It’s done! The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT brings home two more Blancpain titles, after an incredible Sunday at the Nürburgring, which allowed the Belgian squad to conquer the first two positions in both standings, Drivers’ and Teams’ (where some of the Belgian Audis R8 are entered by Team WRT, as the maximum number of cars per entrant is 3). Robin Frijns and Stuart Leonard are the new champion pair, beating team mates Will Stevens and Markus Winkelhock.
It was an exciting, breath-taking and full of surprises finale at the Nürburgring, with the Mercedes of Buhk-Perera taking a clear advantage towards the title on Saturday, after winning the Qualifying Race, where Dries Vanthoor-Marcel Fässler took third. In the Main Race, a great show by the Audi #5 and the retirement of the Mercedes overturned the situation. It was written, though, that it wasn’t to be for Vanthoor-Fässler, who had to serve a drive-through and leave the title battle to their team mates Stevens-Winkelhock and Leonard-Frijns. The Dutchman on new tires won the final and superb family duel over the German, thus clinching the coveted crown.
Team Principal Vincent Vosse was a relieved and happy man after the event: « I am very happy, it has been a good weekend. To take the first two spots in both the Teams’ and Drivers’ standings, given what was our position when we came here, is a very good result. It has been an intense weekend, with many surprises, but it ended well for us. Clearly, there is some disappointment too, for what happened to car #5. Pit stops have been one of our strengths throughout the season, and here we had one pit stop that did not work well. It had big consequences for Dries and Marcel, who would have deserved the title. I am nevertheless sure Dries who showed incredible speed in the last races will gain soon all the titles he deserves. Eventually, the most important is that the team responded and we were able to win both titles. I want to thank everybody for their excellent job and for having kept their motivation, and also all of our partners, starting from Audi, whose support has been crucial. »
The weekend started well, with the Audis R8 LMS proving competitive and # 5 of Dries Vanthoor-Marcel Fässler topping both free practice sessions, with all the other cars of the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT making it to the top ten in FP2.
Qualifying proved further the competitiveness of the WRT Audis, as Dries Vanthoor took pole, the second in a row after Budapest’s, with a lap time (1.53.532) that beat the best rival by 1 tenth. Leonard-Frijns qualified 7th, with Ide-Vervisch in P14 and Stevens-Winkelhock P20, right ahead of Schothorst-Dennis in P21.
The Qualifying Race started with Dries Vanthoor leading and keeping the advantage throughout the first stint, but an issue with the seat belts and the late pit-stop by the Lamborghini put it in the lead after all driver changes, with Fässler having to concede second to the Mercedes of Buhk. The Bentley also joined a superb 4-way battle, which ended with the Mercedes winning (after a 1