Felix Rosenqvist and team-mate Tristan Vautier (France) scored their first points of the 2016 Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup season as the championship set camp at Brands Hatch on the outskirts of London this weekend.
Sharing a Mercedes-AMG GT3 run by French outfit AKKA-ASP, the duo came home ninth in Sunday’s main race at the challenging British venue, which greeted a field of 37 cars on a weekend of lovely weather and exceptionally close racing.
The #88 AKKA-ASP machine easily progressed through the Q1/Q2 phase of Saturday qualifying thanks to a lap set early on by Rosenqvist, who then slotted back in for the decisive Q3 showdown. The Swede eventually fell just two tenths short of grabbing pole position for Sunday’s qualifying race, taking fifth on the grid in an immensely close-fought session which saw 14 cars covered by less than half a second around the 3.9 km lap.
A pit stop glitch then cost Rosenqvist/Vautier valuable time in the qualifying race, yielding ninth at the chequered flag and on the grid for the main race on Sunday evening. Once there, Rosenqvist took charge of the opening stint, handing over the car to Vautier in seventh place at the halfway stages.
The Frenchman, however, was forced to relinquish two positions following a late-race safety car restart – down on power due to a technical issue – but clung on to a points-paying ninth place to open up the squad’s 2016 scoreboard.
Before pitting, Rosenqvist had set the third-quickest lap among the drivers completing the first stint.
“This was another weekend when the pace was there for more,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “It’s great to score some points – that’s far from easy in this competition, as qualifying proved – but we could have fought for the podium and didn’t end up where we should have. I’ve had a number of weekends like this recently, both in GTs and Indy Lights, and it’s about time for that to change. There have been cases of what could have been, but now I want to put that behind and get some hard results. My main short-term goal this summer will be to win a race again, and I’m already looking forward to giving it another go in the US in a couple of days.”
The next Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup round takes place at the Nürburgring (Germany) on July 1-3. Already this Tuesday, however, Felix Rosenqvist will travel to the famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the USA for the up-coming Indy Lights meeting on May 12-14.
Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup | Brands Hatch (Great Britain)
1: C.Mies/E.Ide (Audi R8 LMS)
2: B.Schneider/J.Szymkowiak (Mercedes-AMG GT3)
3: M.Soulet/A.Soucek (Bentley Continental GT3)
4: R.Bell/A.Parente (McLaren 650S GT3)
5: M.Stockinger/F.Perera (Audi R8 LMS)
9: T.Vautier/F.Rosenqvist (Mercedes-AMG GT3)