Rossi raises the roof with Race 2 win at Misano
Valentino Rossi and Maxime Martin secured a breakthrough Fanatec GT Europe victory in the weekend's second Sprint Cup race at Misano, triumphing on Rossi’s home soil in their #46 Team WRT BMW.
The win ended an eight-year wait since the last Sprint Cup win for BMW and was the first for Team WRT since it launched its high-profile alliance with the German marque. Significantly for Rossi, it came at a circuit located just 15 kilometres from his hometown and named in honour of his late friend Marco Simoncelli.
The #11 Comtoyou Racing Audi of Lucas Légeret and Christopher Haase was second, while young guns Thomas Neubauer and Jean-Baptiste Simmenauer took a fine third in the #30 Team WRT BMW. Raffaele Marciello took fourth, allowing the Swiss driver to extend his and Timur Boguslavskiy's championship advantage.
Niklas Krütten completed an almost perfect day for Team WRT by securing Gold Cup victory in the #30 BMW he shares with Calan Williams. They finished 12th overall, one place ahead of the Silver Cup-winning #99 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi. Alex Aka and Lorenzo Patrese were in the thick of the action for much of the race, ultimately sealing the win to bounce back from a turbulent Saturday.
Garage 59 secured a Bronze Cup sweep with its #188 McLaren. Miguel Ramos took the opening stint before handing over to Henrique Chaves, who made a winning pass on the #911 Pure Rxcing Porsche during the latter stages. The Portuguese ace finished the job and ensured a second win in as many days.
Vanthoor scores first pole for new Team WRT BMW alliance
Dries Vanthoor will start this afternoon's Fanatec GT Europe Sprint Cup race at Misano from the front of the grid after securing Team WRT's first pole position since joining forces with BMW.
Vanthoor posted a 1m30.976s to beat Patric Niederhauser (#25 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi) to top spot, edging the Swiss by just 0.080s. Despite missing pole it was a superb comeback from the French team after the #25 car failed to participate in yesterday's qualifying due to an engine problem.
Sixth overall went to the #26 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi of Simon Gachet, who earned Gold Cup pole in the process. In the Silver Cup, teenager Nicola Marinangeli make a strong impression by qualifying 17th overall and securing class pole in the #71 AF Corse Ferrari.
The Bronze Cup saw series newcomer Dmitry Gvazava secure a fine 24th overall on the 42-car grid, beating seven entrants from the Pro, Gold and Silver categories. This secured class pole for the Lamborghini driver, narrowly ahead of the #188 Garage 59 McLaren of Miguel Ramos.
Marciello/Boguslavskiy cruise to Race 1 triumph at Misano
Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy scored Race 1 victory at Misano, elevating the #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG pairing to the top of the Fanatec GT Sprint Cup standings. The #14 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini of Altoè/Lappalainen was second while the #32 Team WRT BMW of Vanthoor/Weerts moved from 22nd on the grid to third at the finish.
Sixth overall went to the #9 Boutsen VDS Audi, which claimed Gold Cup honours thanks to Aurélien Panis and Alberto Di Folco. This was a comfortable win, with their nearest challenge coming from the #30 Team WRT BMW that placed 11th overall. It was a similar story in the Silver Cup as Jordan Love and Frank Bird took a polished victory, the HRT duo finishing four places clear of fellow Mercedes-AMG squad Madpanda Motorsport.
Garage 59 took a deserved Bronze Cup triumph, the #188 McLaren ultimately coming home 13th overall with Ramos behind the wheel. The accomplished amateur driver battled against the heat to complete the job started by Chaves, finishing an impressive eight spots clear of the #911 Pure Rxcing Porsche.
Marciello dominates Qualifying 1
Raffaele Marciello comfortably topped Qualifying 1 at Misano to secure a record-extending 14th Fanatec GT Europe Sprint Cup pole. The Akkodis ASP driver posted a 1m30.762s at the wheel of the #88 Mercedes-AMG to beat Giacomo Altoé (#14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari) by 0.307s.
Altoé earned a second front-row start of the season for the new Ferrari 296 GT3, while Henrique Chaves was a fine third overall in the #188 Garage 59 McLaren. The Portuguese ace put up a 1m31.161s, ensuring Bronze Cup pole in the process.
Gold Cup pole went to Gilles Magnus, who was seventh overall thanks to a 1m31.485s in the #21 Comtoyou Audi. Jordan Love gave HRT a first Silver Cup pole of 2023 by qualifying 14th overall in the #77 Mercedes-AMG.
Qualifying was split into two 10-minute segments to reduce traffic. The first half featured Pro and Gold Cup crews, while the second brought out the Silver and Bronze runners. The only notable problem saw the #99 Tresor Attempto Audi of Lorenzo Patrese find the barriers on his first push lap, ending his session on the spot. The #25 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi also failed to run due to engine trouble.
