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GT World Challenge Europe

Zandvoort Weekend Notebook

Sportscar365’s weekend notebook from Blancpain GT’s return to the Netherlands…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

***AKKA ASP has retired its No. 90 Silver Cup entry, shared by Felipe Fraga and Timur Boguslavskiy, after the Russian’s crash from the class lead late in Race 1. It reduces the field for this afternoon’s race to 27 cars.

***Sainteloc Racing was in a battle against the clock to repair its No. 26 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo which also crashed out of Race 1. That incident came on the first lap when Steven Palette was caught up with Tom Gamble and Rolf Ineichen. The French team has managed to repair Palette and Markus Winkelhock’s car, however.

***Race director Alain Adam issued a statement requesting drivers not to slow down too much during qualifying, with the aim of maximizing track positioning. The third sector of the track was particularly closely monitored to prevent this.

***Penalties, which could include cancellation of a driver’s best lap time, would be given to anyone who “is seen to impede another driver’s lap time”. A number of drivers were seen to slow down at the end of the lap during qualifying but weren’t penalized as they didn’t affect any other cars.

***Another Lamborghini team could be present in the Blancpain GT Series next year, according to Giorgio Sanna, Head of Lamborghini Squadra Corse. It’s understood this team could be Emil Frey Racing, which made the switch to Lamborghini machinery this year and has already had several race wins in the International GT Open.

***Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is in action on several fronts this weekend, with its four Blancpain GT entries running in addition to two cars in TCR Europe and its VLN entry for Matthieu Vaxiviere, Francois Perrodo and Emmanuel Collard. WRT is also present in the 25H VW Fun Cup at Spa.

***Two further Blancpain GT teams – Phoenix Racing and Black Falcon – also fielded entries in VLN 4 on Saturday. Black Falcon won the race with a Mercedes-AMG GT3 driven by Patrick Assenheimer and Manuel Metzger.

***Dries Vanthoor will have to complete community service next weekend at the SRO Speed Week after being late to the drivers’ briefing on Friday. The stewards didn’t accept his excuse of heavy traffic conditions, and so will have to serve as assistant driver advisor to the stewards for the Blancpain GT Sports Club and British GT Championship races.

***With his and Raffaele Marciello’s Race 1 win yesterday, Vincent Abril has now won the last three Blancpain GT races at Zandvoort. He secured the 2015 Blancpain Sprint Series championship with a double victory alongside Maxi Buhk last time the series visited the Dutch track.

***Since that last race almost four years ago, the track has been fully resurfaced, amounting to lap times almost three seconds quicker.

***The track is a regular feature on the ADAC GT Masters schedule, however. Race 1 last year was won by Marco Mapelli and Ezequiel Perez Companc (both competing this weekend), while Mathieu Jaminet and Robert Renauer were victorious in Race 2.

***Aston Martin factory driver Maxime Martin was present at Zandvoort earlier in the weekend, assisting young drivers in the British manufacturer’s GT4 European Series cars.

***A hydrogen car built by students at TU Delft is racing for the first time this weekend in the Supercar Challenge, one of the support series at Zandvoort. The car retired from Race 1 on Saturday afternoon but set the fastest lap time in its class.

***The second and final Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe race is scheduled for 2:15 p.m. local time (8.15 a.m. EDT). Christopher Haase is on pole for Sainteloc Racing.

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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