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Zolder Friday Notebook

Vincent Wouters’ Friday notebook for the Blancpain Sprint Series…

Photo: Vincent Wouters

Photo: Vincent Wouters

***Two teams hit severe trouble during today’s free practice sessions. The Vita4One BMW Z4 of Michael Bartels and Yelmer Buurman crashed near the end of FP1, bringing out a red flag, and wasn’t able to rejoin the field in the next session. The car suffered steering column damage and a small crack in the chassis, which will be welded overnight. Meanwhile Team Schubert will have to execute an engine change tonight, as the BMW’s powerplant overheated halfway trough FP2.

***Brakes are a particular concern with the teams this weekend, as the tight Zolder track features some heavy braking zones. Several teams already experienced difficulties today, with even more troubles expected on Saturday and Sunday, as higher temperatures are forecasted.

***There was a last minute driver change at Fortec Motorsport, as Benji Hetherington has replaced Armaan Ebrahim in the No. 63 Mercedes SLS AMG GT3. Hetherington already raced for the team in Nogaro and will team up with Miguel Toril this weekend.

***BMW works driver Alex Zanardi arrived in Belgium after competing in the Ironman triathlon in Hawaii last weekend. Of the more than 2,000 participants who entered, Zanardi was one of the few physically handicapped athletes. He mastered the cycling on his hand bike and the running in a racing wheelchair, finishing with an impressive overall time of 9:47:14 hours in 272nd place, out of 2,187 athletes who made it to the end.

***Marcus Mahy has decided to call time on his racing career, the 53-year-old British racer told Guernsey press. Mahy spent two months in the hospital following a massive accident during the opening hours of the Total 24 Hours of Spa, where he sustained a broken neck.

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

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