After taking a hard fought win in the Qualifying Race earlier today, Jeroen Bleekemolen and Hari Proczyk once again drove their No. 28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini Gallardo FL2 GT3 to victory in the Blancpain Sprint Series Main Race at Brands Hatch.
The No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 of championship leaders Maxi Buhk and Maxi Götz came in second 4.043s seconds adrift, while the No. 0 BMW Team Brasil Z4 GT3 of Sergio Jimenez and Caca Bueno completed the podium in third.
It was a close call for the Austrian team to even make it to the grid, as the GRT squad discovered a problem with one of the wheel bearings.
“The team has done a great job against all the big teams here on the grid,” said Bleekemolen. “With 40 minutes on the clock, they managed to fix the right rear wheel bearing. We had two seconds to spare to make it out of the pitlane on time.”
Proczyk converted his pole position into the lead of the race at the start, but he immediately felt the pressure from Buhk in the No. 84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes SLS AMG GT3 behind him.
“It was frustrating to drive behind the Lamborghini, as soon as I came closer I lost my aero and I couldn’t overtake,” said Buhk afterwards.
The leading Lamborghini came in at the earliest opportunity, with Dutchman Bleekemolen taking over the wheel and instantly opening up a gap to his nearest rival.
A slow pitstop from the HTP Motorsport crew resulted in the loss of one position and Götz rejoining the track in third position, sandwiched between the No. 0 and No. 30 BMW Team Brasil Z4s.
Götz eventually regained the position when the No. 30 BMW of Valdeno Brito got handed a drive through penalty for a pitstop infringement, which dropped it back to eight.
Bleekemolen’s lead was never threatened and the Dutch ace took the checkered flag with a comfortable margin over the HTP Mercedes, which now sees its championship lead reduced to only nine points to the No. 28 GRT Lamborghini.
The No. 30 BMW Team Brasil Z4 of Jimenez and Bueno scored its second podium of the day, confirming the upwards momentum the South American team is experiencing at the start of its second season in the series.
Despite claiming pole position on Saturday, the Audi teams didn’t manage to finish on the podium today, with the No. 1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT R8 LMS ending up in fourth, 19.365 seconds adrift from the winners.
Surprisingly, the WRT Silver Cup entry of Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski that finished sixth today, is now the leading Audi in the championship standings, with a 28 points deficit.
After spinning on the pit straight, causing a safety car period and only finishing 17th in the Qualifying Race, Alex Zanardi drove a remarkable recovery race to score a strong fifth.
For the first time this season, the Italian Bhaitech team was able to show a glimpse of the speed the McLaren, with Giorgio Pantano having a great start to move up to P4, before the No. 60 car fell back after losing a wheel after the pitstops.
The next round of the Blancpain Sprint Series takes place at Zandvoort on July 4-6.
RESULTS: Main Race