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Blancpain Zolder: van der Linde and Schothorst take victory – GT

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Attempto Audi drivers Kelvin van der Linde and Steijn Schothorst started the 2018 Blancpain Sprint Cup season with a victory in the main race at Zolder.

Saturday race winners Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti were on pole position for the second event, with the latter establishing a comfortable seven-second lead in the first stint.

But when Bortolotti stopped with 34 mins to go to hand over driving duties to Engelhart, their #63 Grasser Lamborghini stalled in the pitbox for several seconds before it finally got going again.

To make matters worse, the defending Blancpain Endurance champions were handed a drive-through penalty for infringing the pitstop procedure, and dropped outside the top 10 as a result.

Grasser’s troubles briefly gave the lead to the #2 WRT Audi of Will Stevens and Dries Vanthoor, which had jumped ahead of the #66 Attempto Audi of van der Linde and Schothorst, by pitting a lap earlier.

However, WRT’s lead lasted just a few laps as the Belgian squad was also given a drive-through as Vanthoor had run over a cone while exiting the pits.

As a result, van der Linde and Schothorst claimed a comfortable victory in the season opener.

Raffaele Marciello’s strong first stint helped give the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes he shares with Michael Meadows second place, as the duo ended up 6.980s behind the race winners.

The #19 Grasser Lamborghini of Ezequiel Perez Companc and Andrea Caldarelli took the final spot on the podium.

Nico Jamin and Felix Serralles were classified fourth in the second AKKA ASP Mercedes, ahead of the lead WRT of Stuart Leonard and Robin Frijns.

Frijns had originally qualified on pole position for the race, but his fastest lap was deleted for exceeding the track limits, which left his car 12th on the grid.

Gilles Magnus and Alessio Picariello finished sixth in WRT’s #3 Audi, less than a second adrift of #25 Sainteloc Racing Audi duo Simon Gachet and Christopher Haase.

Engelhart and Bortolotti were eventually classified eighth, while the top 10 was completed by #35 and #90 AKKA ASP Mercedes cars – with Vladimir Atoev and Alexey Korneev finishing almost seven seconds ahead of Nico Bastian and Jack Manchester.

Results

Pos Driver Team Car Time
1 S.Schothorst, K.van der Linde Attempto Racing Audi 1h00m58.023s
2 M.Meadows, R.Marciello Akka ASP Team Mercedes 1h01m05.003s
3 E.P.Companc, A.Caldarelli GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 1h01m10.267s
4 N.Jamin, F.Serralles Akka ASP Team Mercedes 1h01m12.427s
5 S.Leonard, R.Frijns Team WRT Audi 1h01m22.157s
6 G.Magnus, A.Picariello Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 1h01m22.599s
7 S.Gachet, C.Haase Sainteloc Junior Team Audi 1h01m23.506s
8 C.Engelhart, M.Bortolotti GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 1h01m26.696s
9 V.Atoev, A.Korneev Akka ASP Team Mercedes 1h01m37.764s
10 N.Bastian, J.Manchester Akka ASP Team Mercedes 1h01m44.755s
11 P.B.-Bhakdi, C.van Dam Kessel Racing Ferrari 1h01m48.089s
12 D.Vanthoor, W.Stevens Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 1h01m51.337s
13 S.Ortelli, N.Siedler Emil Frey Racing Lexus 1h01m55.486s
14 P.Schothorst, P.Kaffer Attempto Racing Audi 1h02m04.097s
15 N.Stievenart, M.Winkelhock Sainteloc Junior Team Audi 1h02m06.084s
16 J.Caygill, A.T.-Smith Team Parker Racing Bentley 1h02m30.517s
17 A.Watson, L.Moraes 3Y Technology BMW 1h01m43.476s
18 M.Broniszewski, G.Piccini Kessel Racing Ferrari 1h02m11.866s
19 C-Y.Gosselin, P.Feligioni Boutsen Ginion Racing Lamborghini 1h01m05.911s
20 A.Costa, C.Klien Emil Frey Racing Lexus 51m30.244s
A.Riberas, C.Mies Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 37m29.084s
L.Hezemans, F.Perera GRT Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 2m29.965s

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