03/07/2016 – The weekend just ended at the circuit of Nurburgring, third round of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup 2016, has been quite exciting for I.S.R. racing that has been once again very close to the podium.
The two Audis R8 LMS run by the Czech team showed a good performance level since free practice when they put in great times that confirmed both lineups in the top ten. In qualifying, Frank Stippler (GER) and Filip Salaquarda (CZ) earned the third row of the grid taking the number 75 car on P6 in 1:26.491s, a lap time that was only two tenths shy of the pole position. Team mates Marlon Stockinger (PHL) and Franck Perera (FRA) ended tenth on the number 74 car with a great 1:26.597s.
Perera put in a great start of the Qualifying Race and installed himself in fourth place. Thanks to an effective driving, Perera has later on kept contact with the front runners all the way to the pit stop. Stockinger, at his maiden season in Blancpain GT Series, took over the wheel of the number 74 Audi R8 LMS in quite a tricky stage of the race, but managed to keep his cool running a wise and consistent race. The driver from Philippines fought a good battle for the top three, closing his effort with a good fourth place, just shy of the podium. Perera set the fastest lap of the race in 1:28.793s. Stippler and Salaquarda were unfortunately involved, together with several other cars, in an incident at turn one and had to retire from the race early.
The Main Race has been more difficult instead. The number 75 Audi R8 LMS driven by Stippler and Salaquarda had to start from the back of the grid due to the retirement suffered on Saturday, but a convincing pace allowed the lineup to get more than fifteen positions back and to clinch the twentieth absolute place. Stockinger and Perera lost some ground in the melee of the initial stages of the race instead and completed their race in the mid of the pack in P25.
Igor Salaquarda (I.S.R. racing, Team Principal):
“We are half happy. We showed a great potential also in Nurburgring: we missed out on the podium by three seconds only and posted the fastest lap of the Qualifying Race with Marlon and Franck. Frank and Filip could have also slided in the fight for top positions, but the contact at turn one ruined their weekend. We lacked some consistency in the Main Race though and we could not score the points that most probably were at our reach”.
The Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup 2016 will get back on track at Hungaroring next 26 – 28 August.