Blancpain GT Series Zandvoort – race
The last race of the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series was held on 13:00 CET in Zandvoort, Netherlands and the season finale was very interesting and suspense since the last week’s race in Misano was a game changer in many ways. First, championship leader Laurens Vanthoor wasn’t in Zandvoort because of his injuries. Second, his team mate Robin Frijns started from 15th after the incident on yesterday’s qualifying race. And third, Norbert Siedler, fourth in the driver standings has not started on Sunday’s race because his Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 has died during the warm up before the main race and Rinaldi Team decided to retire. So, it looked like all main teams had bad luck except for Bentley who were in lead in the championship and on pole position.
The flying start was messy since just moments after the cars stared accelerating, two BMW Z4 GT3 from Brasilian BMW Team were involved in an accident and cars went to a spin. One of yellow BMWs had been badly damaged when it hit the wall but the other car managed to continue the race. Safety car went on the track in first lap and minutes later, the race restarted. In a bizarre turn of events, Marco Bonanomi, Audi driver has passed Vincent Abril in Bentley in what looked like passing under yellow flag but in fact, Bonanomi was just very fast and managed to react faster than Abril. However, Abril managed to pass him in few laps time with a legitimate move and took the first place. Cristopher Mies, who started from 15th, used the messy start to advance as much as he could and after few laps found himself on fourth place and back in the battle for championship. By 10th lap, it was sole Bentley in front of four Audis.
The pit window was opened after 25 minutes of the race allowing the drivers change. The Bentley with Vincent Abril was in front around 5 seconds in front of rest of the grid. Interestingly, Cristopher Mies managed to pass 2 Audis and found himself on second place, with better chance for a podium finish then when he started from 15th place. The Bentley team pitted early and Audi was right behind him. Maxi Buhk was behind the wheel of the leading Bentley and Robin Frijns was in the Audi. Bentley’s pit stop went perfect but Audi was few seconds late, so Bentley went on the track earlier and kept its lead. The Bentley’s lead was around 5 seconds when it came to the pits but was under 2 seconds when it returned to the track.
In second half of the race, Robin Frijns pushed hard and managed to be just behind the leading Bentley of Maxi Buhk. The Audi R8 LMS Ultra proved to be good in braking and in turns. However, Bentley Continental GT3 was dominant on straights because of all the torque of its biturbo V8 engine. Two laps before the finish, Frijns was very close but not close enough to attack Buhk. As the drivers entered into last lap, it was obvious that Audi couldn’t catch the Bentley and Maxi Buhk was first who saw the checkered flag on the finish, thus becoming the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series champion with Vincent Abril! Superb performance from him, his teammate and whole Bentley team in an interesting and exciting season. For full results, click HERE: