Dennis excels in Hungary qualifying

Saturday, 26 August 2017

Blancpain GT Series, Round 8, Sprint Cup, Hungaroring – Qualifying:

An excellent shoot out performance from Jake Dennis ensured that the #3 WRT Audi R8 LMS will start the Qualifying Race of round eight of the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup from fourth position at the Hungaroring.

The Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver, teaming up with Dutch racer Pieter Schothorst for the weekend, headed into Saturday morning’s qualifying session with the Team WRT squad experiencing positive results in the previous day’s practice sessions.

Fellow RSF-backed racer Ben Barnicoat teamed up with regular sprint team-mate Alvaro Parente in the #58 Strakka Racing-run McLaren 650 S GT3 machine.

Schothorst and Barnicoat headed out in their respective cars in the 15-minute, first of three qualifying sessions. The Strakka outfit held their three McLaren cars in the pit lane towards the end of the session, enabling Barnicoat to set the seventh quickest time of 1m 44.079s despite losing a quicker time to track limits infringements.

Schothorst found Q1 life trickier, struggling to get a quick lap time in traffic and only able to set a time of 1m 52.471s which was good enough for 24th position.

Dennis climbed into the #3 Audi for the second qualifying session and immediately found space on the track on his first flying tour of the 2.7-mile circuit, setting the sixth overall quickest lap.

The 2012 McLaren Autosport BRDC Award winner then improved further on his second lap to move into third position with a time of 1m 42.854s and ended the session in 10th position as other drivers improved.

Barnicoat’s team-mate Parente improved the car’s best overall time in Q2 with a lap of 1m 43.217s, concluding the session in 18th position. Unfortunately that time was not enough to enable the McLaren to move into the final third qualifying session and the car would start Saturday’s qualifying race from 18th on the grid.

Dennis remained in the #3 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS for the third qualifying session, and immediately continued his earlier form. With limited time leaving drivers no room for error, Dennis improved the car’s overall time on his first two successive flying laps, moving up to fourth place overall.

On his third and final flying lap, personal best times in sectors one and three were good enough to improve Dennis’ lap time to 1m 42.620s, but it was not quick enough to move any further spots on the grid.

The #3 Team WRT Audi will therefore start from fourth place for Saturday afternoon’s Qualifying Race encounter.

The fellow #5 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS of Marcel Fässler and Dries Vanthoor continued their domination of the weekend by scoring pole position with a time of 1m 42.359s. The Lamborgini Huracan GT3 machine of Christian Engelhart and Mirko Bortolotti will start alongside from second position.

Hungaroring (4.381km / 2.722 miles): Qualifying (Top 10)  
Pos Driver Team Car Time / Gap
1 Fässler / Vanthoor Team WRT Audi R8 LMS 1m 42.359s
2 Engelhart / Bortolotti GRT Grasser Racing Lambourghini Huracan GT3 +0.171s
3 Perera / Buhk HTP Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 +0.183s
4 Dennis / Schothorst Team WRT Audi R8 LMS +0.261s
5 Leonard / Frijns Team WRT Audi R8 LMS +0.261s
6 Baumann / Eriksson AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 +0.309s
7 Ide / Mies Team WRT Audi R8 LMS +0.307s
8 Meadows / Marciello AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 +0.309s
9 Soulet / Soucek Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 +0.401s
10 Abril / Kane Bentley Team M-Sport Bentley Continental GT3 +0.440s
13 Barnicoat / Parente Strakka Racing McLaren 650 S GT3 +0.858s
Conditions: Sunny/Dry/Warm      


Weekend summary

Free practice 1: Barnicoat/Parente 23rd, 1m 45.314s, +1.228s; Dennis/Schothorst 9th, 1m 44.410s, +0.324s. Free practice 2: Barnicoat/Parente 13th, 1m 43.544s, +0.641s; Dennis/Schothorst 14th, 1m 43.564s, +0.661s. Qualifying: Barnicoat/Parente 18th, 1m 43.217s, +0.858s; Dennis/Schothorst 4th, 1m 42.620s, +0.261s.

Photo: Olivier Beroud / Vision Sport Agency. Copyright-free Racing Steps Foundation images are available from the RSF Image Bank at

Racing calendar


09 Mar ‘17

IMSA, test: Sebring


13-14 Mar ‘17

Blancpain GT Series, test: Paul Ricard


15-18 Mar ‘17

IMSA, Rd 3: 12 Hours of Sebring


31 Mar-02 Apr ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 1, Sprint Cup: Misano


01-02 Apr ‘17

WEC, Prologue (pre-season test): Monza


14-16 Apr ‘17

WEC, Rd 1: Six Hours of Silverstone


21-23 Apr ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 2, Endurance Cup: Monza


28-30 Apr ‘17

PWC Rd 3, SprintX : Virginia Intnl Raceway, VA


04-06 May ‘17

WEC, Rd 2: Six Hours of Spa-Francorchamps


05-07 May ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 3, Sprint Cup: Brands Hatch


12-14 May ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 4, Endurance Cup: Silverstone


19-21 May ‘17

PWC, Rd 4, SprintX: Motosport Pk, Ontario


25-27 May ‘17

PWC, Rd 5, SprintX: Lime Rock Park, Conn


02-04 Jun ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 5, Sprint Cup: Zolder


16-18 Jun ‘17

WEC, Rd 3: 24 Hours of Le Mans


23-24 Jun ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 6, Endurance Cup: Paul Ricard


04 Jul ‘17

Blancpain GT, test: Spa-Francorchamps


14-16 Jul ‘17

WEC, Rd 4: Six Hours of Nurburgring


27-30 Jul ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 7, Endurance Cup: Spa 24 Hrs


11-13 Aug ‘17

PWC, Rd 11, SprintX: UMC, Erda, UT


25-27 Aug ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 8, Sprint Cup: Budapest


01-03 Sep ‘17

PWC, Rd 9, SprintX: CoTA, TX


01-03 Sep ‘17

WEC, Rd 5: Six Hours of Mexico


14-16 Sep ‘17

WEC, Rd 6: Six Hours of Austin


15-17 Sep ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 9, Sprint Cup: Nurburgring


30 Sep-01 Oct ‘17

Blancpain GT, Rd 10, Endurance Cup: Barcelona


04-07 Oct ‘17

IMSA, Rd 13, Petit Le Mans (10hrs): Atlanta, GA


13-15 Oct ‘17

WEC, Rd 7: Six Hours of Fuji


03-05 Nov ‘17

WEC. Rd 8: Six Hours of Shanghai


16-18 Nov ‘17

WEC, Rd 9: Six Hours of Bahrain