Kruetten, Green Unstoppable in Austria
Schubert Motorsport’s Niklas Kruetten and Ben Green won both ADAC GT Masters races at the Red Bull Ring, becoming the first pairing to sweep a round in the series since 2018.
The drivers of the No. 10 BMW M4 GT3 seized the championship lead with a near-perfect weekend that also included pole position for Sunday’s encounter.
Schubert’s young prospects won the opening race on Saturday from third on the grid, with Green overtaking Ayhancan Guven’s Porsche 911 GT3 R and then pole-sitter Raffaele Marciello’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo to the hit the front.
A snag with the driver’s side door during the pit stop caused the Schubert BMW’s lead to come down, but Kruetten managed to soak up the pressure from Guven’s co-driver Christian Engelhart to seal victory by half a second.
Race 2 saw Kruetten start from the front of the grid and hold off BMW factory driver Nicky Catsburg in the other Schubert car to lead the opening stanza.
Green kept ahead of Jesse Krohn in the second half of the race to take the win and lead home a one-two for Schubert, while Guven and Engelhart completed the podium for Team Joos Sportwagentechnik to cap a strong weekend for the Porsche duo.
The last drivers to win both races in a GT Masters event were Callaway Corvette pairing Daniel Keilwitz and Marvin Kirchhofer at the Red Bull Ring four years ago.
NOLA Sweep for K-PAX Racing’s Italian Duo
Andrea Caldarelli and Michele Beretta were the star performers at NOLA Motorsports Park in round two of the Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS.
K-PAX Racing’s new pairing, formed after a rule change called for a Silver-rated driver in each lineup, won both 90-minute races in their Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.
Reigning series champion Caldarelli paced the opening stint of Race 1 from pole, before handing over to Silver driver Beretta who kept ahead of the other K-PAX car driven by Jordan Pepper and Misha Goikhberg.
The second race wasn’t as straightforward for Caldarelli and Beretta, who needed to come from behind to complete their weekend sweep.
Loris Spinelli made the best start in the US Racetronics Mercedes-AMG that finished third behind the two Lamborghinis on Saturday.
The Italian created a lead of around nine seconds in the first stint, but equipment issues during the pit stop canceled out that time and swung K-PAX to the top spot.
After an earlier pit stop for Caldarelli, Beretta undercut the drivers who had been ahead of their Lamborghini in the early stages and went through into the net lead as the US Racetronics Mercedes-AMG lost ground.
Beretta went on to finish 13.5 seconds ahead of the Racers Edge Motorsports Acura NSX GT3 Evo22 shared by Ashton Harrison and Mario Farnbacher, who secured Pro-Am honors after finishing second in class to George Kurtz and Colin Braun in Race 1.
Different Winners at Sepang as GTWC Asia Returns
There were different winning crews at the opening round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS season as the series returned to action following an absence of more than two years.
Prince Jefri Ibrahim and Nick Foster won the first race at Sepang in their Triple Eight-run Mercedes-AMG, before Earl Bamber and Adrian D’Silva claimed top honors in Race 2 for Porsche squad EBG Giga Racing.
Yogibo Racing’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 led the early stages of Race 1 after a strong start from Silver-rated Naoki Yokomizo against the designated Am drivers.
Yokozimo established a seven-second lead over X-Works Audi driver Yasser Shahin leading into the mandatory stops, but a slow tire change dropped the Yogibo car to third.
It trailed the X-Works Audi and the Triple Eight Mercedes-AMG, with the order of those two cars changing when Foster found a way past Sandy Stuvik.
Foster went on to win by 4.5 seconds from Bamber and D’Silva, while Stuvik retired his Audi R8 LM GT3 Evo II with an issue.
The second race saw Bamber and D’Silva go one step better in their Porsche 911 GT3 R.
Bamber dominated the opening stint, effectively overcoming the EBM Porsche’s 10-second pit stop success penalty that it earned by finishing second in Race 1.
Triple Eight driver Prince Abu Bakar Ibrahim managed to claw some of the time back during the second stint, but D’Silva had a firm handle on the lead and sealed victory with a solid closing drive.
