Audi Dominate with Winkelhock and Stevens Taking Zolder Win

by Connor Jackson

A trouble-free start and quick pit stop saw the #2 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS take the win in the main Zolder race for the Blancpain GT Sprint Cup. German driver Markus Winkelhock would hound the leader in the opening half as Will Stevens managed the gap, despite a late safety car, to take the flag.

It was another controversial start with second place Michael Meadows a car length ahead of the polesitter, inheriting a comfortable lead as the field negotiated the first corner. The AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG was quick to break away with yesterday’s winner Stuart Leonard having a shocking getaway and dropping to fourth.

Leonard in the Team WRT would struggle to keep up, falling behind the top three as teammate Winkelhock in the #2 hounded the #5 ISR Audi driven by Clemens Schmid for second.

It would soon become the battle for the lead as Meadows was given two drive through penalties for a jump-start and being on the jacks within three minutes of the green flag. Elsewhere, a strong points position was thrown away by Antonio Felix Da Costa as the #99 Rowe Racing BMW M6 was spun by Marcel Fassler in the #5 Team WRT Audi.

As the pit window opened, all eyes were on the leading duo, as well as Leonard, who was holding off a queue of four cars.

A terrible stop from the #75 ISR saw Filip Salaquarda come out in second behind Will Stevens in the #2 Audi that had been hounding them before the changeover. Meanwhile Robin Frijns took over in the #17 Audi from Leonard, immediately setting the fastest lap.

Frijns was on a mission as Dries Vanthoor in the #5 Team WRT made it an Audi 1-2-3-4 with the #88 AKKA ASP dropping to sixth.

In an attempt to get back his position, Daniel Juncadella in the #88 weaved behind the #86 AKKA, hitting the back of his teammate and bringing out the Full Course Yellow, as the #86 smashed into the barrier. Juncadella was given a 90 second penalty.

A safety car was later called, with Stevens leading away for one final racing lap. His lead would be secured though, as a backmarker split him and second place Salaquarda.

Frijns would pressure for second on the final lap, but the qualifying race winner settled for third, with Vanthoor following him home to secure fourth. The late incident with the Mercedes promoted the #7 Team M-Sport Bentley to fifth and #84 Team HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG to sixth.

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