Fredrik Blomstedt and Raoul Owens (R-ace GP #2) triumphed in the Renault Sport Trophy Endurance race at Circuit Spa-Francorchamps. At the end of a dramatic affair in which Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #9) started from pole to win the intermediate classification, the pair drove an error-free race to take the honours ahead of Jeroen and Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur #21). Former F1 driver Robert Kubica and partner Christophe Hamon (Duqueine Engineering #16) completed the podium in a race that has totally relaunched the championships.
On Saturday, Fabian Schiller and Pieter Schothorst dominated their respective qualifying sessions. Fabian Schiller started the Endurance race from pole followed by Fredrik Blomstedt and Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur #19).
Schiller emerges from the chaos
While Fabian Schiller held on to the lead at the start, the safety car was quickly called into service following the accident of Andrés Mendez (Oregon Team #4), Diederik Sijthoff (V8 Racing #8) and Dennis Andersen (High Class Racing #11).
The race resumed on lap six, with no changes in the top three when the pit window opened. Fabian Schiller took maximum points ahead of Fredrik Blomstedt and Miguel Ramos.
Fourth despite an accident in qualifying, Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #15) was sanctioned for his involvement in an incident. The Spaniard was ninth behind Christophe Hamon, Jeroen Schothorst, Adalberto Baptista (Oregon Team #5), Philippe Haezebrouck (R-ace GP #3) and Carmen Jorda (V8 Racing #6). Philippe Bourgois (Duqueine Engineering #15) completed the top ten.
Owens capitalizes on his consistency
Markus Palttala took over from Fabian Schiller in first place, followed by Raoul Owens, Steijn Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur #19) and Pieter Schothorst, but the latter received a penalty for not respecting the minimum time in the pits. Steijn and Pieter Schothorst nevertheless found an opening on Raoul Owens before running up against Markus Palttala. On lap 24, Pieter made his way past, followed two laps later by Steijn, but was penalised for contact, which cost the Finns dearly.
While Pieter Schothorst crossed the line first, Raoul Owens and Fredrik Blomstedt took the win after the penalties were imposed. This saw Christophe Hamon and Robert Kubica move on to the podium. Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP #3),was fourth, ahead of Steijn Schothorst, Jordan Grogor (V8 Racing #6), Tanart Sathienthirakul (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #15), Rodrigo Baptista (Oregon Team #5), Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0 #9) and Lonni Martins (Duqueine Engineering #17).
Fredrik Blomstedt: “It was a very confusing race. My stint turned out to be quite short due to the safety car, but we won on a track that I love and that is perfectly suited to the Renault Sport R.S. 01. I think I am leading in Endurance, while also being third in AM, everything is looking good for tomorrow!”
Raoul Owens: “We have been unlucky this season just until here. So, it is fantastic to get the win. It was unexpected because we didn’t have the fastest car today, but a win is still a win. I am very happy. I had no idea there were any penalties being handed out. That can trouble a driver and fortunately the team let me concentrate on our race, while trying to be a consistent as possible.”
Robert Kubica: “After nearly six years away from circuit racing, it is good to be back and on the podium. In these conditions, it is always hard to put in sensational times in a car that seems to require a lot of experience and intelligence. The Renault Sport Trophy is still very new to the team, but the changes we made paid off. I struggled a bit in the race, but I made a nice pass at the Bus Stop. We can be delighted with this performance!”
Provisional General Classification Endurance *
1. Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP) 82
2. M. Palttala - F. Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 69
3. Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP) 67
4. P. Schothorst - J. Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) 58
5. R. Owens (R-ace GP) 53
Provisional General Classification PRO *
1. Pieter Schothorst (Equipe Verschuur) 91
2. David Fumanelli (Oregon Team) 71
3. Kevin Korjus (R-ace GP) 68
4. Markus Palttala (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 63
5. Lewis Williamson (Strakka Racing) 43
Provisional General Classification AM*
1. Fabian Schiller (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 128
2. Fran Rueda (Team Marc VDS EG 0,0) 117
3. Fredrik Blomstedt (R-ace GP) 105
4. Miguel Ramos (Equipe Verschuur) 76
5. Andres Mendez (Oregon Team) 58
* Results subject to confirmation following technical and sporting verifications