect driving and pace troughout the race. However, we must not forget the fantastic performance by Kevin Estre who really made this race interesting.