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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.
|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|