After a rough first few months of the season, Raffaele Marciello returned to his winning ways in the first race of the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe at Zandvoort.

Marciello brought the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 shared with Vincent Abril over the finish in first position in the first race. But as much as the twisty Dutch racetrack was an immense advantage for them starting from pole position, just as much did it hamper any progress starting the second race from seventh place on the grid.

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“It’s really difficult to pass here, it’s the position in which you start that you finish,” Raffaele Marciello said at the end of the race weekend. “It was a good P6 today. I had a good start from P7 and we couldn’t do much more than P6.

“Our win yesterday, we finally did it after a tough start of the year. We never lost the speed; we were always quick, but things didn’t work as well as they should.”

Despite the win being his first in 2019, Marciello doesn’t see it as a confidence boost as he never wavered in confidence.

“Not for me, because I know what I can do and what the car can do. For the team and the mechanics, it’s for sure a motivation, but from a driver’s point of view I always knew we could do it, so it’s nothing special.”

Throughout the first months of the racing season, Marciello did see success in the Intercontinental GT Challenge where he scored second places in Bathurst and Laguna Seca, going into the Spa 24 Hours as the championship leader.

Although the Spa 24 Hours is a beast of its own, preparations are not a whole lot different than for any other endurance race.

“It’s a long sprint race, you always push. I’m always fit throughout the year and ready for 24-hour races. I’m doing quite a lot of endurance races in the Intercontinental GT. I always prepare for Spa a little bit different because it’s long during triple stints, but you need always to be ready.”