Race 1: #69 Ferrari penalised, #32 BMW promoted to podium
Following this afternoon's Fanatec GT Europe Sprint Cup race at Hockenheim, the #69 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari has dropped to fourth position after the stewards judged that Thierry Vermeulen had caused a collision with the #32 Team WRT BMW. The #69 has recieved a one-second penalty, dropping it behind the #32 BMW.
Feller/Drudi take Race 1 victory for Tresor Orange1 Audi
Ricardo Feller and Mattia Drudi put Tresor Orange1 back on the top step of the Fanatec GT Europe podium today with a commanding Race 1 victory at Hockenheim.
The #40 Audi finished well clear of the #12 Comtoyou Racing Audi of Fred Vervisch and Nicolas Baert. The #69 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari was third after Thierry Vermeulen made a final-corner pass on the #32 Team WRT BMW of Dries Vanthoor. He was followed home by the sister #30 Team WRT BMW of Calan Williams and Niklas Krütten, who captured Gold Cup victory ahead of class rival Adam Eteki (#10 Boutsen VDS Audi).
Seventh place went to the #11 Comtoyou Racing Audi driven by Christopher Haase, followed by Maxime Martin in the #46 Team WRT BMW. The latter made extraordinary progress from 35th on the grid, with Valentino Rossi making up 10 places in the opening stint before handing to Martin. The Belgian was at his very best, completing several passes to claim important championship points for the #46 crew.
Silver Cup honours went to the #77 HRT Mercedes-AMG of Jordan Love and Alain Valente in 12th spot overall. This was an emotional win, coming the day after regular driver Frank Bird's father Paul passed away. Both men paid tribute afterwards, while Love also praised Valente's performance after a last-minute call-up.
Tresor Attempto Racing took the Bronze Cup with its #66 Audi. Dennis Marschall was among the stars of the opening stint, running P3 overall before handing over to Andrey Mukovoz. He resisted pressure from the experienced Ralf Bohn (#91 Herberth Motorsport Porsche) to take the victory, the first for Tresor Attempto in this class.
Pepper on pole in VSR Lamborghini
Jordan Pepper gave the VSR squad its maiden Fanatec GT Europe Sprint Cup pole by topping Saturday morning's Qualifying at Hockenheim.
The #40 Lamborghini was followed by no fewer than seven Audi runners. Ricardo Feller was the best of them, putting the #40 Tresor Orange1 machine on the front row, followed by Fred Vervisch (#12 Comtoyou Racing) and Bronze Cup pole-sitter Dennis Marschall (#66 Tresor Attempto Racing).
Row three will be shared by the Gold Cup pole-sitter Gilles Magnus (#21 Comtoyou Racing) and the sister #11 car of Lucas Legeret. The Silver Cup pole-sitter will be Jordan Love, who qualified 12th overall in the #77 HRT Mercedes-AMG.
The most significant absentee from the front half of the grid was the championship-leading #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG, which has significant work to do this afternoon after Timur Boguslavskiy qualified 28th overall. The opening race of the Hockenheim weekend gets underway at 14:00 CEST and will air live on the GT World YouTube channel.
Bird withdraws, replaced by Valente in #77 Mercedes-AMG
Frank Bird (#77 HRT Mercedes-AMG) has stepped down from driving duties this weekend following the passing of his father, Paul, on Friday. Bird Snr, a respected team boss whose entries included MotoGP and World Superbikes, died following a short illness. Our thoughts are with Frank and the whole Bird family.
The place alongside Jordan Love in the #77 Mercedes-AMG will be taken by Alain Valente. The Swiss driver has contested this season's Endurance Cup with the same brand.
Kjaergaard fastest for Garage 59 McLaren in Pre-Qualifying
Garage 59 took top spot in this afternoon's Pre-Qualifying at Hockenheim as the McLaren squad edged morning pace-setter Tresor Orange1.
As was the case in Free Practice, there was a steady improvement on the benchmark time throughout the 80-minute session. Nicolai Kjaergaard posted a 1m38.487s during the final 10 minutes, shading Mattia Drudi (#40 Audi) by 0.058s.
Raffaele Marciello was third in the championship-leading #88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG, followed by Giacomo Altoè (#14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari) and Dennis Marschall (#66 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi). The latter also led the Bronze Cup runners, and was one of four Audi entries in a top-10 that featured five different brands.
