With another race still to go in the 2017 season of the Blancpain championship, Kessel Racing secures its first title: at the Hungaroring in Budapest, the Ferrari 458 GT3 of Stephen Earle and David Perel added a new victory to the Swiss team’s list, claiming the title in the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup, AM category! Last weekend, the Hungarian track - known for rewarding driving precision – saw the fourth leg of the GT Sprint series and the fifth of the GT Sports Club.
Saturday, among cars and drivers competing in the GT Sprint Qualifying Race were Piti Bhirombhakdi and Carlo Van Dam in second place in the PRO-AM class. Success, however, for Earle and Perel in the AM. A photocopy performance in the main race in the PRO AM class with another second place for Bhirombhakdi and Van Dam. In the GT Sports Club, the qualifying race on Saturday saw our Stephen Earle give it everything, as usual, finishing in fourth place overall, second in the Iron Cup. Alexis De Bernardi in the 458 GT3 finished the first race in overall seventh position.
The Main Race, which took place on Sunday, saw our Bhirombhakdi and Van Dam come within a hair’s breadth of a category win, missing out by a mere 0.371 seconds. After Budapest, the pair holds their very close second position in the overall rankings. Stephen Earle, with the AM title already in his pocket, also raced in the GT Sports Club, where he finished third overall and first in the Iron Cup. De Bernardi, after two hard-fought races, was sixth overall, but less than two seconds from third place. After the Budapest races, the overall ranking of the drivers sees Earle and De Bernardi in tenth and eleventh position. In the Iron Cup standings, after Budapest, Earle is ahead with a three point lead.
The next race in the GT Sprint is scheduled for mid-September on the German Nurburgring track, while, for the GT Sports Club the sixth and final seasonal round is scheduled for the end of September, on the Montmelò track in Barcelona.
Ronnie Kessel (Team Owner): "We finally came back to race after a few weeks off and could not have imagined a better return, thanks to our Stephen Earle and David Perel who bring home a new title for the team. Great work also from Bhirombhakdi and Van Dam in the PRO-AM, taking two podiums. Alexis De Bernardi also did well showing great desire and is getting closer to the championship elite. Now we go home and then we’ll again be concentrated on the season grand finale that awaits us."