Comtoyou completes Friday sweep as Audi dominates
Comtoyou Racing completed a Friday sweep at Misano, leading the way in a Pre-Qualifying session dominated by Audi machinery.
The Belgian squad's #21 Gold Cup entry was quickest overall thanks to a 1m31.981s lap from Gilles Magnus, comfortably beating the #25 Saintéloc Junior Team car by 0.233s. Third went to the #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG of Raffaele Marciello, which represented the only non-Audi in the top-eight.
Normal service was resumed with the #26 Saintéloc Junior Team in fourth, followed by the #12 Comtoyou Racing and the #99 Tresor Attempto Racing, the latter leading the Silver Cup class thanks to Lorenzo Patrese. This was an encouraging showing for the #99 crew, which did not make it out at all during Free Practice.
The #112 JP Motorsport McLaren topped the Bronze Cup order in ninth overall with Norbert Siedler at the wheel. A fourth brand was present in the top-10 thanks to the #69 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari, though the Swiss squad could not match the pace it showed in Free Practice.
Haase paces Free Practice in Comtoyou Racing Audi
Christopher Haase kicked off the Sprint Cup weekend at Misano in style by putting Comtoyou Racing on top in Free Practice. The #11 Audi led the way at the conclusion of a competitive session, which saw 24 cars separated by just a second.
Haase delivered a 1m31.954s to beat Giacomo Altoé (#14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari) to P1. Notably, the Italian was the only other driver to break into the 1m31s. Third went to the #32 Team WRT BMW of Charles Weerts. The #87 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG completed a top-four featuring as many different brands, with Jim Pla setting a 1m32.220s that also put the French team on top of the Bronze Cup order.
Niklas Krütten led the Gold Cup runners at the wheel of the #30 Team WRT BMW. The German driver posted a 1m32.600s, edging out the #26 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi by just 0.010s. Tresor Attempto Racing paced the Silver Cup class courtesy of its #333 Audi. Sprint Cup debutant Pietro Delli Guanti was at the wheel for a 1m32.619s.
All but one of the 42 cars entered for this weekend's event turned laps in Free Practice. The exception was the #99 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi, which was absent throughout the 80 minutes. Two red flags interrupted the session, the first caused by the #52 AF Corse Ferrari of Louis Machiels spinning into the gravel at turn 13. The second was caused by a different car from the same team, with youngster Nicola Marinageli also finding the gravel in the #71 Ferrari. Both stoppages were brief, ensuring that plenty of running was completed.
Schiller in at Theeba Motorsport
Fabian Schiller is contesting this weekend's event with Theeba Motorsport, joining Reema Juffali in the #81 Mercedes-AMG. The German ace replaces Ralf Aron, who was originally listed on the entry list alongside Juffali. The Estonian driver is schueduled to return to the car later this month for the Endurance round at the Nürburgring.
Dries Vanthoor paced Thursday's official test session at Misano at the wheel of the #32 Team WRT BMW.
A seven-time winner at the Italian track, Vanthoor posted a 1m32.056s at the very end of proceedings to edge out the #11 Comtoyou Racing Audi of Christoper Haase by 0.017s. The sister #21 Audi was next and topped the Gold Cup order in the hands of Gilles Magnus (1m32.130s)
The best of the Silver Cup runners was also an Audi, with Alex Aka placing fifth overall in the #99 Tresor Attempto Racing machine (1m32.434s). Bronze Cup honours went to the same squad as Dennis Marschall took ninth overall in the #66 car (1m32.580s).
Forty of the record-setting 42-car field participated in the optional four-hour session. The absentees were the championship-leading #40 Tresor Orange1 Audi and the #44 CLRT Porsche. The latter is entered in the Bronze Cup, which makes its first appearance at a Sprint event this weekend.
Due to the unprecedented number of cars competing, the qualifying format has been tweaked. The original 20-minute session will now be split into two 10-minute runs, thus alleviating traffic issues.
The first 10 minutes (Group A) will see cars from the Pro and Gold Cup classes qualify; the second (Group B) will feature cars from the Silver Cup and Bronze Cup. This will apply on both Saturday and Sunday.
The next track action will be Free Practice, which is scheduled to get underway at 09:00 CEST on Friday morning.
TIMETABLE & HOW TO WATCH
Friday 14 July
09:00-10:20 – Free Practice
15:10-16:30 – Pre-Qualifying
This weekend will use the standard Sprint Cup format, which begins with Free Practice and Pre-Qualifying on Friday. There will be a Qualifying session on Saturday morning, followed by Race 1 in the afternoon. The same schedule is repeated on Sunday with Qualifying 2 and Race 2.
Live coverage begins on Saturday and continues throughout the weekend. As ever, it will be available across a variety of online platforms, including the GT World YouTube channel. Fans can watch free of charge on this non-geo-blocked stream, with commentary available in English, French, German and Italian.