It was victory for the #88 Akkodis ASP Team Mercedes-AMG GT3 of Raffaele Marciello, Timur Boguslavskiy and Jules Gounon in this afternoon’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS endurance race at the Nürburgring. The team ran a faultless race from the very start and despite a late challenge from Luca Stolz in the #777 Al Manar Mercedes, it was a mostly untroubled run from lights to flag for the Akkodis Mercedes crew.

The result leaves the #88 team just needing a top five finish in the final endurance race in Barcelona to clinch the title.


Marciello started on pole next to Jordan Pepper in the #63 Iron Lynx Lamborghini who found himself swamped on the run to the first corner. Maxi Götz in the #87 Akkodis ASP Mercedes was alongside Pepper into the first corner and contact was inevitable which left Pepper dropping down the order whilst Götz saw bodywork damage start to shred his rear tyre which only lasted to the end of lap 2.

At the front Marciello took a slight hit from the chaos of turn one but was able to shrug it off and continue. Behind him the #96 Rutronik Racing Porsche of Denis Olsen benefited from the issues into the first corner taking second place and Frederic Vervisch in the #11 Cometoyou Racing Audi taking third place.

Pepper’s race came to an end 20 minutes into the race when a strong challenge from Marco Wittmann in the #98 Rowe Racing BMW into turn 11 saw Pepper spin out, tagging Wittmann on the way. The BMW continued apparently unhindered whilst the Lamborghini was forced to pit with front-end damage.

However, as the race progressed the #98 BMW seemed to be struggling with what appeared to be splitter damage right at the point where Pepper’s Lamborghini had touched the championship-leading BMW  and it would slowly drop down the order. By the end of the second hour, Nick Yellowly was driving the #98 and was clearly struggling having lost a place to Sheldon van der Linde in the #32 Team WRT BMW and with a pack of cars snapping at his heels. At the end, the #98 BMW crossed the line in a disappointing 15th place.

At the end of the first hour the top three hadn’t changed as Olsen was the first to pit bringing his Porsche in with 3 minutes of the hour remaining however they lost second place to the #777 Al Manar Mercedes of Fabian Schiller who stopped one lap earlier and was able to take P2 whilst the Porsche with Laurin Heinrich now on board, was still rolling towards the pit exit.

Marciello came in several laps later and with a 25-second lead back to Vervisch, comfortably handed over to Timur Boguslavskiy who retained the lead of the race.

Halfway through the second hour and the main battle was down in the bronze class with Sebastian Baud in the #79 Haupt Racing Mercedes fending off the attentions of Joel Sturm in the #911 Pure Rxcing Porsche. With the #91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche of Robert Renauer holding station behind waiting to pick up any pieces as the two ahead fought for every inch of track.

Sturm took his chance on lap 49 at the chicane where Baud ran up the kerb leaving the door open for the Porsche to dive up the inside into the final corner.

In the final stint, the #79 HRT Mercedes with Arjun Maini behind the wheel had to fight to retain second from the #93 Sky Tempesta McLaren of Eddie Cheever. The battle briefly delayed the overall leaders, with Gounon slipping past relatively easily whilst Stolz was less fortunate and lost several seconds to the Andorran as he struggled to clear the bronze class battle for second place.


It was inside the final 10 minutes that Cheever was able to make a pass as an error from Maini at the hairpin saw him go off track leaving the road clear for the Sky Tempesta McLaren to take second in the bronze class behind the #91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche of Tim Heinemann which took the win.

By the final pitstops, Boguslavskiy was beginning to struggle with tyre wear in the leading #88 Mercedes. With Gounon taking over the car he found himself rejoining the race with Luca Stolz in the #777 Al Manar Mercedes right behind him. It looked like it might be a close finish to the race but with Gounon being more successful in clearing lapped traffic, including the already mentioned bronze battle for second.

Behind the leading two, a similar battle was developing for third place between Thomas Preining in the #96 Rutronik Porsche and Ricardo Feller in the #40 Tresor Orange 1 Audi.

Feller made his move into the final turn and the pair were neck and neck down to turn one where Preining defended for all his worth. The pair continued side by side to the hairpin and on the exit, Feller was able to take the position albeit earning a warning from race control for unsporting behaviour.

Things got worse for Preining who soon had the Sainteloc Junior Team Audi of Patric Niederhauser on his tail. The #25 Audi was looking stronger through the corners than the Porsche and with 20 minutes remaining he made his move into turn 10 with the battle between the two going on into the final turn but Neiderhauser simply couldn’t find a way around the Porsche. In the final 5 minutes of the race, the Audi was able to make its move to secure fourth for the Sainteloc Junior Team.

Pro-Am victory went to the #78 Barwell Motorsport Lamborghini which despite a 10-second penalty for Denis Lind was still able to cruise to a comfortable first-place finish ahead of the #38 ST Racing with Rinaldi Ferrari 296 GT3.

The Gold class victory went to the #157 Winward Racing Mercedes-AMG of Marius Zug, Miklas Born and David Schumacher who early on were challenging the leaders before dropping down the field and  finishing in sixth overall.

The final round of the Endurance Cup takes place on 30 September-1 October at Circuit de Barcelona-Catalunya which will see Akkodis ASP and Rowe Racing go head-to-head for the title with 18 points between them.


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