Stephane Ortelli Claims Pole at 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series opener

WRT Audi

Stephane Ortelli triumphed in the first qualifying session of the Blancpain Sprint Series season at Nogaro.

The veteran topped the Q3 shootout with his first flying lap in the #3 WRT Audi he shares with namesake and fellow Monegasque racer Stephane Richelmi.

“It’s good to start the season with a pole position, but I have to admit I did not really expect that,” said Ortelli.

“The team did an amazing job in between the sessions to adapt the car to the conditions, and I gave it my all to beat these guys. I love the level of competition in these series and it is a nice feeling to be able to compete with them.” 

The sister #1 car of Blancpain GT champion Laurens Vanthoor will miss the rest of the weekend after GT newcomer Robin Frijns crashed in Q1 at the final corner, spinning into the inside wall and damaging the chassis beyond immediate repair.

The closest driver to Ortelli in Q3 was Maxime Martin, who is making a one-off appearance with fellow factory BMW racer Dirk Muller in one of the Brazilian-entered Z4s. The team’s regular four drivers are all competing in Brazilian Stock Cars this weekend.

Reigning BSS champion Maximilian Buhk claimed third in HTP Motorsport‘s new Bentley, which he shares with Vincent Abril.

Markus Winkelhock put his and Niki Mayr-Melnhof‘s Phoenix Racing Audi onto the second row in P4 ahead of the #4 WRT entry of Frank Stippler, with James Nash.

Craig Dolby took a strong sixth in the MRS Nissan, in which he is joined by Sean Walkinshaw, and another WRT Audi was seventh in the hands of Christopher Mies, sharing with Enzo Ide.

F3 convert Jules Szymkowiak had an impressive session in the second HTP Bentley and claimed eighth for himself and team-mate Olivier Lombard.

Completing the top ten was the sole Porsche of Fach Auto Tech qualified by Martin Ragginger (sharing with Marco Wagner) and the Reiter Engineering Lamborghini of Nick Catsburg and his co-driver Albert von Thurn und Taxis.

Nogaro Qualifying Times

13Stephane Ortelli/Stephane RichelmiBelgian Audi Club Team WRT1m24.732s
277Maxime Martin/Dirk MullerBMW Team Brasil1m24.821s
384Vincent Abril/Maximilian BuhkBentley Team HTP1m24.918s
46Nikolaus Mayr-Melnhof/Markus WinkelhockPhoenix Racing1m24.931s
54James Nash/Frank StipplerBelgian Audi Club Team WRT1m24.964s
673Craig Dolby/Sean WalkinshawMRS GT-Racing1m25.136s
72Enzo Ide/Christopher MiesBelgian Audi Club Team WRT1m25.355s
883Olivier Lombard/Jules SzymkowiakBentley Team HTP1m25.563s
9911Martin Ragginger/Marcel WagnerFach Auto Tech1m25.675s
1088Nick Catsburg/Albert von Thurn und TaxisReiter Engineering1m25.679s
110Ricardo Sperafico/Rodrigo SperaficoBMW Team Brasil1m26.145s
12333Marco Seefried/Norbert SiedlerRinaldi Racing1m26.186s
1375Marco Bonanomi/Filip SalaquardaISR Racing1m26.284s
1455Rob Bell/Kevin EstreAttempto Racing1m26.301s
1574Anders Fjordbach/Thomas FjordbachISR Racing1m26.329s
1671Aleksey Vasilyev/Christophe BouchetGT Russian Team1m26.764s
1770Aleksey Karachev/Bernd SchneiderGT Russian Team1m28.228s
1854Yoshiharu Mori/Philipp WlazikAttempto Racing1m29.910s
191Robin Frijns/Laurens VanthoorBelgian Audi Club Team WRTNo Time