Four Zolder Wins for Flawless Rast
Rene Rast overtook Nico Mueller for the DTM championship lead by sweeping both races at Zolder for the second week in succession.
Having already dominated the Oct. 10-11 weekend round at the Belgian circuit, Audi driver Rast carried that winning form into the penultimate event of the 2020 season.
Nico Mueller lost his 10-point championship edge with sixth in Race 1 as Rast took the spoils from Robin Frijns and first-time podium finisher Ferdinand Habsburg.
Mueller started from a lowly eighth while contact with Harrison Newey dropped the Swiss driver to 14th, but he made up several positions over the remaining 41 laps.
In Race 2, Mueller bounced back to finish second to Rast, who came away with a 15-point lead heading into the Hockenheim season finale next month.
An accident for Frijns that also involved Fabio Scherer and Jonathan Aberdein resulted in a loss of points for the Dutchman heading into the Hockenheim title decider.
Habsburg started from pole – the first in DTM for privateer outfit WRT – and held his advantage over Rast and Mueller, who made a quick start from fifth on the grid.
The top three remained unchanged through a safety car for contact between BMW drivers Lucas Auer and Philipp Eng, before Rast came out of the pit stops in the lead.
Habsburg then faded to 10th with tire troubles, enabling Mueller to take second and Robert Kubica to claim his maiden DTM podium for BMW privateer ART Grand Prix.
Beamer Brace as GT Masters Reaches Milestone
Two different BMW M6 GT3s shared the wins at the Red Bull Ring and Jens Klingmann and Erik Johansson took victory in the 200th ADAC GT Masters race on Sunday.
The MRS-GT Racing drivers made it two BMW wins from two after Nick Yelloly and Henric Skoog delivered the Munich brand’s first win of the year for Schubert Motorsport.
Skoog started Race 1 from second on the grid, alongside the GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo of Steijn Schothorst.
However, Schothorst was mauled by his rivals on the run down to Turn 3 as Skoog, Porsche driver Robert Renauer and Johansson all got past.
Swedish driver Skoog, who graduated to GT3 from Porsche Carrera Cup this year, then built a seven-second lead over Renauer and Sven Mueller’s Porsche 911 GT3 R into the pit window before Yelloly protected the comfortable gap until the checkered flag.
Klingmann and Johansson, who finished third in Race 1, then went two better in the GT Masters’ landmark 200th race for their first victory of the season.
GRT’s Lamborghini again started from pole, but this time it was Schothorst’s co-driver Tim Zimmermann who lost the lead on the opening lap to front-row starter Klingmann.
The Schubert BMW then dominated, while Yelolly and Skoog crossed the line second to provisionally make it an M6 one-two before their car was handed a 10-second post-race time penalty for repeatedly exceeding track limits.
This promoted Haupt Racing Team’s Maro Engel and Luca Stolz to second ahead of GRT Lamborghini drivers Franck Perera and Albert Costa.
The championship continues to be led by Kelvin van der Linde and Patric Niederhauser who finished eighth twice, although the top three crews are now only separated by six points with two rounds remaining.
Abril Sets Fastest-Ever GT3 Lap around Spa
AF Corse’s Vincent Abril broke the outright GT3 lap record around Spa-Francorchamps in qualifying for the second of last weekend’s two International GT Open races.
Abril’s time of 2.13.724 behind the wheel of a Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 eclipsed David Perel’s previous record of 2.15.441 that was set during a GT Open event in 2018.
It was also only 1.3 seconds off the GTE record of 2:12.420 set by Ford driver Olivier Pla in qualifying for the FIA World Endurance Championship 6 Hours of Spa two years ago.
Abril and Prette won Race 1 of GT Open’s Spa round, while Henrique Chaves and Miguel Ramos claimed victory in Race 2 with their Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3.
Abril’s overtake on Optimum Motorsport’s Brendan Iribe at Les Combes resulted in the Monegasque AF Corse pairing’s fourth win of the year.
Yannick Mettler, whose co-driver Fabrizio Crestani led the opening stint, advanced to second in the No. 26 Team Lazarus Bentley Continental GT3 while Ahmad Al Harthy and Tom Canning completed the podium in their TF Sport Aston Martin Vantage GT3.
Race 2 saw Abril lead away from pole after his lightning qualifying time before the sharp end order shuffled around in pits and the AF Corse Ferrari slipped to fourth.
