GT World Challenge

WRT Audi secures Double Pole For Blancpain Sprint Series Opener

1 Mins read
Dries Vanthoor secured pole for Race one in the opening round of the Blancpain Sprint Series at Zolder. Credit: Dirk Bogaerts Photography.

The WRT Audi squad secured pole position for both races of the opening round of the Blancpain Sprint Series at Zolder.

The duo of Dries Vanthoor and Will Stevens in the #2 Audi R8 LMS will start the first race from pole, while Robin Frijns and Stuart Leonard in the #17 machine secured pole for the second race.

Yet the Belgian Audi team faced tough competition from reigning Blancpain GT champions, the #63 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, which lines up second for both races.

Audi’s pace at Zolder was backed up as the #1 WRT Audi of series debutante Alex Riberas and the #66 Attempto Racing Audi of Kelvin van der Linde lining up third for both races.

Vanthoor, who grew up a stone’s throw from the circuit, was thoroughly pleased with his qualifying effort of 1 minute 28.560 seconds, beating Christian Engelhart by 0.170 seconds.

“I don’t think I’ve ever been that happy with a pole lap,” said Vanthoor.

“It’s great to be on pole with so many friends and family here,” he added.

“It’s nice to have people here, to feel their support, but I don’t go quicker or slower – it’s just good fun!”

His team-mate Frijns, was beat Mirko Bortolotti by 0.211 seconds to grab pole, however was cautious about WRT’s chances in the race.

“We have good qualifying pace, yeah, but I’m not so sure about race pace,” explained Frijns.

“It looks like Mercedes might be quicker than us, but we will see.”

In Pro-am the TP 12-Kessel Racing Ferrari 488 pairing of Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo van Dam were dominant, with both drivers  securing pole in their respective sessions.

Van Dam’s performance in the second session was especially eye-catching, as he secured fifth overall in qualifying 2, only 0.477 seconds off pole.

“This isn’t really our strongest circuit, but the car was handling well today,” explained Van Dam.

“It was tricky because of a few red flags. I had one clean lap but managed to put it on pole for our class and P5 overall, so I’m pleased.”

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Sports Car and GT writer. Perhaps being named after James Hunt and Murray Walker (first and middle names) might have something to do with how I have always been motorsport obsessed. After failing to get int racing, I might as well write about it.
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