The No. 28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Hari Proczyk won the Blancpain Sprint Series Qualifying Race at Brands Hatch, as Proczyk managed to fend off the championship leading HTP Motorsport Mercedes of Maxi Buhk in the final part of the race.
Bleekemolen moved up to second from third on the grid at the start, as front row starters Maxi Götz and Laurens Vanthoor made contact in Turn 1.
“It was tight in turn one, I got a bit lucky there to overtake the SLS,” said Bleekemolen. “I was happy to be sitting second.”
Throughout his entire stint the Dutchman remained under the rear wing of the No. 1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi of Laurens Vanthoor, but was unable to pass him. Bleekemolen stayed out until the final seconds of the pit window and in doing so capitalized on the safety car coming out on track for the stranded ROAL BMW of Alex Zanardi.
His teammate Hari Proczyk came out in the lead after the pitstops, but soon felt the pressure of Maximilian Buhk in the No. 84 HTP Mercedes in his back. He eventually managed to fend off Buhk until the checkered flag by only half a second.
“He was very fast in the sectors where there were possibilities to overtake. I’m disappointed because I was faster, but now the big points are coming up in the Main Race,” said Buhk afterwards.
Buhk and Götz had to settle for second, but were still able to extend their championship lead to 12 points on the G-Drive Racing Audi of Stéphane Ortelli, who had to retire early on after problems at the start.
Both BMW Team Brasil Z4 GT3s drove an impressive race and ended up in third and fourth, the No. 0 of Sergio Jimenez and Caca Bueno winning the intra-team battle from the No. 30 of Matheus Stumpf and newcomer Valdeno Brito Filho, who made a very strong impression on his debut in the series.
Markus Winkelhock was part of the leading trio in the first half of the race, his teammate Niki Mayr-Melnhof drove the No. 6 Phoenix Racing Audi R8 LMS ultra home to P5, surprisingly beating the pole-sitting No. 1 WRT Audi of Laurens Vanthoor and Cesar Ramos.
Vanthoor kept Maxi Götz behind at the start, and then went on to lead the race for the rest of his stint. A moderate pitstop and Cesar Ramos not being able to match the same pace meant that car only finished sixth.
RESULT: Qualifying Race