The fast and demanding seven kilometers of the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in the Belgian Ardennes posed a challenge for the German professional driver in race 5 of the Cup & Tourenwagen Trophy, where he drove the familiar BMW Z4 M Coupé. „With its long straightaway up toward Les Combes, and the fast Blanchimont section, the track doesn't necessarily suit our BMW“, Kaufmann gave a first appraisal of his chances before the race, „we just don't have that kind of top speed. But the driver can shine here“, the „Piranha“ added with a grin.
In qualifying, the team under the direction of Willi Pfeiffer stuck with used tyres and concentrated on working on a good race setup for the six-cylinder coupé. P8 overall, P4 in class was the grid position for the 12 lap sprint race, now on fresh tyres. And Kaufmann was unleashed. „The start was perfect, I ade up a few spots“, he says, „the new-for-2019 gearbox setup helped a lot, the gear changes were seamless, and I got away very well.“ Plenty of momentum carried the car through the crucial Eau Rouge and Raidillon sections, so that Kaufmann defended his position inside the top 5 in spite of the car's power deficit.
Over the race distance, he picked out his immediate opponents' vulnerabilities, and set himself up for the attack. „This is where another tehcnical improvement comes in handy. We are running bigger brakes than we had in 2018. I can leave my braking nice and late, and get myself in a good position to overtake“ - this tactic led Kaufmann all the way to 3rd position, a result nobody had dared expect beforehand. Only two powerful ex-WTCC touring cars proved unconquerable. „A very strong race, and a top result for us“, a delighted Kaufmann said on the podium, „now we are doubly motivated to do well in the next race at Zolder.“
The Cup & Tourenwagen Trophy stays in Belgium for its next round when it moves to the tight and twisty Zolder circuit. „We were in good shape there in 2018, and I hope we can fight for the win this time.“
Wolfgang Kaufmann will remain in the Benelux area when he travels to the the Netherlands for the Historic Grand Prix at Zandvoort, where the next round of Historic Formula 2 is on the agenda.