Gold Cup honours went to the #21 Comtoyou Racing Audi, which placed seventh overall in the hands of Gilles Magnus. In the Silver Cup, Tresor Attempto Racing was on top once again with the 10th best time courtesy of Lorenzo Patrese (#99 Audi).
Tresor Orange1 leads tricky opening session
Tresor Orange1 led the way in Free Practice at Hockenheim. Ricardo Feller posted a 1m38.433s at the wheel of its #40 Audi.
Raffaele Marciello (#88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG) went second fastest with a 1m39.368s during the final moments of the session. He was followed by Albert Costa in the #69 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari, while Christian Engelhart made it four different brands in the top four at the wheel of the #54 Dinamic GT Porsche.
Patric Niederhauser was fifth in the #25 Saintéloc Junior Team Audi, followed by Valentino Rossi, who produced a strong showing in the #46 Team WRT BMW. Seventh overall went to Aka in the #99 Tresor Attempto Audi, which also put the German squad on top in the Silver Cup.
Alberto di Folco paced the Gold Cup in the #9 Boutsen VDS Audi, edging class rival Niklas Krütten (#30 Team WRT BMW) by just 0.017s. Hubert Haupt was the best of the Bronze Cup runners, placing 15th overall in the #79 HRT Mercedes-AMG.
The next track action follows at 14:20, when the 41-car field will tackle a further 80 minutes of running in Pre-Qualifying.
Pure Rxcing leads the way in Hockenheim test
Pure Rxcing topped Thursday's pre-event test at Hockenheim thanks to a late 1m37.585s lap from Klaus Bachler at the wheel of the #911 Porsche.
The two-and-a-half-hour session featured the full 41-car field that will contest this weekend's Sprint Cup event, which sees the Fanatec GT Europe season resume following a five-week summer break.
Christopher Haase was the first driver to hit the front in the #11 Comtoyou Racing Audi. The German ace was subsequently toppled by fellow countryman Christian Engelhart, who showed excellent speed in the #54 Dinamic GT Porsche.
The #12 Comtoyou Racing Audi was the next to occupy top spot thanks to a 1m37.772s from Nicolas Baert. The Belgian squad looked likely to retain its P1 status despite a flurry of late laps, only for Bachler find extra speed and edge ahead by 0.187s.
Though the Porsche finished on top, this was a very promising session for the Audi runners. The #12 and #11 Comtoyou Racing entries were second and third respectively, while the #9 Boutsen VDS machine was fourth overall and led the Gold Cup order thanks to Alberto di Folco.
The best of the Silver Cup contenders was Jordan Love, who set the 13th best time overall in the #77 HRT Mercedes-AMG. The #911 Porsche was the best Bronze Cup entry, followed by the #188 Garage 59 McLaren in ninth spot overall.
The session was stopped once when the #81 Theeba Motorsport Mercedes-AMG hit the barriers at turn 12. Reema Juffali was unharmed, though her car could take no further part in the test.
The event steps up a gear on Friday. Free Practice is scheduled for 09:30 CEST and Pre-Qualifying takes place at 14:20, with both sessions running for 80 minutes.
Fanatec GT Europe is back!
The 2023 season resumes this weekend at Hockenheim. No fewer than 41 cars will tackle a pair of 60-minute races at the 4.6km circuit in Baden-Württemberg, which becomes a Sprint event this term after debuting as part of the Endurance schedule in 2022.
It follows a five-week summer break and begins a run of four events in seven weeks, culminating with the season finale at Zandvoort in mid-October. Three of these are Sprint Cup contests, meaning there is still everything to play for in the battle for the short-format championship.
Live coverage begins with Qualifying on Saturday morning and continues throughout the weekend. As ever, all of the action will be steamed on the GT World YouTube channel. Click here for more information.
THURSDAY 31 AUGUST
• 14:45 - 17:15: Paid Test
FRIDAY 1 SEPTEMBER
• 09:30 - 10:50: Free Practice
• 14:20 - 15:40: Pre-Qualifying
SATURDAY 2 SEPTEMBER
• 09:50 - 10:15: Qualifying 1
• 14:00 - 15:00: Race 1
SUNDAY 3 SEPTEMBER
• 09:55 - 10:20: Qualifying 2
• 14:35 - 15:35: Race 2