Five different manufacturers in top six of Blancpain Sprint Series race at Brands Hatch
The British round of the Blancpain Sprint Series, which is exclusively supplied by Pirelli, highlighted the diversity and popularity of the championship when five different manufacturers were represented in the top six of the main race.
|The Frijns-Vanthoor Audi led the way|
The Belgian Audi Club entry of Robin Frijns and Laurens Vanthoor recorded two victories on Sunday, in the qualifying race and main race, but there were also cars from BMW, Lamborghini McLaren and Nissan in the top six of the main race. These very different cars all used Pirelli’s DHA and DHB hard compound slick tyres to cope with the demands of Brands Hatch: a spectacular arena-style circuit close to London, which formerly hosted the British Grand Prix until 1986. The flowing grand prix circuit contains some rapid corners, such as Paddock Hill Bend and Dingle Dell – where the victorious Audi dramatically crashed during free practice – but also a tight hairpin: Druids Corner. This huge variety of driving conditions tests every aspect of a tyre’s performance, with the challenge made even more wide-ranging thanks to the notorious vagaries of the British weather. Conditions alternated between bright sunshine for race day, to intermittent rain on Saturday. The Pirelli compounds for the Blancpain Sprint Series are formulated using the same technology that goes into the company’s Ultra High Performance tyres for the road. With the short and sharp race format that characterises the Blancpain Sprint Series, the Italian tyres demonstrated both performance and perfect reliability. The winning Audi proved to be on the pace from the very beginning of the weekend, setting pole position as well as winning both races. Vanthoor described his qualifying lap as being “almost the perfect lap; I could feel the peak of the tyres.” Pirelli senior engineer Matteo Braga commented: “We saw some very competitive and highly enjoyable racing at Brands Hatch, with a real family atmosphere and some very entertaining competition that was right on the limit. The biggest challenge related to Brands Hatch is definitely to do with all the different weather and track conditions that we experience. We make our tyres with the aim of ensuring that they are as versatile as possible, and the fact that we have seen five different manufacturers in the top six of the Blancpain Sprint Series race here, with consistent and rapid tyre performance, underlines the success of this philosophy – which is of course carried through to our road product as well.” Supporting the Blancpain Sprint Series at Brands Hatch were two other championships exclusively using Pirelli tyres: the GT Cup and MINI Challenge. These two British-based series underlined Pirelli’s worldwide engagement with crowd-pleasing racing at every level. The Blancpain GT Series includes both endurance and sprint rounds, with a title offered for each but competitors equally welcome to take part in both competitions for the overall championship. The next Blancpain round is the endurance race that takes place at another legendary British circuit: Silverstone from May 23-24. Before then, Pirelli will be prominently represented in arguably the toughest endurance race in the world: the Nurburgring 24 Hours next weekend. Last year, Kevin Estre (who was third at Brands Hatch today, with Rob Bell) set a record pole time at the Nordschliefe on Pirelli tyres.
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