R-Motorsport took an inevitable first Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe win in the second race at the Nürburgring on Sunday afternoon. The #76 Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 raced by Ricky Collard and Marvin Kirchhöfer stormed to the front in the second stint and was presented the lead when WRT teammates Charles Weerts and Ezequiel Pérez Companc ran into each other.
PRACTICE REPORT | QUALIFYING REPORT | RACE 1 REPORT | RACE RESULTS | INTERVIEW ANDREA CALDARELLI | GALLERY | INTERVIEW JACK HAWKSWORTH
Race 2 of the Blancpain GT weekend at the Nürburgring had Audi written all over it. The German brand looked set for victory after a series of stellar sessions leading up to the race. With Dries Vanthoor in the #1 WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 leaving the competition behind in the opening stint, Ezequiel Pérez Companc’s stint to the chequered flag seemed like a formality.
As soon as the Argentine hit the track, however, the gap to the #2 WRT Audi LMS GT3 of Charles Weerts who had taken over from Christopher Mies faded while Ricky Collard came steamrolling in at an even higher pace. Pérez Companc had to fend off his teammate as well as the Aston Martin driver and with 15 minutes left it all went awry for the Belgium racing team. Collard, smelling opportunity, made his move on Weerts, who himself saw a gap on the inside of Pérez Companc as the trio stormed towards the first turn. Unaware that Weerts had just gone for the inside, Pérez Companc steered in and hit Weerts. While the teammates tangled, Collard took the lead. Both Pérez Companc and Weerts had to retire with mechanical damage as a result of the accident, denying Audi the promised gold.
Collard was unchallenged in the final minutes of the race to take R-Motorsport’s first-ever sprint race victory.
Saintéloc Racing’s Christopher Haase and Simon Gachet put down another podium-finishing performance in the #25 Audi R8 LMS GT3, making their second place the veteran-junior combination’s third consecutive podium visit.
Saturday’s race winning #563 Orange1 FFF Racing Team Huracán GT3 of Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli rounded out the podium, again beating title contenders Maro Engel and Luca Stolz to the punch. Black Falcon’s #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 pilots ran well-placed for the championship in third behind the two leading WRT Audis and in front of FFF Racing for the duration of the first stint but lost two valuable positions during the pitstop window, eventually finishing fourth. Engel and Stolz end the weekend following Caldarelli and Mapelli by 8 points in the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe championship with the two final races on the schedule in Hungary next weekend.
WRT’s pain was somewhat softened by the Silver Cup win for the #10 Audi of Rik Breukers and Óscar Tunjo. The two youngsters finished sixth overall and were unopposed in their class.
Pro-Am honours went to the #52 AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3 of Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels, who beat the #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jim Pla and Mauro Ricci in the second stint after race 1 winner Rinaldi Racing got spun around at the start.
The two-car Am Cup battle went the way of the #444 HB Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 of Wolfgang Triller and Florian Scholze which gave the Am fighters a win each this weekend.
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