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Misano Weekend Notebook

Jake Kilshaw’s weekend notebook from the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at Misano…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

***Nicolas Jamin, who started Race 1 from pole on Saturday, is joined by Denis Bulatov this weekend as a replacement for Felix Serralles. The young Russian driver is Silver-rated, and so the No. 87 AKKA ASP-run Mercedes-AMG GT3 has been moved to the Silver Cup from the overall Pro field. Bulatov has been part of the French team’s SMP Racing-backed entry in the Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup this season.

***Audi Sport Slovakia has made its series debut with an Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by father-and-son pairing Jirko and Christian Malcharek. The team, which sports an eye-catching red and yellow color scheme, announced earlier this year it would run a four-race program beginning at Misano. It is understood that it still plans to enter the Hungaroring, Nürburgring and Barcelona races.

***The entry list for the Total 24 Hours of Spa is set to be released during the Test Day on Tuesday, July 3. The field is expected to reach 60 cars again while several teams have made announcements of their entries and driver lineups in recent weeks.

***Montaplast by Land Motorsport will tackle the Belgian endurance classic with an Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by brothers Kelvin and Sheldon van der Linde and Jeffrey Schmidt. The trio contested the Rolex 24 at Daytona together in January. The team will continue to receive support from Peter Baron. 

***Three of Belgian Audi Club Team WRT’s four lineups for Spa have been finalized, while a fourth is still yet to be announced. Team manager Vincent Vosse told Endurance-Info that the fourth Audi will run in either the Pro-Am or Silver Cup.

***While several other Audi lineups for the Blancpain GT and Intercontinental GT Challenge joint round bear little resemblance to the full-season Blancpain GT Endurance Cup entries, WRT has one car reserved for championship leaders Alex Riberas, Christopher Mies and Dries Vanthoor.

***Grasser Racing Team will run its full-season Endurance Cup lineup at Spa with three Lamborghini Huracan GT3s. The current Lamborghini GT3 model has had little success in the race with a best result to date of 11th in the 2016 race. 

***AKKA ASP will field two Pro entries, including the SMP Racing-backed Mercedes-AMG GT3 for Vitaly Petrov, Denis Bulatov and Michael Meadows. Its lead car will be driven by Raffaele Marciello, Daniel Juncadella and Tristan Vautier.

***The Jerome Policand-led operation will enter a third car in the Silver Cup with Jules Szymkowiak, Jack Manchester, Nico Bastian and Fabian Schiller driving, along with an Am Cup entry for Fabien Barthez, Philippe Giauque, Eric Debard and Nicolas Jamin.

***There has been no word on the outcome of R-Motorsport’s appeal following its disqualification from qualifying at Silverstone in May. The Jota Sport-run team claimed the provisional race win but could be penalized if its appeal is unsuccessful.

***In addition to the GT4 European Series and Blancpain GT Sports Club, the Blancpain GT field is supported by the Smart EQ ForTwo e-cup this weekend. The Italian series, which features a spec grid of electric Smart ForTwos, has a pair of 20-minute races for its debut event.

***The second and final Blancpain GT race of the weekend will get underway at 2 p.m. local time and will be streamed live on the series’ website and GT World YouTube channel. Marciello will lead the field from pole. 

Laurent Mercier contributed to this report

Jake Kilshaw is a UK-based journalist. He is a graduate of Politics and International Relations.

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