Will Stevens takes maiden Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup victory with Pirelli
Belgian Audi Club Team WRT has won the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Zolder with drivers Markus Winkelhock and Will Stevens in their Audi R8 LMS. Due to the dry conditions every car on the grid used the Pirelli P Zero DHD tyre from start to finish. Over the course of the race each team had to change driver and all four tyres once during the pit window. The Winkelhock-Stevens car started from third on the grid and ran second until the pit stops, right behind the similar ISR Audi R8 LMS of Clemens Schmid. When both cars made their compulsory pit stops to change drivers and tyres on lap 17 the WRT mechanics fitted four new P Zeros faster than ISR, allowing Stevens to take the lead in the pit lane. A late race Safety Car period set up a one lap sprint to the flag and Stevens resisted the pressure to win by 0.467 seconds. This followed an extremely tight qualifying race yesterday, which was won by less than a second.
Matteo Braga (Pirelli circuit activity manager):
“Once again a very strong performance from Audi this weekend, which was on top form from start to finish, enabling Belgian Audi Club Team WRT to win at home. The team managed their pace and strategy well, with the best tyre handling during pit stops. This was absolutely crucial to the race strategy, as Zolder is not a circuit where it is particularly easy to overtake. With the Spa 24 Hours just over a month away, this weekend provided an interesting taste of the competition that is shortly to come in Belgium as a highlight of the Blancpain season.”
Will Stevens (#2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, Audi R8 LMS):
“I was a bit worried at the end as it felt like there was an issue with the car. I wanted the safety car to stay out as long as possible. The team probably did their best pitstop of the year, after Markus drove a great stint. This is a great result, and I am sure that there will be more this year.”
Fact of the day:
Zolder was the home of the Belgian Grand Prix between 1975 and 1982. The last winner of the Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder in 1982 was McLaren driver John Watson, who these days is lead commentator for the Blancpain GT Series on television.
Number of the day:
16. The number of Pirelli personnel at Zolder this weekend ensuring each team has the tyres they require. These are made up of 10 tyre fitters, three engineers, and three people in commercial and logistics roles. Between them they comprise six nationalities and speak 10 languages.
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