Osborne, Moss Take Points Lead with Ricard Brace
Optimum Motorsport pairing Joe Osborne and Nick Moss moved into the lead of the International GT Open points with a double victory weekend at Paul Ricard.
The drivers of the No. 72 McLaren 720S GT3 climbed to the top of the leaderboard with a result that followed a brace of podiums at the Estoril curtain-raiser.
Oregon Team Lamborghini drivers Benjamin Hites and Leonardo Pulcini swept the season-opener but only scored eight points in the south of France.
In Race 1, Theeba Motorsport Mercedes driver Adam Christodoulou led the opening stint, with the leaders kept tightly knit due to a mid-stint safety car for a stopped Audi.
The Theeba AMG dropped back during the pit stops, while Kevin Gilardoni emerged into the lead aboard the No. 19 Oregon Lamborghini.
Gilardoni soon had Osborne for company, after the McLaren factory driver overtook David Fumanelli’s second-placed Kessel Racing around the outside at Turn 1.
Osborne progressed to the lead with a braking move on Gilardoni’s inside into the Mistral chicane. Gilardoni then punted Fumanelli around in their subsequent battle, picking up a penalty for his actions.
Osborne started Race 2 from pole but the Optimum McLaren fell behind the Kessel Ferrari at the driver swaps. However, Moss pressed on and found a way past Murat Cuhadaroglu to re-take a lead that the British driver would hold until the checkered flag.
Gilardoni and Glenn van Berlo rose to second after the former came out best in an Oregon inter-team scrap with Hites, who lost further ground after contact with Cuhadaroglu that yielded a penalty.
Other Racing & News
***KTM squad True Racing claimed a home soil victory in the first Fanatec GT2 European Series race at the Red Bull Ring, with Stefan Rosina and Filip Sladecka driving. Top honors in the second contest went to solo competitor Elia Erhart driving an LP Racing Audi R8 LMS GT2. Race 1 / Race 2
***Stevan McAleer and Eric Filgueiras shone at NOLA for round two of the Pirelli GT4 America season, as the RS1 Porsche pairing won both races from pole position. Each race had a Porsche one-two result, as Pro-Am class winners Elliot Skeer and Adam Adelson twice finished second to the overall winners. Race 1 / Race 2
***DTM Trophy and ADAC GT4 Germany were also in action last weekend, at the Lausitzring and Red Bull Ring respectively. Tim Heinemann won both DTM Trophy races in a Ring Racing Toyota GR Supra, while Gabriele Piana and Michael Schrey earned two wins in Austria for BMW squad Hofor Racing by Bonk Motorsport.
***Toyota World Rally team principal Jari-Matti Latvala and reigning Super GT champion Yuhi Sekiguchi are among the drivers confirmed in a Toyota Gazoo Racing-backed lineup for the Fuji 24 Hours next month. Latvala, Masahiro Sasaki, Hiroaki Ishiura, Yasuhiro Ogura, Norihiko Katsuta and Toyota president Akio Toyoda will share a hydrogen-powered Toyota GR Corolla run by the Rookie Racing team. Sekiguchi, meanwhile, is set to drive a GR86 CNF Concept alongside in a lineup that also includes fellow Super GT ace Kazuya Oshima.
***50 cars are on the entry list for next month’s Road to Le Mans races that form part of the 24 Hours of Le Mans support bill. The LMP3 category features 36 cars, while 13 cars are entered in GT3 with some one-off entries from the likes of Team WRT, Leipert Motorsport and Racetivity joining the full-time Michelin Le Mans Cup teams. The Mission H24 car is shown as an invitational entry after making its race debut at Imola.
***B-Quik Absolute Racing has named Sandy Stuvik and Akash Nandy as the drivers of its second Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II in the Thailand Super Series, which starts at Bangsaen late next month.
On this weekend: Nürburgring 24 (Nürburgring), Super GT (Suzuka), Intelligent Money British GT Championship (Donington Park)