Zandvoort is the next stop for the Blancpain Sprint Series. The Dutch seaside resort hosts the third round of the 2014 season, after some spectacular action during the opening two rounds at Nogaro and Brands Hatch. Newcomers and series regulars alike will try to shine at the circuit in the dunes.
Next weekend the teams and drivers of the Blancpain Sprint Series will travel to Circuit Park Zandvoort, one of the most popular tracks on the calendar, appreciated by drivers and fans alike for its roller-coaster character. The venue, situated on the North Sea coastline, might seem to be an ideal holiday destination, but there will be no time to rest for the drivers. The demanding 4230-metre circuit has it all, from high-speed curves to technical and tricky turns.
At Circuit Park Zandvoort the Dutch fans will certainly be cheering for Jeroen Bleekemolen, who shares his Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini FL II with Austrian driver Hari Proczyk. Bleekemolen has shone in every qualifying session this year and together with Proczyk he won both the qualifying race and main race of the previous round at Brands Hatch.
However, the Lamborghini duo is not currently leading the points tables. That position is occupied by the two Maximilians of HTP Motorsport, thanks to a win in Nogaro and a second place finish in Brands Hatch. Mercedes drivers Götz and Buhk – the latter won at Zandvoort last year – have a nine-point advantage over Bleekemolen and Proczyk.
Another driver who will get a lot of attention is Nelson Piquet jr., back after missing Brands Hatch : not only because the Brazilian has a Dutch mother, but also because in 2003 the former F1-driver shone at the Masters of F3 at Zandvoort, taking pole position and finishing second in the prestigious single-seater event.
Piquet’s team-mates Sergio Jimenez and Caca Bueno, driving the other BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil car, will certainly try and continue their streak of good results. The Brazilian duo have finished three times on the podium this year – twice in both qualifying races and after the main race in Brands Hatch – which has led to them being third in the drivers’ standings. Jimenez has some good memories of last year’s main race at Zandvoort, when he and then team-mate Ricardo Zonta managed to climb their way back from dead last to sixth.
There will be a couple of new cars on the grid in Zandvoort as well. Tonino Team Herberth Motorsport enters a Porsche 997R GT3 for the Dutch-German duo Jaap Van Lagen-Robert Renauer, while the BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert joins the Blancpain Sprint Series with a car for Austrian youngsters Dominik Baumann and Thomas Jäger. The duo will be at the start for the remainder of the Blancpain Sprint Series season. However, Alex Zanardi and his ROAL Motorsport BMW will be absent in Zandvoort, because of a clashing commitment with the Italian’s handcycling racing programme.
In the Silver Cup, all eyes will again be on Vincent Abril and Mateusz Lisowski. The French-Polish duo has dominated the Silver cup category – reserved for Silver drivers of 25 and younger – winning three out of four races. Obviously, the Belgian Audi Club Team WRT drivers are on top of the Silver Cup standings, but they are also fourth in the overall standings.
In the Pro-Am Trophy Phoenix Racing Audi-drivers Marc Basseng and Alessandro Latif will try to repeat their dominant performance of the Brands Hatch weekend, but Austrians Halek and Landmann will surely give it their all to put their Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini in front as well.
Jeroen Bleekemolen (#28 Grasser Racing Team Lamborghini): “I was practically raised at Zandvoort. I’ve been running around in the paddock since I was a toddler. I still think it’s one of the most beautiful tracks around, and not only because I have won quite a few races here. Since we were able to show we could win in Brands Hatch, and because I think Zandvoort should suit our Lamborghini as well, we are aiming at the top step of the podium again.”
Sergio Jimenez (#0 BMW Sports Trophy Team Brasil): “For me, Zandvoort is one of the best tracks of the season. It is a very challenging, undulating circuit, on which it is difficult to overtake. The closeness to the beach and the crowd make for a great atmosphere as well. We will try to get another podium finish here and if we keep doing our job we might even fight for the championship at the end of the year.”
Dominik Baumann (#76 BMW Sports Trophy Team Schubert BMW): “I've always wanted to drive in more than one championship in the course of a season, since the more time you spend on the track, the quicker you develop further. I'm really looking forward to the new series. We will have to get used to the Pirelli tyres, though. Thanks to my time in the FIA GT championship, I know most of the tracks already.”