With three Audi R8 LMS ultra in the first three positions, the Audi teams Belgian Audi Club Team WRT and Phoenix Racing made an impressive start to the first weekend of the Blancpain Sprint Series at the French circuit of Nogaro. Quickest time was set by Laurens Vanthoor in the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. His time of 1:26.207, set in the early stages of the 80 minutes of Free Practice 1, was never really challenged. Eventually the #2 Audi of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT came closest (0.331 of a second), just edging in front of the #6 Audi of Phoenix Racing. First non-Audi driver was Dutchman Jeroen Bleekemolen, who on his Nogaro debut, managed to set the 4th quickest time in the #28 Grasser Racing Lamborghini.
Best Silver Cup result came also from an Audi pairing, with Mateusz Lisowski and Vincent Abril slotting their #4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT machine in 5th overall, only 0.938 off Vanthoor’s best time. Marc A. Hayek, CEO and president of Blancpain, ended up in 9th overall and best in Pro-Am, at the wheel of the Blancpain Racing Lamborghini FLII.
The first Blancpain Sprint Series session from Alex Zanardi was something a lot of his fans looked forward to. The Italian double Olympic champion set the 13th time, 0.480 behind the quickest BMW, the #0 Z4 GT3 of BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil.
The first free practice saw also the debut of Alessandro Latif, one of the youngest drivers ever to start in the Sprint Series. The British Audi driver turned 18 exactly one week ago and doesn’t even have a road license yet.
Jeroen Bleekemolen (#28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini): “I really enjoyed my first laps at the Nogaro track. I know Free Practice is not the most important part of the meeting, but it is always a good thing if you can set the 4th quickest time the first time you drive on a new circuit.”
Alessandro Latif (#5 Phoenix Racing Audi): “The Blancpain Sprint Series is really something else. I haven’t had a thorough look at the entry list, because I want to focus on my own racing for the moment. But I am well aware that there is some fierce competition in this Series.”
Free practice 2 starts on Saturday at 10.05 CET, the qualifying practice at 15.15 CET.