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Stevens Scores First GT Win; WRT Sweeps Zolder

Stevens takes first GT win alongside Winkelhock; WRT sweeps Zolder…

Photo: Vision Sport Agency

A quick pit stop set Will Stevens on the path to win the Main Race at Zolder on Sunday afternoon, with Belgian Audi Club Team WRT sweeping its home Blancpain GT Series event.

This marks the Briton’s first GT victory in what has been a busy weekend, splitting his time between Zolder and the Le Mans Test Day.

Co-driver Markus Winkelhock brought the No. 2 Audi R8 LMS into the pits in second place, but swift work from the WRT crew put Stevens out front for the second half.

The 25-year-old remained in the lead for the rest of the race, surviving a safety car restart in the final few minutes.

Stevens started the day running in the JMW Motorsport Ferrari 488 GTE at Le Mans, before returning to Zolder for the Blancpain GT race.

It is also Winkelhock’s first Blancpain GT win since 2014.

“I was a bit worried at the end, for it felt like there was an issue with the car,” Stevens said. I wanted the safety car to stay out as long as possible.

“The team probably did their best pit stop 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.”

WRT won Saturday’s Qualifying Race with the No. 17 Audi of Stuart Leonard and Robin Frijns, which finished third in the Main Race.

A restart with one lap to go after a Safety Car period wasn’t enough to deny Stevens his maiden series victory as his fellow WRT drivers pressured the challenging ISR car.

Filip Salaquarda therefore was unable to mount an attack for the lead, and so had to settle for second in the Czech team’s No. 75 Audi, ahead of Frijns and Leonard’s pole-sitting WRT entry.

Dries Vanthoor and Marcel Fassler brought the No. 5 WRT car home in fourth, meanwhile.

The Full Course Yellow, which later became a Safety Car period, was called to retrieve Jimmy Eriksson’s HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 which was stranded on the pit straight after a collision with Daniel Juncadella.

The Spaniard was awarded a 90-second post-race time penalty for the contact.

Leonard started the race from pole after winning the Qualifying Race, but lost positions and entered Turn 1 in fourth.

Michael Meadows, who was challenging him for the win late in Saturday’s race, took the lead from second on the grid but was later given two drive-through penalties.

The first penalty was for a jump start and the second for the team having the car on the jacks too soon before the start of the race.

This dropped the No. 90 AKKA ASP Mercedes down the order, and co-driver Raffaele Marciello could only manage 24th at the flag.

RESULTS: Main Race

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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