By Tarek Ramchani
The Blancpain Endurance Series is heading to southern France this weekend, round three of the 2014 season at the Paul Ricard Circuit. The Audi Sport customer racing squad will be very well represented with no less than eight Audi R8 LMS ultra cars.
In the upper Pro-Cup class, four Audi R8 LMS ultra will fight for the outright win. In the opening two rounds of the series Audi cars finished second at Monza with Sainteloc Racing and third at Silverstone with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. At Paul Ricard the target will be a first victory this season in a very demanding field.
The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will field two cars. The #1 Audi in the hands of Marc Basseng, Cesar Ramos and Laurens Vanthoor. The sister #2 Audi will be driven by James Nash, Frank Stippler and Christopher Mies.
Sainteloc Racing will be back with a single car effort in Pro-Cup. Their #26 Audi R8 LMS ultra will have a strong driver line-up with Stéphane Ortelli, Edward Sandström and Grégory Guilvert.
The fourth effort is coming from the Chinese team Brothers Racing Team. The Absolute Racing run #55 Audi R8 LMS ultra will be shared by Zheng Sun, Congfu Cheng and Andre Couto.
No Audi entries in the Pro-Am class, all the remaining four R8 LMS ultra cars will compete in the Gentleman Trophy class.
As it is the case in Pro-Cup, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT will field two cars in the class open to gentlemen and amateur drivers. The #2 R8 LMS ultra with Stéphane Pourquie, Harry Teneketzian and Grégoire Chaix. The sister #4 machine will be shared by Jean-Luc Blanchemain, Yves Weerts and Pierre Hirschi.
Team Parker Racing from the UK will enter their #22 Audi R8 LMS ultra with drivers Ian Loggie, Chris Jones and Julian Westwood.
Sainteloc Racing completes the Audi entries in the class with the #25 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Claude-Yves Gosselin, Jean-Claude Lagniez and Marc Sourd.
The three-hour race is set for Saturday with a night time finish. The Paul Ricard round will be the final one before the demanding and stellar event in the Blancpain Endurance Series calendar, the Spa 24 Hours.
Photo credit: Blancpain GT Series