AF Corse’s Patrick Van Glabeke enjoyed a successful Saturday at the Hungaroring, converting his first pole position of the season into a maiden win in the 2017 Blancpain GT Sports Club for the #488 Ferrari 488 GT3.
In the Iron Cup category reserved for drivers aged 60 and more, Klaus Dieter Frers extended his points lead over title rival Stephen Earle with another class win aboard the #3 Artega Rennsport Ferrari 488 GT3.
Lining up on pole, Van Glabeke led into the first corner ahead ofBlancpain GT Sports Club Overall points leader Anthony Pons and his #72 Mercedes-AMG GT3. The AKKA ASP driver was soon on the move though, shadowing the AF Corse racer in the early stages.
Pons eventually launched an attack at the penultimate corner to edge past Van Glabeke and into the race lead. The Frenchman then steadily opened the gap up front, while his nearest rival found himself engaged in a closely-fought battle with his AF Corse team-mate Christoph Ulrich in the #51 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3.
Right behind, Karim Ojjeh was showing strong pace as well in the #2 BMW M6 GT3 when he hit the barriers on Lap 6 and had to withdraw from the 25-minute contest. The incident brought out double yellow flags, with several cars not slowing down enough in the area. Among them was the race-leading Mercedes of Pons, who was ultimately handed a post-race 30-second time penalty.
This demoted the AKKA ASP racer down to sixth and lifted Van Glabeke back to first place. The Belgian ace still had to fend off Ulrich’s strong challenge to pick up his maiden victory of the season. The latter would find solace in securing his first-ever podium in the Blancpain GT Sports Club.
Third position overall went to Iron Cup charger Frers, who also claimed a fourth class victory this year to increase his points lead over Kessel Racing’s Stephen Earle (#111 Ferrari 458 Italia GT3) by two points. It is worth bearing in mind that the US charger had also taken part in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup Qualifying Race earlier in the afternoon.
Earle finished fourth overall, ahead of HP Racing’s Coach McKansy and the #17 Lamborghini Huracan GT3. The final point on offer went to Pons.
On another note, this weekend’s reduced Blancpain GT Sports field has been the result of unfortunate circumstances, which included drivers’ injuries and cars that were damaged at the previous round in Spa and could not be repaired in time. The usual entry list of 20 to 25 challengers is expected for the season finale in Barcelona.
Patrick Van Glabeke, #488 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3: “I was hoping for one win in the Blancpain GT Sports Club this year and I expected it at the previous round in Spa but I was a bit unlucky over there. Winning this race feels great. I had never raced at the Hungaroring until a couple of weeks ago when I came testing. That helped a lot because this is a quite difficult track to master. I had a good coach from AF Corse and the team did a great job in setting up the car perfectly. I had a solid race pace and was feeling confident in the car.”
Christoph Ulrich, #51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3: “It was an exciting race! I had a close fight with Patrick [Van Glabeke] throughout the event. I did not want to take all the risks and crash with him in the end, especially as we are team-mates. The track was very slippery off the line since there were oil and debris so you could end up in trouble fast if you tried overtaking too much. Still, I am very happy because this is my first podium in the Blancpain GT Sports Club since I joined last year. It’s just an awesome feeling!”
Klaus Dieter Frers, #3 Artega Rennsport Ferrar 488 GT3: “I started a bit slowly because the tyre pressure was not high enough, so I had some problem on the kerbs and had to back off. When the pressure came back, I could push more. This is my first time on the Overall podium, and I get the Iron Cup win. What more could I ask for? I know, to do it all over again on Sunday!”
Van Glabeke’s Qualifying Race win means the #488 Ferrari 488 GT3 will also start Sunday’s main event from pole position, with team-mate Ulrich alongside him. Make sure to follow our live coverage of the event on the official Blancpain GT Sport Club website and Facebook page, as well as on SRO Motorsports Group’s GT World YouTube channel.
1. Patrick Van Glabeke (#488 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3) en route to the Blancpain GT Sports Club Qualifying Race victory at the Hungarorirng
2. The Iron Cup podium following Saturday’s Blancpain GT Sports Club Qualifying Race with, from left to right, Stephen Earle (#111 Kessel Racing Ferrari 458 Italia GT3), Klaus Dieter Frers (#3 Artega Rennsport Ferrari 488 GT3), and Louis-Philippe Soenen (#50 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3)
3. The Overall podium following Saturday’s Blancpain GT Sports Club Qualifying Race with, from left to right, Christop Ulrich (#51 AF Corse Ferrari 458 Italia GT3), Patrick Van Glabeke (#488 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3), and Klaus Dieter Frers (#3 Artega Rennsport Ferrari 488 GT3)