Algarve Blancpain Sprint: HTP Bentley wins after WRT Audi dice

HTP Motorsport Bentley driver Maximilian Buhk held off a final lap advance from WRT Audi's Robin Frijns to take victory in the Algarve Blancpain Sprint Series qualifying race

Algarve Blancpain Sprint: HTP Bentley wins after WRT Audi dice

Frijns reeled in a half-second gap on the last lap and lunged past the Bentley Buhk shared with Vincent Abril before running wide at Turn 11.

It was an all-or-nothing move, with Frijns and Laurens Vanthoor having to settle for second ahead of Niki Mayr-Melnhof and Markus Winkelhock's Phoenix R8.

A poor start from the polesitting Audi of Christopher Mies gave Abril the chance to lead, as he steered the Bentley wide across the start/finish line to get ahead into Turn 1.

Mies quickly regained the lead with a bold move on the following corner but, having left the track to secure it, was dealt a drive-through penalty that removed him from race win contention.

That reduced the lead battle to Abril/Buhk versus Vanthoor/Frijns, with the Bentley pitting earlier but retaining the advantage in a tense race-long fight.

A slow stop consigned Winkelhock and Mayr-Melnhof to a lonely drive to the final podium position in their wake.

Rinaldi Ferrari duo Marco Seefried and Norbert Siedler placed qualifying woes firmly behind them with an impressive climb up the order to fourth from ninth.

Also carving through the field was Nicky Catsburg in the Reiter Lamborghini. Starting from the pitlane after an engine leak forced a change of unit for the qualifying race, he began a comeback charge that team-mate Albert Von Thurn und Taxis completed for fifth.

Sixth went the way of the WRT Audi of James Nash and Frank Stippler ahead of BMW Brazil pairing Caca Bueno and Sergio Jimenez.

The penalised Mies and team-mate Enzo Ide had to settle for 10th behind the ISR Audi that Marco Bonanomi spun into the gravel, leaving Filip Salaquarda with a recovery drive to do.

RESULTS - 34 LAPS:

Pos Driver Team Car Gap
1 V.Abril, M.Buhk Bentley Team HTP Bentley 1h01m26.441s
2 R.Frijns, L.Vanthoor Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 1.980s
3 N.M.-Melnhof, M.Winkelhock Phoenix Racing Audi 12.974s
4 M.Seefried, N.Siedler Rinaldi Racing Ferrari 15.106s
5 A.T.Taxis, N.Catsburg Reiter Engineering Lamborghini 25.782s
6 J.Nash, F.Stippler Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 32.352s
7 C.Bueno, S.Jimenez BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil BMW 32.690s
8 M.van Splunteren, J.Szymkowiak Bentley Team HTP Bentley 47.316s
9 F.Salaquarda, M.Bonanomi ISR Audi 49.145s
10 C.Mies, E.Ide Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 58.866s
11 A.Vasiliev, M.Asmer GT Russian Team Mercedes 1m09.927s
12 A.Karachev, C.Bouchut GT Russian Team Mercedes 1m28.214s
13 V.Brito, A.Abreu BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil BMW 1m29.528s
14 S.Walkinshaw, C.Dolby Always Evolving Motorsport Nissan 1 Lap
15 S.Ortelli, S.Richelmi Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi 10 Laps


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Blancpain Sprint Algarve: Christopher Mies puts WRT Audi on pole
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