03/10/2016 – The final weekend of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup 2016, race held at the circuit near Barcelona, ended for I.S.R. racing with the pole position and a placing close to a deserved podium in Qualifying Race.
The intense Spanish weekend – event compacted in two racing days only, highlighted I.S.R. racing’s high potential since free practice when the two pairings managed to get a good feeling on the track. The same sensations have later on been confirmed in qualifying, as the number 74 Audi R8 LMS driven by Franck Perera (FRA) and Marlon Stockinger (PHL) claimed an extraordinary pole position with a quickest time of 1’46.493s. Frank Stippler (GER) and Filip Salaquarda (CZ) had also a strong qualifying taking the n.75 car to the ninth place of the grid with a best performance of 1’47.007s.
The Qualifying Race run on Sunday morning has been more complicated than expected. Poleman Franck Perera had to fend off rials, especially in the long main straight where slipstreaming is quite important. At turn one several cars cat through and the n.74 Audi R8 LMS was pushed down to P6 in the heat of the start. The great race pace put in by Perera and Stockinger made them recoup well up to P3, but a contact with the car number one in the closing stages stripped them of a deserved podium and made them slip down to the twenty-sixth place.
Salaquarda started the race on the n.75 challenger and got one place back chasing the drivers ahead of him. During the initial laps, a contact with the number 8 Bentley ended up in a puncture pushing I.S.R.’s drivers away from the top. After the drivers change, Stippler was involved in another contact, this time with the n.84 Mercedes-AMG, which forced the German to a second stop and relegated the pairing to P21.
The Main Race saw both pairings of the Czech outfit starting from the back and kept them to busy with some mid field battles. Stippler and Salaquarda recovered a stunning nine positions ending 12th absolute. Perera and Stockinger also recovered nine positions and ended their effort in P17.
Igor Salaquarda (I.S.R. racing, Team Principal):
“Taking the pole position in the closing race of the season is a great satisfaction. Obviously, we were motivated to end the season on a high and starting on top gave us a lot of optimism. We just missed out on getting the podium and I want to thank the whole team for the great job done: the pits crew, our partners and drivers that managed to get the most out of our Audis R8 LMS, improving their performance race after race. It has been a challenging year, as we have also been competing in Blancpain GT Series Endurance Cup, but we showed good competitiveness and constancy scoring important results in several occasions, despite this being our second complete season.”