Sunday, June 2, 2013

BES: Strong second and third for Belgian Audi Club Team WRT at Silverstone

By Tarek Ramchani

The second round of the Blancpain Endurance Series race at Silverstone was a thrilling one today. An impressive field of GT3 machines in all three classes. The Audi squad did really well with four R8 LMS ultra cars finishing within the top 10.

The three-hour endurance event saw great battles on track right from the start. In the first hour the full factory Aston Martin Racing Vantage and a semi-works Nissan GT-R pulled away in front. Both Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra were chasing from further back. The Belgian cars were all in the top 10 during the first hour, with an impressive stint from Rahel Frey. After the first wave of pit stops, both the #1 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Laurens Vanthoor and the sister #13 of Frank Stippler, battled hard against each other for second overall. No team orders at Team WRT and Vanthoor managed to pass his teammate after multiple attempts. Upfront no one was able to challenge the dominate Prodrive managed Vantage GT3. In the last hour Rene Rast took over from Laurens Vanthoor and push hard, trying to catch the Aston Martin. It was not enough, and the German driver finished second.

The #1 Audi shared by Stéphane Oretlli, Laurens Vanthoor and René RastThe scored vital points, finishing second after a difficult opener at Monza. The #13 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Frank Stippler, Edward Sandstrom and Christopher Mies ended in a very strong third. The #2 Audi of Rahel Frey, Matt Halliday and Niki Mayr-Melnhof finished in eighth position.

The first of the Phoenix Racing cars finished in ninth, with the #16 Audi R8 LMS ultra of Enzo Ide, Anthony Kumpen and Markus Winkelhock. Their teammates Harold Primat, Oliver Jarvis and Christopher Haase finished in twelfth place. The #6 Audi recovered very well after a very hard first hour with two spins from Harold Primat.

The next round of the Blancpain Endurance Series will take place in France, at the Paul Ricard Circuit.

Photo credit: Blancpain Endurance Series