Nissan squad move forward in Nurburgring Blancpain battle

The battle for the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup continued at the Nurburgring last weekend with the NIssan GT Academy Team RJN squad making strong progress after qualifying struggles.

In stark contrast to the recent Nurburgring 24 Hour on the fast and daunting Nordschleife, the Blancpain Sprint round was staged on the Nurburgring's short circuit - the 3.6km version of the Formula 1 venue which bypasses the famous Dunlop Hairpin and Schumacher esses part of the circuit.

The GT-R battled to stretch its legs in qualifying, finishing 30th overall for the No.23 of Alex Buncombe and Mitsunori Takaboshi and 35th for the No.22 of Sean Walkinshaw and Ricardo Sanchez.

While qualifying was a tough battle, both cars moved forward in the two x one-hour races.

"The short circuit at the Nurburgring is not strong track for the GT-R and we had to struggle over the weekend," Mitsunori Takaboshi said.

"The GT-R drove well and I was P13 in the first qualifying session, but we had to settle for P30 on the grid overall. We were confident we could move forward if we kept out of trouble and everything went to plan and we climbed up to 16th in the qualifying race on Saturday.

"A quick shower of rain just before the start of the main race kept the teams busy but chose to start on slicks. I moved up to 13th in the opening lap and tried to keep moving forward, but it was difficult on short Nurburgring layout.

"The GT-R is getting better as the series goes ahead and we're still pushing hard to get results. We know improving our qualifying pace will result in better race results so that is where our focus is at the moment."

The No.22 Nissan impressed in the Saturday qualifying race, moving up 10 positions to finish 25th. Sunday's race however was impacted by a puncture which forced Ricardo Sanchez to take the escape road at the chicane just before his stop. Sean Walkinshaw subsequently had to serve a drive-through penalty for the accidental "short-cut" pushing the team back to 29th at the chequered flag.