Felix Rosenqvist and team-mate Tristan Vautier (France) launched an emphatic fightback drive in round three of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup at the Nürburgring on Sunday, battling their way past a full 17 rivals to finish in the points.
Having featured at the top of the timesheets across the preceding two meetings of the championship, Rosenqvist/Vautier initially struggled in the Eifel mountains as pre-event BoP (Balance of Performance) alterations affected their Mercedes-AMG GT3 and left the duo atypically off the pace in practice and qualifying.
Things would not take a turn for the better in Saturday’s qualifying race (which sets up the grid for Sunday’s main event), after the AKKA-ASP pair were dealt a one-minute time penalty for an incident during Vautier’s stint at the wheel, demoting them to 27th in the final classification – and leaving them well down the order for Sunday’s finale.
Once there, however, both Vautier and Rosenqvist fought back in resounding fashion. The Frenchman took the #88 machine from 27th to 17th in the opening half of the race, before handing the car over to Rosenqvist – who completed the recovery by picking off a further sequence of rivals on his way to tenth place and the final point on offer.
“This race was just so much fun,” says Felix Rosenqvist. “We obviously weren’t expecting points from 27th on the grid, but we did it and I really want to thank the team for doing a great job. The pit stop was faultless and a big part of the progress we made, and they also turned the car around on Saturday night, making it a lot more consistent in turbulent air for the main race, which helped us to attack. I’ll never be satisfied unless I win, but given where we came from on this occasion, I would probably rate this as the nicest tenth place of my career!”
Next up on the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup calendar is a visit to Hungarian F1 venue the Hungaroring on 26-28 August. Before then, however, Rosenqvist will take part in one of the most classic events in the world of GT racing; the 24 hours of Spa on the last weekend of July. He will share his regular AKKA-ASP Mercedes with Vautier and Dutchman Renger van der Zande for the Belgian endurance.
Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup | Nürburgring (Germany)
1: R.Bell/A.Parente (McLaren 650S GT3)
2: W.Stevens/R.Rast (Audi R8 LMS)
3: J.Szymkowiak/B.Schneider (Mercedes-AMG GT3)
4: E.Ide/C.Mies (Audi R8 LMS)
5: N.Siedler/M.Seefried (Ferrari 458 GT3)
10: T.Vautier/F.Rosenqvist (Mercedes-AMG GT3)