Christopher Mies and Enzo Ide made a lightning quick pitstop in the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT to take a leap on their rivals and claim victory in the main race at the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Brands Hatch.
At the start Bernd Schneider in the #86 HTP Motorsport Mercedes AMG would convert his pole position in to the lead as the 37 strong field charged its way through Paddock Hill Bend up towards Druids and before the end of the first lap at a scorching hot Brands Hatch, Enzo Ide – starting the #33 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS – would get the better of Marlon Stockinger in the ISR Racing Audi and leap up to second place.
However, they both had to watch their backs as Andy Soucek was on a charge in the Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 and having already climbed from 24th to 1oth in the Qualifying Race, he wasn’t prepared to settle for fourth in the Main Race. And indeed the Spaniard soon made his move getting past both Audis to find himself in second place and lurking up towards Schneider for the lead of the race.
But just as the pitstop window opened the top three – Schneider’s Mercedes, Soucek’s Bentley and Ide’s Audi – all jumped in for their mandatory driver change. None though could have predicted the speed at which the Team WRT mechanics changed the tyres and got the R8 back out on track, the team’s speedy stop saw them leap out into the lead.
That said, it wasn’t the best second half of the race for some in the Team WRT camp as a collision between Sergio Jimenez and Michael Meadows in sister R8s caused the deployment of Anthony Coumas in the safety car while the incident was cleared up.
It meant that Christopher Mies, having taken over the #33 Team WRT entry, was having to fend off Jules Szymkowiak in the #86 HTP Mercedes but the Audi man was wise to the Dutchman’s game and as the flag fell Mies crossed the line first with Szymkowiak having to settle for second place after what was a good weekend all round for the team, having won the qualifying race. What was a better result though, was the one for Maxime Soulet in the #8 Bentley Team M-Sport Continental which finished third having started the day’s racing in 24th after a poor qualifying session.
Andy Soucek said: “I did not think we would be able to finish P10 in the first race but it all came together for us this weekend. Clearly qualifying was not our strongest suit but we made it work. Maxime was the man today climbing from P10 to P4 in the initial part of the race before I got in and finished third. His stint was unbelievable. The flip side is I suffered with the used tyres while trying to keep Parente and Perera behind me; they were a bit quicker. I also struggled after the Safety Car period but just focused on making no mistakes and bringing the car home. This is our third podium in as many races, which is mega.”
If it was mega for Soucek, victory was even more mega for Ide who has claimed his first Sprint Cup win sinze Zandvoort 2014. He said: “We had some bad luck last season with penalties but finally I have my first Sprint Cup win with Christopher. There have been podiums but this is something different and special, especially as I am sat here surrounded by fully professional drivers. It is fantastic!”
The next round of the Blancpain GT Series is the Endurance Cup at Silverstone this weekend, the next round of the Sprint Cup is at the Nurburgring at the start of July.