Vanthoor and Ramos Win Baku Qualifying Race, Gotz Seals Sprint Title

#1 WRT - Photo Credit: Brecht Decancq Photography
#1 WRT - Photo Credit: Brecht Decancq Photography

Laurens Vanthoor and Cesar Ramos took victory in the qualifying race at the Baku World Challenge, while Maximilian Gotz secured the Blancpain Sprint Series title.

Pole winner Stephane Ortelli led the race in the early stages from the sister WRT Audi of Vanthoor, including during a lengthy safety car period after several incidents on the street track.

The Grasser Racing Lamborghini of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Hari Proczyk emerged in the lead after the pitstops, but was soon re-passed by the #1 car, now in the hands of Ramos, who would remain ahead until the checkered flag.

Late in the race, the front bodywork of the Lamborghini began to fall apart and the car fell to fourth before being called into the pits for repairs.

That meant the end for the Grasser pair’s title hopes, and that Gotz was champion despite finishing out of the points in ninth place after co-driver Maximilian Buhk sustained damage in contact with a wall.

Taking second, just 1.7 seconds behind the winners, were the Beechdean Aston Martin crew of Andy Soucek and Jonny Adam. The car of Ortelli and fellow Monegasque racer Stephane Richelmi was a distant third ahead of another WRT car driven by Rene Rast and Enzo Ide.

Martin Ragginger and Marco Holzer were fifth in their Schutz Motorsport Porsche, followed by the Phoenix Racing Audi of Markus Winkelhock and Niki Mayr-Melnhof, the Boutsen Ginion McLaren of Chris van der Drift and Frederic Vervisch and the Callaway Corvette of Daniel Keilwitz and Andreas Wirth.

Behind Gotz and Buhk, the top ten was completed by BMW Team Brazil twins Ricardo and Rodrigo Sperafico.