Vincent Abril and Maxi Buhk have clinched the Blancpain Sprint Series drivers’ title at Zandvoort, fending off a hard-charging Robin Frijns in the second part of the race.
Chaos at the start resulted in a pileup involving both Brazilian BMW Z4s and the Phoenix Audi.
Race control deployed the Virtual Safety Car Procedure for a short time, giving a couple of cars the opportunity to make up some ground at the restart while others were caught sleeping.
The ISR Audi of Marco Bonanomi took a surprise early lead when the track went green again, but more importantly Christopher Mies brought Frijns’ championship-contending No. 1 WRT Audi up to fourth from the back of the grid.
Bonanomi’s Audi quickly fell back through the field, with polesitter Abril retaking the lead in the No. 84 HTP Bentley.
Mies gained another two places as he maneuvered his car up into second, helped along the way by fellow WRT driver Frédéric Vervisch who gave him a free pass .
Abril still managed to open up a gap of 4.5 seconds on Mies by the time both cars dived into the pitlane.
HTP’s stop was good enough to send Buhk back out into the lead, but Frijns missed an opportunity to pass the Bentley when his car stalled when exiting the pit lane.
Frijns quickly closed the gap to Buhk and started pressuring him, the Dutch driver pushed hard but wasn’t able to find a way past the Bentley.
“I wasn’t sure what was going to happen during my stint,” said Buhk. “The Audi was super strong on the brakes. I tried to be as consistent as possible and save the tires, but Frijns was still able to push until the end.”
The German crossed the line with a margin of just 0.375s on Frijns, who lost out on the Blancpain Sprint title but still salvaged the overall Blancpain GT crown.
“It was really hard, I was drifting out of the corners and the Bentley just pulled away on the straights,” said Frijns. “Mies did a great job bring to car to the front of the field at the start, I don’t know how he did it.”
Buhk and Abril gave the Bentley Continental GT3 its first ever title, while Jules Szymkowiak also secured the Sprint Series Silver Cup by finishing sixth overall in the No. 83 HTP Bentley.
After letting the No. 1 through Vervisch slotted back in third, teammate Nicki Thiim kept up with Frijns during his stint and finished third in the No. 2 WRT Audi, a mere 0.886s behind the HTP Bentley.
ISR scored its best result of the season, with Marco Bonanomi and Filip Salaquarda crossing the line in fourth after enjoying some laps in the lead.
RESULTS: Main Race