Blancpain Sprint Cup Season Ends with Walkinshaw Fourth in Silver Cup

03 October 2016

Pictured Sean ended the final race in 23rd place overall and fourth in the Silver Cup.

Nissan GT Academy Team RJN driver Sean Walkinshaw ended the Blancpain Sprint Cup season fourth in the Silver Cup standings during the final race meeting of the campaign at the Circuit de Barcelona Catalunya in Spain over the weekend, 1st/2nd October.

Along with team-mate Ricardo Sánchez, Chipping Norton-based Sean secured top four class finishes in the one-hour Qualification Race and the subsequent 60-minute ‘Main Race’ on Sunday to end the championship 17 points outside the target top three.

“It’s been quite a tough season overall in the Sprint Cup, everyone at the team has done an amazing job and worked really hard all year but we couldn’t quite get the top three finish in the Silver Cup we wanted”, commented Sean.

“It’s been fantastic being part of the NISMO and Nissan GT Academy family this year and I’ve enjoyed every minute. Finishing second in class in Hungary a few weeks ago was a real highlight and it’s just a shame we couldn’t get back into the top three in the races this weekend.”

The NISMO Athlete took the opening stint of the Qualification Race and from 29th position overall, fourth in the Silver Cup, he climbed into 26th place on a very strong opening lap before then slipping back a couple of spots during the early exchanges with some of the Pro-Am cars.

Working hard to recover the lost ground, the Oxfordshire driver regained one position as the race reached the 10-minute mark and then moved back into 26th place on lap nine. As the race headed towards the conclusion of the first half, Sean then broke into 25th and as the pit window opened at the 25-minute mark he took 24th place following a spin into the gravel for an Audi.

As the mandatory driver-change pit stops started to be served, Sean stayed out on track and with half an hour completed he was in the outright top 10 and second in the Silver Cup. He eventually pitted at the end of lap 18 to hand over to Sánchez from the class lead and seventh overall.

The No.22 Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3 rejoined the race with just over 25 minutes to go and when the order settled Sánchez held fourth in the Silver Cup and 24th overall. Moving up a position into 23rd on lap 21, the Mexican remained there into the last quarter of an hour but then slipped back to 25th. With just three minutes to go, the third placed Audi spun out elevating Sánchez into 24th.

Sánchez then took the first stint of the Main Race later in the day and from the 12th row of the grid he put together a strong opening lap and made his way into the outright top 20, still holding fourth position in class.

Shuffled back down to 24th place overall by some of the ‘Pro’ entrants, the Nissan racer then slipped to 25th spot as the race passed the 15-minute mark but he did regain 24th position before the pit window opened. Remaining on track as a number of teams served their stops, he moved up the order into seventh and the Silver Cup lead before pitting to hand over to Sean at the halfway mark.

As the order evened out, the No.22 Nissan ran fourth in class and 28th in the outright classification and Sean worked hard to try and gain ground back. Taking one place quickly, he then climbed into 26th spot and with 15 minutes to run he had climbed into 25th place. Gaining two more positions before the conclusion, Sean ended the final race in 23rd place overall and fourth in the Silver Cup.

Final 2016 Blancpain Sprint Cup ‘Silver Cup’ Standings:
4th Sean Walkinshaw/Ricardo Sánchez, 79pts