Baguette, Tsukakoshi Win Again to Take Points Lead
Honda drivers Bertrand Baguette and Koudai Tsukakoshi earned their second Super GT victory of the season, becoming the first pairing to win more than one race in 2020.
The Keihin Real Racing duo also moved above Sacha Fenestraz and Yuhi Sekiguchi at the top of the GT500 standings with a commanding win from second on the grid.
Baguette took the start and overtook pole-sitter Yuji Tachikawa for the lead after a handful of laps when the Toyota GR Supra driver got caught up behind some GT300 cars.
The Belgian kept the blue No. 17 Honda NSX-GT ahead through a safety car period which came after JLOC’s GT300-class Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo tangled with the ARTA GT500 Honda and spun into the path of the Bandoh Toyota Supra.
Baguette duly led the field into the pit window, only for the TGR Team ZENT Cerumo Supra to get back ahead following Tachikawa’s change over to Hiroaki Ishiura.
However, this turnaround turned out to be temporary, as Tsukakoshi hunted down and passed Ishiura to restore a lead that the Honda driver would hold until the checkered flag.
Hideki Mutoh and Ukyo Sasahara completed the top-three in their Mugen Honda, marking a significant improvement on their previous-best 10th place in round two at Fuji.
The best of the Nissan GT-R Nismos finished seventh in the hands of Kohei Hirate and Katsumasa Chiyo.
Early-season points leaders Fenestraz and Sekiguchi, who had finished on the podium in all three previous events, relinquished their championship lead in 11th place.
GT300 honors went to Naoya Gamou and Togo Suganami in their K2 R&D Leon Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo, heralding the fourth different brand to win the class this year.
Audis Back to the Fore at Nürburgring
Robin Frijns and Nico Mueller split victories in the fifth round of DTM at the Nürburgring as the latter extended his series lead.
A lights-to-flag performance by Mueller in Race 1 saw the Swiss Audi driver claim a comfortable victory ahead of teammate Rene Rast.
Rast trailed pole-sitter Mueller in the opening stages but the race leader stretched his advantage and emerged from the pit stops to take his fourth win in nine races.
Frijns and Rast were engaged in a furious battle for much of the race until Frijns ran off the track and spun while attempting a pass.
BMW’s Marco Wittmann took over third followed by the Audi of Mike Rockenfeller and Frijns recovered to complete the top five.
In the second race, Frijns beat championship leader Mueller to the top step of the podium.
Muller led the first portion of the race, however that changed on lap 17 when Frijns put a move down the inside of his Abt teammate at the final turn to snatch the lead.
Frijns held sway until the checkered flag, while Mueller slipped down the order off the podium.
Rast climbed to second ahead of Rockenfeller, while Loic Duval also got past Mueller who landed up fifth.
Mueller remains in the lead of the DTM standings by 29 points over Dutchman Frijns.
RESULTS: Nürburgring (GP layout)
KTM Concept Makes Waves on GT Open Debut
The new KTM X-Bow GTX Concept made its International GT Open debut at the Red Bull Ring and beat a field of GT3 cars before being disqualified for a technical infraction.
Stefan Rosina and Patric Niederhauser’s Reiter Engineering-run car finished first on the road after Niederhauser out-braked Marcelo Hahn’s Teo Martin Motorsport McLaren 720S GT3 into the tight Remus right-hander with 26 minutes left on the clock.
The reigning ADAC GT Masters champion went on to take the checkered flag, only for his and Rosina’s work to be undone by the post-race technical checks which found the size of the KTM’s brake discs to be non-compliant.
This handed the win to Teo Martin’s Henrique Chaves and Miguel Ramos, who came through to beat their teammates Hahn and Fran Rueda in the sister McLaren.
Reiter Engineering has appealed its disqualification, meaning the finishing order remains subject to the result of an appeal.
In Race 2, the KTM finished ninth as TF Sport’s Charlie Eastwood and Salih Yoluc claimed a narrow win over AF Corse’s Vincent Abril and Louis Prette.
The field was bunched up by a late safety car period but Yoluc kept TF’s Aston Martin Vantage GT3 ahead of Prette in the No. 51 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo, while Christian Klien and Patryk Krupinski finished third in their JP Motorsport Mercedes.
Other Racing Action
***Markus Winkelhock and Maximilian Goetz shared out the wins during round two of the German GTC series at the Nürburgring. Winkelhock prevailed in a lengthy battle with Patrick Assenheimer to win Race 1 in his No. 99 Audi R8 LMS GT3 before Goetz beat Winkelhock by just 0.2 seconds in the second encounter.
***Tim Heinemann extended his DTM Trophy points lead at the halfway mark of the season with a pair of wins at the Nürbrugring in his HP Racing International Mercedes-AMG GT4. Jan Kisiel moved up to second in the standings with fourth place in Race 1 and a podium in Race 2.
***Emanuele Maria Tabacchi continued his domination of the Ferrari Challenge Europe season with another weekend brace of victories, this time at Spa. John Wartique finished second to the Italian in Race 1, while Florian Merckx was runner-up in Race 2.
News & Notes
***Boutsen Ginion Racing has confirmed its driver lineup for the Total 24 Hours of Spa. 21-year-old Benjamin Lessennes joining the team’s GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Endurance Cup full-season crew of Karim Ojjeh, Gilles Vannelet and Jens Klingmann.
***Ryan Dalziel has stood down from Tower Motorsport by Starworks’ IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship LMP2 program. The Scot, who was due to share the team’s Oreca 07 Gibson with John Farano for a full-season campaign, completed only two races so far due to COVID-19-related travel restrictions and other challenges impacting Farano’s participation.
***United Autosports co-owner Zak Brown and triple Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti are set to share a United-prepared Jaguar XJR-10 in the Peter Auto Classic meeting at Estoril in November.
***Six-time Olympic cycling champion Sir Chris Hoy will drive a Revolution A-One prototype in the Sports Prototype Cup rounds at Snetterton and Portimao, the latter in support of the Portuguese Grand Prix. 2015 European Le Mans Series LMP3 champion Hoy tested the car earlier this year.
***Balfe Motorsport has added a second McLaren 570S GT4 to its entry for this weekend’s three-hour British GT race at Donington Park. 2012 GT4 champion Warren Hughes and Jan Klingelnberg, who started out in the single-make Pure GT McLaren series, will share the wheel.
On this weekend: FIA World Endurance Championship (24H Le Mans), GT World Challenge America powered by AWS (COTA), ADAC GT Masters (Hockenheim), DTM (Nürburgring Sprint), British GT (Donington Park), Michelin Le Mans Cup (Le Mans), Pirelli GT4 America (COTA), TC America (COTA)
Slade Perrins and John Dagys contributed to this report.