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GT4 Cup, Zolder - Rounds 10, 11 & 12 Report

The Zolder circuit was the place for rounds 10, 11 and 12 of the 2011 GT4 Cup. Fifteen cars were entered for the fourth weekend of the season, which supported the Superleague Formula event at the Belgian circuit.

In Qualifying the Dutch drivers dominated with Ricardo van der Ende and his Ekris BMW entered BMW M3 GT4 taking pole position in the first qualifying session ahead of Cor Euser (Lotus Evora GT4), Jan Joris Verheul (Aston Martin Vantage GT4) and Peter van der Kolk (Corvette C6 GT4). Jeroen Bleekemolen took pole position in the second qualifying session, in his Datahouse Corvette. Stefano D’Aste was second and Duncan Huisman third.

Star of race 1 was Stefano D’Aste. Having started the race from a poor 12th place on the grid the Italian had a quick start and managed to pass the cars ahead of him lap after lap. With under ten minutes left in the race the Lotus Evora GT4 was trailing the Lotus of Cor Euser and the BMW of Ricardo van der Ende. As it started to rain the track became more slippery, but it didn’t prevent D’Aste from attacking Euser and go after Van der Ende. Two laps before the end of the race D’Aste passed the BMW into the first corner and went on to win the race. Behind Van der Ende and Euser it was Verheul who crossed the line in fourth place, but a post-race penalty for Verheul meant Ant Scragg was classified in fourth place.

Race 2 saw no heroic drive from Stefano D’Aste, but Bleekemolen leading from start to finish. The Corvette driver was challenged by D’Aste and Huisman, the BMW driver letting his two rivals fight it out and save his tires after realizing he wasn’t able to beat them both. Christ Stockton was taken out of the race whilst in fifth place, after Ollie Jackson ran into him. Stockton did return but eventually retired with damage related to the incident. Bleekemolen however did not have that issues and managed to keep in front of the Lotus Evora. After 25 minutes the #63 Corvette crossed the line to win race 2, with the #22 Lotus finishing in second position, just four tenths behind. Huisman secured third place.

After the two sprint races it was time for the 50 minutes long feature race. After the start there were six drivers battling for the lead: Phil Bastiaans, Duncan Huisman, Stefano D’Aste, Simon Knap, Dick Freebird and Peter van der Kolk. While Huisman and D’Aste started chasing Bastiaans, a Dutch GT4 entrant, Van der Kolk tried to keep as close as possible to the leaders before handing over to Jeroen Bleekemolen.

When all drivers had made their pitstops D’Aste was the leader, just ahead of Bleekemolen and Van der Ende. The gap remained between D’Aste and Bleekemolen remained around a second, until D’Aste suffered a puncture with just five minutes left. Bleekemolen was handed the lead and then cruised to victory. Van der Ende finished in second place and Dennis Retera finished in third place in his Aston.

After 12 rounds Ricard van der Ende is leading the GT4 Cup, 16 points ahead of his teammate Duncan Huisman and 27 points clear of Stefano D’Aste. Jeroen Bleekemolen is not classified due to not competing in all rounds.

The next round of the GT4 Cup will take place in Assen in September, where the series will join the ADAC GT Masters weekend.

MtC