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Blancpain Sprint Series: Main Race, Vanthoor & Frijns’ Winning Streak Extends To Four

The dominance continued for Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Frijns who won this afternoon’s Main Race at Zolder – the duo in the #1 WRT Audi R8 have now won four straight in the Sprint Series. It was a repeat performance from the championship leaders who like yesterday, led the race from start to finish.

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“I got the car in the perfect position,” said a jubilant Vanthoor after the race. “I jokingly said to Robin to give me the car with a 10-second lead and he did. It’s a great feeling for the whole team, winning both races at home. The last few years the team have improved so much, and so have I.”

Once again Vanthoor and Frijns made it look easy, with all the drama occurring behind them. The start wasn’t clean, with the field bunched up going into Turn 1 Vincent Abril’s #84 HTP Bentley tapped Marco Seefried’s second place Rinaldi Ferrari into a spin. It was a very disappointing way to end the weekend for the German team who had the pace to challenge the #1 WRT Audi with its 458 throughout the meeting.

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“I just wanted to get to the racing line because I couldn’t pass Robin to take the lead, and at that moment I got hit in the back,” explained Seefried. “It’s really disappointing, it’s the first time we’ve been really strong and we wanted to play it safe.”

Vincent Abril was also voiced his opinion of the incident after the race:

“In the situation, the contact wasn’t avoidable. It was 50/50, I went up the inside after a good start and he blocked me, I didn’t like that too much. He slowed a bit early too, so I had no choice but to make contact. I feel sorry for them, it’s not how I race, it was a racing incident.”

With the Rinaldi Ferrari out of the running, the scrap for second place was between the #77 Brasil BMW of Atila Abreu, Christopher Mies’ #2 WRT Audi and Abril’s Continental. The trio ran close together for the opening laps until Mies made the move to snatch second off Abreu by selling him the dummy at Turn 1, driving round the outside of the Z4 into Turn 2.

Mies’ efforts would all be nullified though, as a drive-through penalty was handed out to the #2 car by race control for a jump start just before the pit-window opened. It later went from bad from worse as Enzo Ide spun the car into the at Turn 3 before retiring the car.

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Second place was yet to be decided when Mies served his penalty though, as the HTP crew mustered up a pit stop quick enough to get the #84 out in front of the #77 when Max Buhk climbed into the car to take it to the flag. Upon getting in, Buhk pulled away from the #77 but was unable to match Vanthoor’s pace. Towards the end of the race Vanthoor’s lead was as much as 13 seconds before he backed off a little and left Buhk to finish second.

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The other Brasil BMW of Caca Bueno and Sergio Jimenez came home fourth after tussling with the #83 HTP Bentley early in the race. Phoenix Racing took the #83’s fifth place after it slipped back during the stops. It was another quiet race for Markus Winkelhock and Niki Mayr-Melnhof who once again moved up the order in the pit.

Attempto Racing’s #55 McLaren 650 and the #4 WRT Audi R8 had a tough time after incident at the start of the Qualifying Race. The #4 didn’t take the start with the damage deemed unrepairable overnight and the #55 retired early as Kevin Estre parked the car after just five laps.

Race Result >>

Next on the Sprint Series calendar is the round on the Streets of Moscow on the 4th and 5th of July.

Stephen Kilbey