One week after conquering a first podium finish at Zolder, in the season-opener of the Belcar, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT is ready to compete its first international event of its 2011 campaign, on the legendary circuit of Monza. This will be the inaugural race of the new Blancpain Endurance Series, where the Belgian squad will be present with two top driver line-ups: Longin-Ortelli-Albuquerque and Franchi-Piccini-Fassler.
At 2 pm on Sunday, when the two Audis R8 LMS of the team co-managed by Vincent Vosse, Rene Verbist and Yves Weerts, will take the start of the Blancpain Endurance Series season-opener in Monza, it will be a very special moment for the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT, which made its race
debut only one year ago.
“This will be our first real outing in an international event “, explains team manager Vincent Vosse, “I think that we can be proud of the progress made in one year, but we do not want to fall into complacence. When competing against teams such as Vitaphone, whose professionalism I know firsthand from my driver days, Hexis AMR, Reiter or Autorlando, every detail is crucial. This said, I look forward to be in Monza for the kick-off of this new championship which promises to be very exciting and will have its high point at the Spa-Francorchamps 24 Hours, “the” event for any Belgian team. With two excellent driver teams, our objective won’t certainly be to take a stroll… We want to be fighting for the top positions!”
Let’s talk about the driver line-ups, precisely! Joined by Monaco’s Stephane Ortelli and young Portuguese Filipe Albuquerque, Bert Longin knows that he will be in good company: “I’ve known Stephane for over 15 years “, says the man from Leuven, “He’s not only fast, but also a very good guy. I don’t know Filipe that well, but I’m told that he is a fast and clever young man. We really have a good trio, and when you look at the entry list, which is impressive, this is a must-have! On a personal ground, I am delighted to have the opportunity to race in this series and in the Belcar with the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT. To do the entire season with the same car and the same team is an advantage, as you don’t lose time and energy to re-adjust every time. It was evident last weekend in Zolder that the team has progressed a lot, both in performance and in exploiting the car. I feel I am really in the right environment to bring my career a step forward.”
In the track in the outskirts of Milan, the second Audi R8 LMS of the Belgian team will be entrusted to Gregory Franchi, associated with to international GT stars such as Italy’s Andrea Piccini and Switzerland’s Marcel Fassler. The man from Liege is anxious to be at the wheel: “I’m counting down the days”, says Greg, «Except for the test in Francorchamps, I haven’t been driving since the Zolder 10 Hours last year. But I’m not too concerned, as I know well the car and feel good in the team. If the balance of performance is correctly calculated, I think we can aim at the podium. My objective is to fight for the title, with the support of my team mates. Apart from Andrea and Marcel, it is foreseen that I will be associated during the season also with Timo Scheider and Mattias Ekstrom, so with very top drivers!”
With an entry list of 35 cars, which includes teams and drivers of first choice, the season-opener of the Blancpain Endurance Series is expected to be a 3-hour sprint race, where the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT hopes to bring high the colors of Audi and Belgium.