Bentley Motorsport make its debut at the Blancpain Sprint Series Cup debut over the weekend – 9th to 10th April. The 2016 Blancpain GT Series is in its third season and has just had its first round in Misano Italy, ahead of further races in Monza later this month. Of course, the past weekend wasn’t just the debut for Bentley Motorsport’s works, as the team’s #8 M-Sport Continental GT3 won the first race, putting the vehicle in pole position for Sunday’s upcoming event.
Saturday featured a one-hour long race at night and saw Andy Soucek and Maxime Soulet start on slick tyres instead of wets, which was the choice for the majority of the 38 competitors in the competition. Arguably, it was the rogue choice to drive on slick tyres that saw the Bentley team come to victory in its debut Sprint Series Cup race. Moving into pole position for the main event on 10th April meant that Bentley now had eight valuable points to help it build towards the Blancpain GT Series and Sprint Series Cup titles.
However, Sunday wasn’t to be as fortuitous for Bentley, as the #8 Continental GT3 driven by Soulet was struck by another driver from behind and it was sent spinning out of control and completely off its stride. It was a shame that happened, as up until that point, Soulet had been powering the Continental in third place. However, after making up a lot of ground, Soucek managed to cross the finish line in an overall 11th place. The #7 Continental GT3 driven by Steven Kane and defending Sprint Series Cup champion Vince Abril also moved positions, starting the main race from position 20 and finishing up a respectable 17th at the end of the day.
Brian Gush, Bentley’s director of motorsport, said: “We struggled to match the qualifying pace, so we knew we had to rely on strategy to get a result in the races. We took a gamble with tyres with car number eight and it paid off.” The Blancpain GT Series will be continuing at Monza in Milan in two week’s time to kick off the first of five endurance races where we will see further performance from Bentley Motorsport’s two Continental GT3s.
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