Sunday 1 July 2012

Blancpain Endurance Series: Audi emerges unscathed in the battle of Le Castellet while Ferrari completes clean sweep in PRO-AM

Audi emerges unscathed in the battle of Le Castellet while Ferrari completes clean sweep in PRO-AM

Blancpain Endurance Series – Paul Ricard, France, RACE

Top 10 Results:

The Belgian Audi Club Team WRT Audi R8 LMS No.1 of German duo Christopher Haase and Christopher Mies and Stephane Ortelli (MCO) secured overall victory in an incident-packed race at Circuit Paul Ricard.

The 2011 PRO teams’ champions led home the 2012 season pace-setters Bas Leinders, Maxime Martin and Markus Palttala in the No.3 Marc VDS Racing BMW Z4. It broke a sequence of four straight wins in Blancpain Endurance Series races for the Belgian team.

“I have been racing here many times but never with so many cars so it is a good feeling to win here in such tough competition,” Ortelli said. “I am pleased for my co-drivers and for the team. We have a great family feeling at WRT.

It was a good comeback after a difficult Free Practice. I want to dedicate this win to my dad Jean who first brought me here in 1973.”

Third place went to the No.71 PRO Kessel Racing Ferrari of Italian trio Stefano Gattuso, David Rigon and Daniel Zampieri.

In fourth overall and first in PRO-AM was the No.52 AF Corse Ferrari of Niek Hommerson (NLD), Louis Machiels (BEL) and Andrea Bertolini (ITA). It was a stunning performance from 27th on the grid.

The tale of the race was a string of retirements from the front runners. As a consequence, the finishing order both overall and in class had a fresh look about it as the incidents and accidents took their toll.

There were some notable casualties among the contenders at the sharp end.

Among them was the pole-sitting PRO-AM No.64 Black Bull Swiss Racing Ferrari 458 Italia of Mirko Venturi (ITA) which made an unscheduled visit to the pit lane after 12 minutes with a terminal gearbox problem. The Ferrari had been on the pace all weekend and had been expected to finish strongly in the race. Venturi was credited with the fastest lap of the race – a 1:57.845.

There was also drama in the Gentlemen Trophy class with the GCR Racing/Guy Clairay Dodge Viper No.82 catching fire at T12 with one hour remaining.

The mishap allowed the Swedish trio of Jan Brunstedt, Mikael Bender and Jocke Mangs, the pole sitters in the class in the JB Motorsport Audi R8 LMS No.98, to take the spoils.

Race reaction and official results to follow…

How to follow the Blancpain Endurance Series:


Live streaming of each race will also be shown on the official web site

Watch the 2012 season preview on the Blancpain Endurance Series Youtube channel.

Read David Addison’s blog Moonlighting at


The series will feature in live broadcast across 22 channels globally with a number of other key broadcasters showing extended highlights in territories such as Europe, Australia, North America and Latin America.

Bloomberg Television will also broadcast highlights worldwide (Americas, Pan Euro, Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific). That all adds up to a global audience reach of over 350 million homes.

Motors TV will carry live coverage to viewers in over 20 countries across Europe.

Cameron Kelleher

Head of Communications
SRO Motorsports Group

Blancpain, a tradition of innovation for over 275 years

In 1735, Jehan-Jacques Blancpain began his watchmaking activity and installed his first workshop on the upper floor of his family home in Villeret, a village in the Swiss Jura mountains. By inscribing his name in the official communal property register, this pioneer created an establishment that is now the world’s oldest watch brand.

Throughout its history, Blancpain has succeeded in maintaining solid continuity in its
capacity for innovation and its respect for traditional horological values. Whether by perfecting complications, designs and production methods, or by exploring new horizons, the Manufacture has been devoted for more than 275 years to taking the art of watchmaking to places it has never yet ventured. From the first models created in the 18th century to the prestigious timepieces currently emerging from its workshops, Blancpain has forged an authentic tradition of innovation. The key to its success lies in the mastery of all fields involved in making an exceptional mechanical timepiece – from the creation of the movement and its components through to the functional design of the watch, along with the choice of materials and the extremely refined and entirely hand-crafted finishing.

Without ever straying from its precious heritage, the brand steadfastly pursues its quest for performance, precision and elegance by offering a range of exceptional timepieces equipped with the most sophisticated horological complications. The nature of its collections – including the pure lines of the Villeret, the efficient complexity of Le Brassus, and the avant-garde design of L- evolution – is firmly rooted in watchmaking traditions while constantly pushing them towards new limits. In the same way, the ladies’ collection celebrates beauty and refinement, while the Sport collection is composed of instrument watches that are ready to face any situation on land, under water or in the air.

While remaining unswervingly loyal to its values, Blancpain regularly associates with partners that share its passion for excellence. Whether in the field of motorsports, sailing, scuba diving, or that of gastronomy and the art of living, the Manufacture is proud of its partnerships that represent far more than mere co-branding. On the contrary, Blancpain commits itself fully to such forms of cooperation by joining forces with its partners in a determination to excel and to foster both creativity and authenticity.

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