Maximilian Götz has won the 2014 Blancpain Sprint Series title, despite finishing ninth in the Baku World Challenge Qualifying Race. WRT Audi drivers Cesar Ramos and Laurens Vanthoor claimed victory on the streets of the Azeri capital.
The WRT Audi drivers had a great start and held onto the lead, while behind them Joe Osborne triggered an incident heading into the old city. The Triple Eight driver hit the No. 85 HTP Mercedes of Stef Dusseldorp, who was then hit by the No.76 BMW Sports Trophy Team BMW, sending it into the wall. A four-lap safety car period followed.
Buhk was unable to catch the top five after the restart, and things got worse when the No. 84 HTP Mercedes clipped the barrier out of Turn 7, causing damage to the rear wing of the Mercedes and a loss of positions.
The race leading No. 9 Audi lost the lead in the pits and exited behind the No. 28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini and the No. 1 Audi. One lap later Cesar Ramos took the lead by passing Hari Proczyk on the long straight.
Proczyk was able to keep the fast Aston Martin at bay, until damage to the front of the Lamborghini forced the Austrian to pit for repairs. The extra pit stop meant the Lamborghini dropped down to 15th, enough for Götz to secure the Blancpain Sprint Series title, despite not scoring points himself.
After 34 laps Ramos finished 1.726s ahead of the Aston Martin, with the No. 9 WRT Audi taking third place, at 16.535s.
René Rast and Enzo Ide completed a successful morning for Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, taking home fourth place after starting the race in 19th position.
Martin Ragginger and Marco Holzer drove the No. 36 GW Schütz Motorsport Porsche to fifth place, ahead of Phoenix Racing’s Niki Mayr-Melnhof and Markus Winkelhock.
“First of all thanks to my team. They did a great job the whole year. Also to Maxi Buhk, I drove most races with him, and to Nico Verdonck,” said the new Blancpain Sprint Series champion. “Thanks a lot to these guys, without them I couldn’t win. It is also their victory and title, not only my one.”
“When he (Buhk) made his pit stop I saw that most of the wing was missing and the rear was completely damage. The car was turning like crazy and there was also a crazy wind on the straight. It was not easy to drive, I tried to survive the race and get a good starting position for the main race,” said Götz.
“Everything is possible. We can only win and then it depends on what they do, so it is not completely in our hands. We are in a position to catch up, so we can only do our best,” said Vanthoor, previewing the Main Race. Vanthoor will start the race with a 15-point deficit in the battle with Buhk for the Blancpain GT Series title.