Bentley Scores First Blancpain Sprint Series Win in Moscow

by Peter Allen
Blancpain Sprint Series

Bentley and its Continental GT3 racer scored a first victory in the Blancpain Sprint Series at Moscow Raceway thanks to Maximilian Buhk and Vincent Abril.

Nicky Catsburg and Albert von Thurn und Taxis had won the qualifying race from pole position in their Reiter Engineering Lamborghini, but a superb start to the main race from Abril propelled the HTP Motorsport Bentley into the lead from third on the grid.

Multi-car contact behind him at the first corner eliminated Thurn und Taxis and the BMW Team Brazil entry of Caca Bueno that had started third.

Abril built a gap up front as second place changed hands, with Marco Seefried in his Rinaldi Racing Ferrari passing the other Brazilian Z4 of Valdeno Brito.

The Ferrari would lose time in the pitstops, helping Buhk to secure victory by seven seconds over the opposition.

“I quickly had a good gap to the cars behind, so I could fully focus on my driving,” said Abril.

“I did not look in the mirror once. The Bentley was fantastic, the team did excellent work and Maxi finished the job. I am so happy with this first win.”

Markus Winkelhock jumped up into second place during the pitstops in the Phoenix Racing Audi that he was driving by himself, but later lost the place to a drive-through penalty for an unsafe release.

Atila Abreu therefore inherited second place in the BMW, holding off Norbert Siedler in the Ferrari.

“It proved very difficult to overtake the BMW,” said the Austrian. “At the end of the straight I always was just a couple of metres short to outbrake Atila.

“But this was still a good weekend for us. Second in the qualifying race, third in the main race, I think a win is certainly possible in the near future.”

Championship leaders Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Frijns had a tough round after their perfect weekends at Brands Hatch and Zolder, with Vanthoor sustaining a puncture to his WRT Audi on the first lap of the qualifying race and eventually retiring.

The Belgian-Dutch pair fought their way back up to fourth but Vanthoor spun before the end, dropping the car to fifth behind the sister machine of Stephane Richelmi and Stephane Ortelli.

Despite his penalty, Winkelhock finished on Vanthoor’s tail in sixth ahead of the car of Enzo Ide and Christopher Mies that contributed to the first corner incident, while James Nash and Frank Stippler completed a string five consecutive Audis across the line.

Kevin Estre and Rob Bell were ninth in their McLaren and Jules Szymkowiak and debutant Max van Splunteren 10th in the second HTP Bentley.

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