Saturday, June 28, 2014

Blancpain Endurance Series: Top 10 finish for Audi teams in the Paul Ricard night race

By Tarek Ramchani

After an unlucky qualifying session the Audi teams faced a mixed race in the Paul Ricard night race, round 3 of the Blancpain Endurance Series.

After three hours of racing two Audi R8 LMS ultra cars made it into the Top 10 overall. Before the start of the race the Audi teams we aware it will be hard to fight for race win even with strong teams and drivers line-ups. The Audi R8 LMS ultra suffered an obvious lack of top speed compared to their rivals in the very long straights of the French circuit. The Pro-Cup Audis were in a mission, battle for top spots and collect big points.

The #26 Audi from Sainteloc Racing finished the race in a solid fifth place. The car shared by Stéphane Ortelli, Edward Sandstrom and Gregory Gulivert had a solid race and battled very well in a great quality field.

The #3 R8 LMS ultra from the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT charged back and was able to improve from P14 to a seventh place and sixth within the Pro-Cup class. The car was driven by Christopher Mies, James Nash and Frank Stippler.

Their team-mates Laurens Vanthoor, Cesar Ramos and Marc Basseng ended in thirteenth place with their #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra from Belgian Audi Club.

The #55 Audi from the Chinese Brothers Racing Team finished the race in sixteenth place with drivers Zheng Sun, Congfu Cheng and Andre Coutow.

The remaining four Audi R8 LMS ultra entries competed in the Gentlemen Trophy class. The #4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT was twenty-seventh, the #25 Sainteloc Racing was thirtieth, the #22 Team Parker Racing was thirty-fourth and the #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT was thirty-ninth.

The overall race win went the factory #7 Bentley Continental GT3 from M-Sport Team Bentley. Second place went to the #98 McLaren MP4-12C from ART Grand Prix. Third place for the #85 Mercedes-Benz SLS AMG GT3 from HTP Motorsport.

The Paul Ricard round was the last race in Blancpain Endurance Series before the stellar event of the series, the prestigious Spa 24 Hours.

Photo credit: Belgian Audi Club