Double podium delight for R-Motorsport at Zandvoort

Sunday, July 14, 2019

It was double class podium delight this weekend for R-Motorsport's Silver Cup duo of Hugo de Sadeleer and Aaro Vainio at the third round of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe Series from Zandvoort, The Netherlands.

Having had what could have been considered as a great meeting last time out at Misano when the #62 Aston Martin Racing Vantage GT3 secured a P4 in race 1 before going some better by converting that into a P2 podium finish in race 2, then Zandvoort will have been their 'Christmas come early' meeting with two worthy top step class finishes for the Finnish/Swiss combo.

Arriving in Holland to some very mixed weather conditions, all very opposite to the heatwave that they had just contested with in Italy, Zandvoort started off with early possibilities for the team as their two AMR Vantage's Qualified P5 and P9 for the #76 car of Ricky Collard and Marvin Kirchhofer and De Sadeleer and Vainio respectively.

Race one got off to the expected door to door hustle and bustle on the opening lap but that sadly culminated in a multi car accident on the opening lap that forced a Safety Car - losing the race nearly ten minutes of its allotted one hour of running. As the top three cars broke away on the restart, Collard in his #76 was quickly becoming the bottleneck as the rest of the field tried to pass the young Brit but without much success.

At the opening of the pit window, most of the top ten runners pitted - including the #76 car but the sister #62 carried on for a further lap.

By the time the stops had all been completed the positions of the two grey AMR's had changed with the #76 of Kirchhofer in P7 overall with the sister #62 car of Vainio just behind in P8 but running P2 in the Silver Cup class. The tightness of the track and comparative speeds of modern GT3's proved again difficult for any car to overtake but pressure from the #76 forced the then Sliver Cup leading Mercedes AMG to miss its braking point sending them straight into the gravel trap allowing the #62 to also pass the #76 for position to for it to claim P6 overall and P1 in Silver Cup. The #76 would finish race one in P7 - still valuable points for the team.

For Sundays race the starting positions had again been quantified in Saturday Qualifying with Pro #76 car again starting ahead of the Silver Cup #62 car in P9 and P13 respectively for Kirchhofer and De Sadeleer.

The start of the race was delayed as an Audi became stranded on the first formation lap requiring the Safety Car led pack to go around once again. Another seemingly long hold as the pack approached the line finally first appeared as if it would cause the same carnage as the GT4 European Series suffered in its second race of the weekend but at least that wasn't to be.

Some signs of rain falling around parts of the coastal circuit must have thrown caution into the minds of the starting drivers as the racing, although fast and frantic, was extremely orderly and risk adverse. For this race, the Vantage GT3 didn't appear to be quite on the pace and certainly was nowhere near able to meet the pace of the leading cars to quickly fall over twenty seconds back.

Whilst that hurt the Pro #76 car it was fortunately not the same for the #62 Silver Cup car as the impeding pit stop would allow them to leapfrog five cars in the pack (but more important over the then class leading Audi) to move up to P9 and P1 in Silver Cup. The #76 car meanwhile would lose twelve places after its stop!!

By the chequered flag, The #62 would cement its position on track to claim their second class win of the weekend with their P8 finish whilst Collard would recover to a P18 finish - massively disappointing for them.

Next stop in the Championship is at the Nurburgring at the end of August - meanwhile for R-Motorsport there is the small issue of the Total Spa 24!!

Photo credits - Blancpain GT 

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