Connect with us


Portimao Weekend Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Portimao pre-race notebook …

Photo: VSA/SRO

Photo: VSA/SRO

***Reiter Engineering swapped the engine on the No. 88 Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX of Nick Catsburg and Albert von Thurn und Taxis between Qualifying and the Qualifying Race. The issue was discovered when Catsburg was down on power in Q3.

***The engine change was done just in time for the race, but meant that Dutchman had to start from the pitlane. An impressive charge followed, with Catsburg overtaking half the field and closing down the gap to the leaders to only 10 seconds by the time the pit window opened.

***The No. 3 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS ultra of Stéphane Ortelli and Stéphane Richelmi was the only car to retire in the Qualifying Race. The Monegasque duo was in the hunt for a podium position when the gearbox failed.

***Laurens Vanthoor also experienced a small gearbox problem in the final sector of his ultimate lap in Q3 earlier in the day. The Belgian posted purple times in the first two sectors, but the time lost in the last part of the lap meant he couldn’t improve his time and had to settle for third.

***No less than nine cars saw at least one of their laps in Qualifying cancelled by the race director for not respecting the track limits. The No. 75 ISR Audi of Marco Bonanomi and Filip Salaquarda was the only car to be penalized in all three sessions.

***The Blancpain Sprint Series has reached an all-time low at Portimao this weekend, as SRO Group-organized series only managed to attract 15 entries following the withdrawal Attempto Racing. In previous years, 20 cars seemed to be the baseline, but that number was never reached this season. Despite the low car count the quality of entries is still remarkably high.

***Stéphane Ratel is expected to give a ‘State of the Series’ at the Nürburgring, as his annual press conference at the Total 24 Hours of Spa was cancelled at the last moment. SRO is currently also involved in coordinating the FIA GT World Cup at Macau later this, with details about manufacturer-blessed entry list yet to emerge.

***Several cars have carried over their 24 Hours of Spa liveries to the Blancpain Sprint grid this weekend. The Nissan now entered under the Always Evolving Motorsports banner is still in bright red, while the No. 83 HTP Bentley has kept it matt black livery and the No. 84 Continental GT3 has reverted back to the blue in which it won at the Moscow Raceway. Be sure to check out the spotter guide.

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

Click to comment

More in BSS