Michal Broniszewski sealed the 2016 Blancpain GT Sports Club Overall Drivers’ title at Spa-Francorchamps this morning after claiming a second victory of the weekend. Elsewhere, Martin Lanting took a step closer to retaining his Iron Cup crown with another over-60s class win.
The 40-minute encounter, run in bright morning sunshine throughout, was essentially decided on the opening lap at La Source when Broniszewski converted pole position into the lead. The Kessel Racing driver was never challenged thereafter thanks to a fast, error-free drive that resulted in a commanding victory.
With chief rival Mario Cordoni scoring just three points this weekend, and Nicolas Vandierendonck not registering enough to challenge, Broniszewski leaves Belgium an unassailable 37 clear with a maximum of just 33 available at Barcelona’s season finale.
The battle for second looked more promising when fellow front row starter Davide Roda lost two places in quick succession to Nicolas Vandierendonck and Alexis De Bernardi. But the Italian’s Renault RS01, which was competing as a balanced Xtra Cup entry for the first time this weekend, proved more than a match for its GTE and GT3 counterparts after fighting back over the opening laps.
De Bernardi was the first to be dispatched before a slipstreaming move through Eau Rouge and Raidillon accounted for Vandierendonck’s Corvette into Les Combes. Roda was never challenged thereafter en route to his second runner-up spot of the weekend, 2.8s clear of the pursuing C6 ZR1.
While De Bernardi completed a trouble-free race in fourth, a terrific fight was developing behind for the lower half of the top-10.
In the end it was Patrick Van Glabeke who fought from 20th on the grid to finish an incredible fifth. The Ferrari 488 GT3 initially cut through the midfield before passing Pierre Hirschi, Stephen Earle and Lanting. Spins for Mario Cordoni and Daniel Vogt – who like Van Glabeke had started out of position in 14th – subsequently gifted the AF Corse driver two more places before the Belgian relieved Anthony Pons of fifth on the final lap.
Lanting was next up after taking advantage of other drivers’ travails while also keeping his own Ferrari’s nose clean throughout a generally frenetic race in the lower half of the top-10. A second Iron Cup victory of the weekend has helped him establish a 11-point lead over main class rival Earle who finished ninth on the road behind Hirschi.
Cordoni, whose late spin exiting the Bus Stop not only dropped him out of sixth but also championship contention, regrouped to complete the top-10 ahead of Christoph Ulrich and Jan Brunstedt, who joined Lanting and Earle on the Iron Cup podium after fighting through from 19th.
The final round of this season’s Blancpain GT Sports Club takes place at Barcelona on October 1/2.
Michal Broniszewski, #11 Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 GT3: “The car was a handful in the dry yesterday because of the wet qualifying and practice sessions, but it was much easier to drive today. I am definitely not as tired! The team have done a fantastic job. I did not have to take any risks, just remain consistent and get to the finish. Of course winning the championship with a weekend to spare feels great but I will not change my approach at the final round. I will always push!