Akkodis ASP Team returned to form in the second race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS at Circuit Zandvoort. From start to finish, the #89 Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy lead the race to claim their third win of the season.
After a cold and damp morning, the sun was out for the race. Raffaele Marciello in the #89 Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 was out of the starting blocks fastest and could immediately pull away from Vincent Abril in second place. Within the first minutes, the Mercedes already held an advantage of 4 seconds over the #112 JP Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3.
Abril had to watch his back as Dries Vanthoor in third place was directly behind looking for a passing opportunity. This allowed Raffaele Marciello to get away while setting the fastest lap of the race.
Having started from third on the grid but having to let Vanthoor by in the first turn, Dennis Marshall was holding the #66 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 in fourth place ahead of two McLarens with Christian Klien in the #111 JP Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 and Dean Macdonald behind the wheel of the #188 Garage 59 McLaren.
Vanthoor tried everything with the #32 Audi to pass Abril, but the McLaren pilot was able to fend him off every time. Only when the pit window opened and Abril brought the JP Motorsport McLaren in for a very early pit stop was the road clear for Dries Vanthoor to slot into second.
While Dries Vanthoor came in with the #32 Audi to hand over to Charles Weerts, Marciello stayed out. With fresh tyres on the Audi, Weerts’ mission was to close the gap to the #89 Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3.
Meanwhile, Christian Klien was leading the Pro-Am class in second position overall followed by Dean Macdonald setting the fastest lap in an absolutely flying #188 McLaren 720S GT3.
One lap after Vanthoor, Raffaele Marciello came in for his stop. With a pit stop that was 1.2 seconds slower than the Team WRT’s, the initial margin of 9.2 seconds had gone down to 7 within one lap. That gap, however, would soon shrink to close to zero.
Drama for the Pro-Am leaders after the closing of the pit window: after contact between Patryk Krupinski in the #111 JP Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 and the #12 Tresor by Car Collection Audi R8 LMS GT3 of Luca Ghiotto in the Gerlachbocht, the Pro-Am leader had to stop the McLaren 720S GT3 on the track. The consequence of this was that the track was set under Full Course Yellow with 21 minutes to go and the safety car procedure would follow, wiping out Boguslavskiy’s lead.
With 13 minutes remaining in the race, the safety car pulled in. Weerts, however, could not mount a serious attack on the Mercedes-AMG, following Boguslavskiy to the finish always with the leader in sight but never close enough.
The battle for third was on between the #66 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 driven by local favourite Pieter Schothorst, #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 with Jules Gounon at the wheel, and the #112 JP Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 of Dennis Lind. Despite frantic attempts by Gounon to sneak onto the podium, his attempts were rebuffed by the Dutchman.
As time ticked away, neither Charles Weerts nor Jules Gounon were finding a way to make a move against the cars in front of them. The sprint to the flag saw no more changes up front. Timur Boguslavskiy and Raffaele Marciello crossed the line after 36 laps, gaining back some championship territory for the #89 Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 lost after Saturday’s struggle. Charles Weerts’ #32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 shared with Dries Vanthoor hold on to the lead in the Sprint Cup by a mere half point thanks to their second place.
Pieter Schothorst celebrated a small victory by climbing the third step on podium of his home track together with Dennis Marschall in the #66 Attempto Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3.
Dennis Lind in the #112 JP Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 came in a second behind the #88 Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Jules Gounon and Jim Pla, scoring an important fifth place. Dinamic Motorsport’s #54 Porsche 991.2 GT3R driven by Adrien De Leener and Christian Engelhart finished sixth.
Most teams will travel straight from Zandvoort to Spa for the traditional Spa 24 Hours test day held on Tuesday and Wednesday. The next race takes place on 1-3 July in Misano.
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