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Abril, Buhk Give Bentley First Blancpain Sprint Win

Vincent Abril, Maxi Buhk give Bentley first BSS win…

Photo: John Dagys

Photo: John Dagys

Vincent Abril and Maxi Buhk took victory in the Main Race at the Moscow Raceway, controlling the race from start to finish, giving Bentley its first Blancpain Sprint Series win.

Abril took a blistering start from third on the grid in the No. 84 HTP-run Continental GT3 and already cleared the pole-sitting Reiter Lamborghini and Rinaldi Ferrari before the first turn.

Albert von Thurn und Taxis ran out of luck as he got sandwiched between the No. 0 BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil BMW Z4 GT3 and the No. 2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra with Enzo Ide behind the wheel, the latter tapping the Lamborghini in a spin, resulting in a DNF.

Abril went on to control the first half of the race, keeping the Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3 of Marco Seefried and the No. 77 BMW of Valdeno Brito at a sensible distance.

Buhk took over the wheel of the blue-liveried Continental GT3 at the earliest opportunity, and was able to retain track position despite stalling the engine.

The 2013 Blancpain Endurance champion had to deal with pressure coming from Markus Winkelhock in the Phoenix Racing Audi, who gained two positions during the pitstops.

The No. 6 Phoenix Audi was later penalized with a drive-through for an unsafe release, dropping him down to sixth, relieving the pressure from Buhk, who went on to take a comfortable win.

“It’s amazing to be back at the top step,” said Buhk. “We struggled a bit at the beginning of the season, especially myself for getting used to the new car.

The No. 77 BMW Team Brasil of Valdeno Brito and Atila Abreu finished a strong second (+7.542s), after starting the Qualifying Race form fifteenth and the Main Race from P7.

Brito went to second at the start, before Marco Seefried passed him in the Rinaldi Ferrari, a position they would later regain as the German-entered Ferrari stalled during the pitstops.

After retiring from the Qualifying Race earlier in the day, championship leaders Laurens Vanthoor and Robin Frijns drove a solid recovery race in the No. 1 WRT Audi.

Frijns got up to P6, while the a quick pitstop moved them in front of the sister No. 3 Audi, however, Vanthoor lost that position again as he spun the car on his own near the end of the race.

The Belgian-Dutch duo still comfortably leads the standings, now with a 15-point gap on the No. 84 Bentley of Abril and Buhk, with Abreu and Brito following a further four points back in third.

Pro-Am Cup honors went to the No. 70 GT Russian Team of Christophe Bouchut and Alexey Karachev in twelfth overall, the latter flying to the teams workshop in Prague overnight to get spare parts.

RESULTS: Main Race

Vincent Wouters (@VinceWouters) is a Belgium-based sports car racing reporter, providing coverage primarily of the Blancpain GT Series.

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