WRT Audi splits Vanthoor and Ortelli for Blancpain Sprint Series
|By Gary Watkins||Thursday, February 27th 2014, 14:05 GMT|
The WRT Audi squad has split reigning FIA GT Series champions Laurens Vanthoor and Stephane Ortelli for the renamed Blancpain Sprint Series in 2014.
Vanthoor will partner Brazilian Cesar Ramos, who moves over from a Blancpain Endurance Series campaign in 2013 with the Kessel Ferrari squad, in one of three Audi R8 LMS ultras entered under the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT banner.
Ortelli will join forces with World Endurance Championship LMP2 frontrunner Roman Rusinov in an Audi run under the G-Drive Racing banner, which will be part of a second WRT team structure.
Team boss Vincent Vosse said: "This is a decision made between Audi and ourselves: there are only so many Audi-contracted drivers to spread around the various championships and it is also about budgets."
WRT will field a total of four cars in the BSS split across its two teams.
Rene Rast, a race winner in FIA GTs last season, will be partnered by Belgian Enzo Ide in an entry to be run alongside the Vanthoor/Ramos car.
Ortelli and Rusinov will be joined in the second team by French GT Championship graduate Vincent Abril and Poland's Mateusz Lisowski, who will race in the Silver Cup class for silver-rated drivers under 25.
Four-time Spa 24 Hours winner Thierry Tassin has been hired to be sporting director of the second WRT squad.
Rusinov faces two clashes with his 2014 WEC programme driving for the OAK Racing P2 squad.
The Russian will fly between the WEC opener at Silverstone and the first round of the sprint series at Nogaro in April, while the Baku BSS round also takes place on the same weekend as the Shanghai WEC event in November.