Umbrellas not parasols were the order of the day at a damp Zandvoort but the Grasser Racing pair of Jeroen Bleekemolen and Hari Proczyk led the Qualifying race from start to finish, having taken Pole Position by 3/10s the previous day, despite twice losing hard won gaps due to safety car interventions. The win in front of Bleekemolen’s home crowd was the third on the bounce for the #28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini, which won both races last time out at Brands Hatch in May.
Bleekemolen’s #28 Lamborghini led the #1 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi of Laurens Vanthoor into the first turn and these two began to pull away from the field. Peter Kox, started third in the Reiter Lamborghini, made a hash of his start ending up sixth after letting Rene Rast in the #2 WRT Audi, Max Buhk in the #84 HTP Mercedes, and Alessandro Balzan in the #90 Scuderia Villorba Corse Ferrari past. Balzan had recovered well from barging across eighth-place qualifier Sergio Jimenez’s #0 BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil BMW Z4. Jimenez’s no-fault-of-his-own long trip along the grass left lasting front-right damage and, eventual, retirement. Balzan received the black-and-white driving standards flag for his troubles.
At the beginning of the race all had started on slick tyres even if there was rain in the air, it was not enough for inters. But then the spots of rain gradually became heavier, and more frequent, and built-up, until a downpour added to that which had fallen creating puddles and small streams across the track. With the opening of the pit window imminent the drivers stayed out, picking their way carefully around a dicey track.
Evidently not careful enough though; Marcus Winkelhock, clearly enjoying the conditions, passing both Kox and Balzan to move up to fifth, landed the #6 Phoenix Racing Audi in a gravel trap bringing out the safety car. Inevitably, Bleekemolen lost his hard-won lead gap of six seconds but, strategy to the fore, slowed down sufficiently to avoid an additional rain-soaked on slicks lap and be the first car to get into pitlane when the pit window opened. Genius-like thinking from the pit-wall.
First in, so first out goes the theory, and practice matched theory for Grasser Racing as Hari Proczyk emerged from the pits with the lead intact. The second in second out theory was put to the test by Team WRT and they were found wanting when some un-Audi-like front-right issues saw Cesar Ramos emerge eigth and Maximilian Götz, now in the #84 HTP Motorsport Mercedes, inherit second ahead of Stefan Rosina in the #88 Reiter Engineering Lamborghini in third, still behind the safety car that came in shortly after the pit-window closed.
Proczyk, appearing equally at home in the wet as team mate Bleekemolen had, led Gotz by 1.6s as the rain began to ease a little. Enzo Ide, fourth in the #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi, set about passing Stefan Rosina’s Lambo and succeded with 15mins or so left to run. Ide had made short work of passing Rosina, but when Filip Salaquarda tried to follow suit, his #90 Scuderia Villorba Corse Ferrari collided with Rosina’s Lamborghini, both cars went off, causing another safety car intervention.
Further rain and repairs meant the saftey car did not pull-in until there were just two laps to go and Proczyk driving the by now widest Lamborghini in the world held-off Götz to take the win. Meanwhile, Ramos took third with a cojones grandes move on Ide, driving round the outside at Tarzan.
A mistake by Stefano Colombo in the #34 ROAL Motorsport BMW Z4 forced an early pitstop and handed the Silver Cup to Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski in #4 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT who just had to finish to take maximum points with the Fortec Mercedes a lap down.
In Pro-Am; Basseng handed the #5 Phoenix Racing Audi over to young Brit Alessandro Latif in the class lead, and to be fair Latif held that position throughout his stint. Until the second safety car re-start that is; when he got mugged by a swathe of cars behind him, one of which was Sascha Halek in the #27 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini who took the class win in the process.
Top 10 Q-Race finishers
1 – #28 Proczyk/Bleekemolen – Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini 30 laps
2 – #84 Götz/Buhk – HTP Motorsport Mercedes + 0.408
3 – #1 Ramos/Vanthoor – Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi + 2.245
4 – #2 Ide/Rast – Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi + 3.290
5 – #76 Baumann/Jäger – BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert BMW + 5.263
6 – #21 Renauer/van Lagen – Tonino Team Herberth Porsche + 5.480
7 – #61 Pentus/Lloyd – Bhaitech McLaren + 15.331
8 – #27 Halek/ Landmann – Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini + 20.376
9 – #3 Rusinov/Ortelli – G-Drive Racing Audi + 28.327
10 – #5 Latif/Basseng – Phoenix Racing Audi + 29.095
The ‘Main Race’ Report can be found here