• Overall title sealed in perfect style as dramatic race concludes Sprint Cup season
• Krütten/Williams take overall podium and win in Gold Cup to earn drivers' title double
• Boutsen VDS takes both Gold Cup teams' championships
• Love seals Silver title with victory, HRT earns teams' crown
Tresor Orange1 is celebrating a Fanatec GT Europe Sprint Cup title double after clinching both the teams' and drivers' championships with a brilliant victory at Zandvoort.
The #40 Audi of Ricardo Feller and Mattia Drudi moved from ninth on the grid to win a dramatic rain-affected race, completing a perfect weekend after yesterday's triumph elevated them to the top of the standings.
Maxime Martin took the start from pole in the #46 Team WRT BMW and maintained his advantage over the sister #30 car of Calan Williams, but the majority of fans will have had their eyes on the battle for eighth spot as title challenger Timur Boguslavskiy (#88 Akkodis ASP Mercedes-AMG) held station ahead of Drudi.
The Audi driver was determined to make an early move and drew alongside Boguslavskiy on the run to Hans Ernst Bocht. Then came a moment of high drama as the #99 Tresor Attempto Racing Audi of Lorenzo Patrese ran into the rear of the Mercedes-AMG under braking, spinning Boguslavskiy around. The stranded Akkodis ASP machine was subsequently hit by oncoming traffic, causing race-ending damage.
This effectively sealed the drivers' title for the #40 Audi crew, though the teams' championship remained up for grabs. At this stage it was in the hands of Team WRT, with pole-sitter Martin looking comfortable at the head of the field.
Suddenly, heavy rain swept across the circuit, causing several drivers to slither off-track. Martin was among them, briefly promoting Frank Bird (#77 HRT Mercedes-AMG) to the race lead, only for the British driver to do the very same thing just a few moments later. Williams therefore assumed top spot in the #30 Team WRT BMW and, despite being the least experienced of the trio, kept his car on the circuit.
With the rain still falling, a full-course yellow was enforced. It remained in place for the duration of the pit window, after which the safety car was deployed. Niklas Krütten would take the restart in first place ahead of Valentino Rossi in the #46 BMW, while Feller was third in the #40 Audi thanks to a superb pit stop from the Tresor Orange1 crew.
The Swiss driver repaid their work with a dazzling performance of his own. When the race restarted he immediately launched an attack on Rossi, who made the Audi ace work hard but ultimately had to surrender P2. Feller then set his sights on Krütten, who could do nothing to stop the champion-elect from seizing the lead.
Thereafter there was nothing that could halt Feller's victory parade. Dries Vanthoor was released into P2, but the #32 Team WRT BMW was unable to close the gap. The #40 Audi crossed the line to score a fourth victory of 2023, capturing the drivers' championship in style and securing the teams' crown for Tresor Attempto Racing.
Vanthoor was second and Krütten held on to third, scoring a landmark overall podium finish for a Gold Cup car in the process. This also secured the class Sprint Cup and combined drivers' championships for the #30 pairing, while both Gold Cup teams' titles went to Boutsen VDS.
The #60 VSR Lamborghini of Andrea Caldarelli and Marco Mapelli finished a season-best fourth ahead of the #14 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari and the #77 HRT Mercedes-AMG of Jordan Love and Frank Bird. This ensured that Love took the Silver Cup drivers' title, while HRT collected the teams' prize.
A number of titles were settled before the Zandvoort weekend. Akkodis ASP earned overall teams and drivers’ honours, while Patrese/Aka and Tresor Attempto Racing won the combined Silver Cup championships. In the Bronze Cup, Alex Malykhin and the Pure Racing squad secured top spot in the combined classification and the Sprint Cup.
The points scorers were completed by the #46 Team WRT BMW, the #69 Emil Frey Racing Ferrari, the #159 Garage 59 McLaren, and the #44 CLRT Porsche. As such the overall top 10 featured seven different brands, concluding what has been a highly competitive Sprint Cup campaign in perfect style.
Feller and Drudi ultimately finished 19 points clear at the top of the standings, but this does not reflect how close the battle has been. The classes have been fiercely contested, too, little surprise in a year has also delivered record Sprint Cup grids and a record number of competing brands.
It concludes the full Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS season for 2023, ending a journey that began at Monza in April. For the champions, the celebrations can soon begin; for those that missed out, the fight to go one better in 2024 has already started.