Race two of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup at Brands Hatch saw another lights to flag victory for the pole sitter with Raffaele Marciello in the #89 AKKODIS ASP Audi showing his class from the start.
GTWCE BRANDS HATCH: LIVESTREAM | QUALIFYING REPORT | RACE 1 | RACE 2 | GALLERY
At the green light everyone made it away safely and despite some earlier rain showers perhaps changing the grip levels from the first race, there were only a handful of small incidents but no safety car disruptions through the race.
By the end of the first lap Marciello was 2 seconds ahead of Neiderhauser in the #25 Sainteloc Junior Team Audi R8 LMS evo II GT3. Behind him Dries Vanthoor in the #32 Team WRT Audi was half a second back with Jim Pla in the #88 AKKODIS ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 a further half second behind him. Race 1 winner Pierre Alexandre Jean was running well in P6 having started in P7.
As Marciello extended his lead up to 7 seconds the battle in the first half of the race was for P2 between Neiderhauser and Vanthoor who were circulating within a few tenths of each other right up to the pit window.
The moment the pit window opened Neiderhasuer was one of the first into the pit lane but a poor pit stop from the Sainteloc team saw the #25 drop down the order. Vanthoor stopped a lap later and benefitted from a stop 11 seconds faster than the Sainteloc car.
Marciello was one of the last to stop coming in on the 22nd lap with a 17 second lead in the bank and handed the car over to Timur Boguslavskiy. Marciello’s hard work proved to be vital as the pitstop was nearly 6 seconds slower than the the WRT team, which with Charles Weerts taking over the #32 Audi from Vanthoor, saw him elevated to P2 and 9.6 seconds behind Boguslavskiy. Behind Weerts, Jules Gounon had taken over from Jim Pla in the #88 AKKODIS ASP Audi and was pushing to catch the Belgian.
Despite his best efforts Weerts was unable to make a dent in the gap to the #89 with Boguslavskiy driving a solid race at the front. However with one eye on the chasing Gounon behind him, Weerts would come under pressure in the final laps. With back markers coming into play Weerts was able to hold off the Frenchman but was certainly made to work for his second place finish.
Simon Gachet in the #11 Tresor by Car Collection Audi took fourth place nearly 10 seconds behind Gounon but just 0.4 of second ahead of race one winner Ulysse de Pauw. Pierre Alexandre Jean started the race in P7 before handing over the #53 AF Corse Ferrari to de Pauw who brought the Ferrari home in P6 and 0.6 seconds behind Gachet.
Elsewhere in the pack and the man everyone had come to see, Valentino Rossi, was having one of his best stints and was running in P8. In the final laps Rossi found himself under pressure from the #87 AKKODIS ASP Mercedes of Thomas Drouet who had already had a coming together with Jean-Baptist Simmenauer at Druids. This was still under investigation by the stewards and with the outcome not yet known, Drouet did not need to also invoke the wrath of the 9 times Moto GP champion’s army of fans.
Rossi held off the challenge and at the end crossed the line in eighth place nearly a second ahead of Drouet.
Sixth place went to #25 Sainteloc Junior Team Audi of Aurelien Panis who was trying to recover from the poor pit stop which cost him second place on the road. He was now fighting for P6 with Drudi who was a constant 0.3 seconds behind him but despite a strong challenge from Drudi, Panis held the position to finish 0.4 seconds ahead of Drudi.
The next round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup will take place at Magny Cours in France on the weekend of 13th and 15th of May.
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