Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts were crowned 2020 GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup champions in the third race at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya. The #32 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT pilots finished second behind winners and title challengers Timur Boguslavskiy and Raffaele Marciello in the #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Penalties handed out after the previous race to the #163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Giacomo Altoè and Albert Costa and #4 Haupt Racing Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Maro Engel and Luca Stolz meant that the title fight was down to WRT’s Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts and AKKA ASP’s Timur Boguslavskiy, with the latter’s teammate Raffaele Marciello starting from pole position and Vanthoor from third on the grid.
Third time was not a charm for newly crowned Pro-Am champion Eddie Cheever. The driver of the #54 Sky-Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 was the victim of a messy start that saw several cars come together as the field was accelerating to the green, ending with the Ferrari smacking into in the wall.
Oblivious to the chaos behind him, Marciello went from polesitter to leader with a six-second gap to championship leader Dries Vanthoor in second at the pitstops, doing the maximum he could to help Boguslavskiy to the title. However, with the WRT Audi of Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts in second, it was not enough to stop the Belgian duo from claiming the crown.
With Weerts making no mistakes in the second stint – although slowly creeping up on Boguslavskiy in the final laps – the championship was secured by the WRT drivers with a solid second place behind the #88 AKKA ASP AMG.
Silver Cup glory went to the #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 of Mikaël Grenier and Ricardo Feller, taking their second class win of the weekend with third place outright. The Lambo youngsters finished ahead of teammates Albert Costa and Giacomo Altoè in the #163 sister car after an undefended pass with 15 minutes to go before attacking Ryuichiro Tomita in the #31 WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 and getting the job done with a daring and aggressive pass around the outside of the Audi coming out of TV3.
Altoè, despite his best efforts, wasn’t able to follow his teammate past Tomita, settling for fifth at the finish.
Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini were responsible for the #52 AF Corse’s second Pro-Am victory of the weekend. Having taken over the Ferrari 488 GT3 from Bertolini in third place, Machiels set about overtaking Lee Mowle in the #18 ERC Sport Mercedes-AMG GT3 and then took the lead when the #20 SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Valentin Pierburg picked up a puncture.
The 2020 GT World Challenge Europe continues in two weeks with the Total 24 Hours of Spa, the penultimate round of the Endurance Cup.
1. #88 AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 (Timur Boguslavskiy/Raffaele Marciello)
2. #32 WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 (Dries Vanthoor/Charles Weerts)
3. #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (Mikaël Grenier/Ricardo Feller)
4. #31 WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 (Kelvin van der Linde/Ryuichiro Tomita)
5. #163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracán GT3 (Giacomo Altoè/Albert Costa)
Top 5 Sprint Cup championship
1. Dries Vanthoor/Charles Weerts (WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 89 points
2. Timur Boguslavskiy (AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3) – 85
3. Raffaele Marciello (AKKA ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3) – 75.5
4. Kelvin van der Linde/Ryuichiro Tomita (WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3) – 66
5. Maro Engel/Luca Stolz (HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3) – 60
Photos by João Filipe and Telmo Gil, courtesy of @World.
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