The #32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor took victory in race one of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint cup at Magny-Cours after jumping the leader at the pitstop.


Simon Gachet started from pole position in the #11 Tresor by Car Collection Audi R8 GT3 which looked to get away early at the start however the reality was that second place starter Weerts was slow away. The stewards agreed and found no infringement.

Behind Gachet, Charles Weerts in the #32 Team WRT Audi lost his second place to the #26 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Gilles Magnus and admitted after the race to being slow away at the start. By the end of the first lap, the top four, including Pierre Alexandre Jean in the AF Corse Ferrari 488 GT3, were breaking away a little at the front.

Weerts was sat behind Magnus until lap 11 when a small mistake from Magnus in the #26 Audi left him struggling to get the power down and allowed Weerts to drive past him and up into second place. Gachet was by this point 3.4 seconds up the road and it would be a tough job to bring down that deficit before the pit window opened.

Further down the field and Mattia Drudi in the #12 Tresor by Car Collection Audi posted a fastest lap despite being stuck in P10. He started the race in P13 and by the pit window was working his way through the field to claim P9 just before pit window opened.

At the pit window Gachet stayed out for an extra lap but behind him second to fourth dived into the pit lane. The extra lap wasn’t to be enough to keep the lead as a flawless pit stop from Team WRT destroyed the 3 seconds lead Gachet was defending. On the next lap Gachet entered the pits and handed over to Christopher Haase but Dries Vanthoor having taken over the #32 Audi was alongside Hasse as the German left the pitlane.

With colder tyres Haase was unable to hold the lead around the long right handed Estoril corner and Vanthoor took the lead but unlike in the first stint was unable to pull out a gap with Haase keeping the Belgian within half a second.

While the pair were having their own race at the front trading tenths, the #89 AKKODIS ASP Team Mercedes of Raffaele Marciello was looking to gate crash the Audi party. With a 7 second gap to P2, Marciello was pumping out fastest lap after fastest lap and was closing on the pair in front at a rate of nearly a second per lap.

As Marciello charged, Haase started to lose touch with Vanthoor and he slowly slipped into the grip of Marciello.

By lap 27 Marciello was within half a second of Haase who was beginning to struggle with the Audi which was starting to slide around the track. Coming out of the Adelaide Hairpin, Marciello had better drive and was able to get alongside the Audi and take the position through the Nurburgring chicane.

Vanthoor was now 5.5 seconds up the road with just 10 minutes of the race remaining but Marciello hadn’t given up on the place. In the final minutes however Vanthoor was comfortably able to manage the lead with Marciello only able to pull a tenth of a second out of him on each lap.

At the flag it was Vanthoor just 3 seconds ahead of Marciello who had a similar gap back to Haase. Patric Niederhauser in the #25 Sainteloc Junior Team Audi came home in P4 just ahead of Luca Ghiotto who capitalised on the hard work of Mattia Drudi in the first stint to finish in P5 in the #12 Tresor by Car Collection Audi.

With the top 5 places taken by the Pro class, the next three places went to the Silver class with Nicolas Baert taking the class victory in the #26 Sainteloc Junior Team Audi ahead of Brands Hatch overall winner Ulysse de Pauw in the #53 AF Corse Ferrari. Casper Stevenson took third in class in the #87 AKKODIS ASP Mercedes.

Race two of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint is on Sunday at 15:00 CET (14:00 BST) and can be watched on our LIVE STREAM.


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