Fredrik Blomstedt and Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP #3) have won the Renault Sport Trophy Endurance race at the Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari di Imola. Starting from pole, the Swede and Estonian pair had to battle to take the win against first time podium finishers Andres Mendez and Bruno Bonifacio (Oregon Team #4) and Fabian Schiller and Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #9). With the win, Fredrik Blomstedt and Kevin Korjus take the lead in the Endurance general classification, while Fabian Schiller extends his lead in AM.
Bruno Bonifacio and Fredrik Blomstedt dominated their respective qualifying sessions. The Swede then started the Endurance race ahead of Fabian Schiller, Toni Forné (R-ace GP #2), Andres Mendez and Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #15).
Another 25 points for Schiller despite an extra 40kg
Fredrik Blomstedt held onto the lead before going wide at Acque Minerali. While Fabian Schiller and Toni Forné took advantage, the Swede quickly re-took the spot from his team mate, but couldn’t get past the German, who started the race with 40kgs of compensation weight after his win at Motorland Aragón.
Further back, the action was heating up with Toni Forné getting overtaken by Andres Mendez and Fran Rueda. Seventh at the start, Jelle Beelen (V8 Racing #7) picked up two positions before dropping out on lap four. Carmen Jorda (V8 Racing #6) experienced a similar fate when her move through the field came to an end with a long stop in the pits.
Before the opening of the pit window, Fabian Schiller led the way, followed by Fredrik Blomstedt and Andres Mendez. Fourth, Toni Forné was in front of Fran Rueda, Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur #19), who didn’t leave the pits in time before the race, and Ash Hand (Oregon Team #5), penalised for a contact with Nick Leventis (Strakka Racing #42). Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing #11), Jeroen Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur #21) and Nick Leventis completed the top ten after the penalties for not respecting track limits were handed to Davide Roda (Oregon Team #1) and Oliver Freymuth (V8 Racing #8).
Korjus takes the win for his crew
Contrary to his pursuers, Fabian Schiller held off in making his trip to the stands to handover to Markus Palttala. A winning gamble, because the Finn went back out ahead of Kevin Korjus and Bruno Bonifacio. But the 2010 Eurocup Formula Renault 2.0 champion moved into the lead on lap 24 and won in front of Bruno Bonifacio, who got around Markus Palttala three laps from the flag.
Despite a 15-second penalty for not respecting the minimum pit stop time, Raoul Owens assured fourth place for he and team mate Toni Forné, ahead of Roy Geerts (Equipe Verschuur #19) and David Fumanelli (Oregon Team #5), however his car was demoted to P8 after the penalty handed to his teammate Ash Hand. Further back, Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur #21) and Lewis Williamson (Strakka Racing #42) passed Tanart Sathienthirakul (Team Marc VDS EG 9,9 #15) in the late stages of the race, while Anders Fjordbach (High Class Racing #11) completed the list of point scorers.
Fredrik Blomstedt: “So far, I struggled to get the most out of the new tyres in qualifying, but everything lined up nicely for us this morning to take the pole position with a nice gap. Despite a good start, my tyres were not up to temperature and I lost two positions on lap two. I managed to quickly overtake Toni, then catch up to Fabian but he did a good job defending his place and I couldn’t find my way around before handing over to Kevin.”
Kevin Korjus: “We were two seconds behind when I got in the car. As we made the driver change really early, I attacked immediately to catch Markus. I really wanted to pass him as early as possible and not get caught in a sandwich with Bruno who closed the gap. It took me six laps, but once I was in the lead I was able to pull away and control the race.”
Fabian Schiller: “Despite a rather decent start, I wasn’t able to take the lead, but Fredrik’s error allowed me to. For a few laps, I could widen the gap before I made two big mistakes in going through the gravel. Fredrik caught back up and we then had a fine battle. I could have pulled away, but it is hard to do quickly with 40 extra kilograms!”
Provisional Endurance General Classification*
1. K. Korjus – F. Blomstedt (R-ace GP) 43
2. M. Palttala – F. Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 40
3. R. Owens – T. Forné (R-ace GP) 24
4. L. Williamson (Strakka Racing) 21
5. B. Bonifacio – A. Mendez (Oregon Team) 18
Provisional General Classification PRO*
1. Lewis Williamson (Strakka Racing) 43
2. Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP) 35
3. Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 27
4. Nicky Pastorelli (V8 Racing) 22
5. Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) 16
Provisional General Classification AM*
1. Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 50
2. Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 30
3. Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) 23
4. Andres Mendez (Oregon Team) 21
5. Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP) 18
* Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications