Bentley and Audi victorious at the start of the Blancpain GT Series
Blancpain GT Series has started with a Sprint Cup event at Misano World Circuit. The winners of the season-opening races are Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet on Saturday and Frederic Vervisch and Laurens Vanthoor on Sunday.
Surprising win for Bentley Team
Even after being ninth on the starting grid, Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet of Bentley Team M-Sport won the Qualifying race on their debut in the series. They managed to beat a much-experienced pair of Rowe Racing drivers, Alexander Sims and Philipp Eng in BMW, by almost three seconds. Their second place is another surprise knowing they started from 30th position. Third place in the opening race was won by Laurens Vanthoor and Frederic Vervisch, a pair of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers who started this race from pole position.
Tires choice at the start of the race proved to be crucial as the track was partially wet, so those who made the wrong choice dropped 10 or more place soon after the start. With nearly 40 cars on track, a dry line quickly formed and allowed those on slicks to make progress again.
Belgians fastest on Sunday
The Main race on Sunday and on the dry track also was exciting, with favorites battling on the top right after the start. Rowe Racing car #99 again was in charge, followed by #1 of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, ISR Racing’s #75 and AKKA ASP’s Mercedes #88. After the drivers change Audi #1 took the lead with a solid advantage ahead of HTP’s Mercedes #84 Rowe’s BMW.
Laurens Vanthoor calmly kept the lead till the end of the race after never really being put under pressure. Maxi Buhk finished second in HTP’s Mercedes while Felix Rosenqvist of AKKA ASP did a great job to overtake Rowe’s Alexander Sims. But, a minute before the end of the race, Rosenqvist retired after technical problems and Sims clinched the last place at the podium.
Next round of Blancpain GT Series will go on in two weeks at Monza with an Endurance Cup event.