Chaves and Ramos moved ahead and went on to win for Teo Martin Motorsport ahead of TF Sport’s Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc, and Crestani and Mettler.
Heavy crashes during practice prevented two cars from taking part in the weekend’s races.
Alexey Nesov’s AKM Motorsport Mercedes-AMG crashed hard at Raidillon while Nicolas Varrone had a high-speed off in the Team Lazarus Bentley at Blanchimont. Both drivers walked away from their accidents.
Other Weekend Action
***Tim Heinemann became the inaugural DTM Trophy champion with a third-place finish in the first race of the weekend at Zolder. Despite having his worst weekend of the season results-wise, the HP Racing International driver’s mid-year streak of six wins in his Mercedes-AMG GT4 propelled him towards the title. Lucas Mauron won both Zolder races in a Racing One Audi R8 LMS GT4.
***A large field of 25 cars took part in round three of the Italian GT Championship’s Sprint Cup series at Monza. Stefano Comandini and Marius Zug won first in their BMW M6 GT3, before Gianluca Roda and Alessio Rovera took Race 2 honors in their AF Corse Ferrari.
***Doerr Motorsport’s McLaren 570S GT4 finished first and second in ADAC GT4 Germany’s visit to the Red Bull Ring. Fred Martin-Dye and Phil Doerr triumphed in Race 1 before taking second in Race 2 behind Allied-Racing Porsche duo Jan Kasperlik and Nicolaj Moller-Madsen.
***Team Virage’s Ligier JS P2 Nissan won the four-hour prototype endurance race at Magny-Cours, as part of the Ultimate Cup Series’ third meeting of the year. The Visiom team then won the separate four-hour GT race with its Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo.
***The French FFSA GT Championship held its latest round at Albi, marking a return to the historic airfield venue in southern France after nine years away. Guest drivers Mateo Herrero and Morgan Moullin-Traffort won both races in their Alpine A110 GT4.
***The China Endurance Championship completed its season with a pair of 150-minute races at Ningbo. Climax Racing’s Lamborghini won, while Audi squad Absolute Racing scored two podiums on its first race outing in seven months.
***Several famous sports cars and drivers spent the weekend at Goodwood in southern England for the new SpeedWeeek competition, held behind closed doors as a replacement for the canceled Festival of Speed and Revival events.
***It included a celebration of 50 years since Porsche’s first Le Mans victory, a multi-discipline timed shootout involving current GT2 and GT3 machinery from Audi, and several historic races led by the star-studded RAC TT Celebration for pre-1966 sports cars which was won by triple Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer and his co-driver Frederic Wakeman in a Lister-Jaguar Coupe.
***Additionally, Richard Westbrook won the road car timed shootout driving a Ford GT.
News & Notes
***Hubert Haupt has completed the purchase of a large commercial site at the Nürburgring where the German racing driver’s eponymous GT3 team’s operations will be based. HRT, which currently operates out of a former Black Falcon workshop near the Eifel track, will move into the new 21,535 sq ft facility upon the completion of building work that is set to start in 2021.
***Silver Cup outfit Madpanda Motorsport has named its drivers for the Total 24 Hours of Spa. Occasional GTE racer Riccardo Sanchez and Finland’s Juuso Puhakka – who impressed on his GTWC Europe Sprint Cup debut this year – will join team regulars Ezequiel Companc and Patrick Assenheimer in the No. 90 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.
*** Porsche Centri Ticino has withdrawn from the rest of the GT4 European Series season after its Porsche 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport was heavily damaged in a crash during the previous round at Zandvoort. Joel Camathias and Ivan Jacoma are fourth in Pro-Am.
***Kenny Habul has purchased a property at Mount Panorama. Australian publication Speedcafe reports that the avid Mercedes-AMG GT3 racer is the new owner of the 17-acre estate situated on Bathurst’s famous Conrod Straight.
***Volkswagen canceled the planned appearance of its record-breaking ID.R electric prototype at the Goodwood SpeedWeek, citing the recent spike in coronavirus cases in western Europe as the reason for its withdrawal.
***French racer Daniel Dechaumel lost his life in an accident during the Ultimate Cup Series round at Magny-Cours on Friday. The 68-year-old died after losing control of his Dodge Viper Competition in private practice for the Challenge GT races.
On this weekend: Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup (24 Hours of Spa), Super GT (Suzuka), Lamborghini Super Trofeo Europe (Spa), GT4 European Series (Spa)