Post-Race Drama Decides British GT Title
TF Sport drivers Jonny Adam and Graham Davidson clinched the 2019 British GT drivers’ championship in dramatic fashion after a post-race penalty gave them the points they needed to overtake Johnny Cocker and Sam de Haan in the final standings.
Adam and Davidson steered their Aston Martin Vantage GT3 to a sixth-place finish on the road at Donington, but a penalty for the WPI Motorsport Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo crucially promoted them to fifth.
Adam was running fourth in the closing stages when he lost two places in a tangle with WPI driver Dennis Lind, an incident which put Cocker and de Haan’s Barwell Lamborghini into fourth place – good enough for the title.
The race ended with Balfe Motorsport’s McLaren 720S GT3 taking its first series victory in the hands of Shaun Balfe and Rob Bell, while RAM Racing’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 was second.
Cocker and de Haan took fourth, behind the No. 9 Century Motorsport BMW M6 GT3, but their provisional half-point championship lead was erased when Lind – who finished fifth – received a five-second time penalty.
This promoted Adam and Davidson’s Aston to fifth place, swinging the title back in their direction in the form of a 2.5-point cushion over Cocker and de Haan.
TF Sport also clinched the British GT4 title in the same race with Tom Canning and Ashley Hand winning a six-car battle for the championship in their Aston Martin Vantage.
Rast Clinches DTM Crown a Round Early
A third-place finish in Sunday’s race at the Nürburgring was enough for Rene Rast to reclaim the DTM drivers’ title for Audi Sport Team Rosberg.
The 2017 champion finished second to Mercedes’ Gary Paffett last year, but returned to the honor roll with a brace of podiums at the penultimate event of the season.
Rast gave himself a boost on Saturday by winning the opening race of the weekend from pole position, while his main rival Nico Mueller could only manage to finish 15th.
The two drivers were closer in Race 2, with Rast reaching the podium and Mueller improving to finish sixth, but this left an unassailable 56-point gap between the two Audi drivers heading into the Hockenheim finale.
Rast took the Race 2 lead from fellow Audi competitor Jamie Green into Turn 1, while Mueller was down in the pack having struggled with a sensor issue in qualifying.
The Audi Sport Team Abt Sportsline driver subsequently worked his way through the field as Rast battled with Green and Robin Frijns in an all-Audi scrap for the victory.
Green re-took the lead during the mandatory pit stop sequence and defended hard from Frijns, who overtook both Rast and Mueller in the latter stages.
Mueller was pushing to finish in the top five to prolong his slim odds of winning a maiden title, but he was demoted to sixth by WRT driver Jonathan Aberdein, which ensured Rast’s confirmation as champion again.
GT Masters Champions Also Decided
Kelvin van der Linde and Patric Niederhauser won the ADAC GT Masters title for the new HCB Rutronik Racing team with their second victory of the season.
The pair arrived at Hockenheim with a substantial 40-point advantage having been in control of the drivers’ standings since the third round at Most.
Van der Linde started the No. 31 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo from pole and maintained his healthy advantage through to the mid-race driver swaps.
Niederhauser went on to successfully nurse the gap of around five seconds until the checkered flag, with the HCB Rutronik driver finishing clear ahead of Ricardo Feller and Dries Vanthoor’s Montaplast by Land-Motorsport Audi.
It marked the first GT Masters title for Niederhauser, while van der Linde became the second double champion after Sebastian Asch. It was also the first time the drivers’ champions had been confirmed before the final round of the season.
Race 1 honors went to the GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo pairing of Mirko Bortolotti and Christian Engelhart, who beat Indy Dontje and Maximilian Goetz’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 to the line by two seconds.
News & Notes
**Akihiko Hamano, Kazuki Hoshino and Kiyoto Fujinami defended their Japanese Super Taikyu title in the final round of the season at Motegi. The trio, driving a Nissan GT-R NISMO GT3, did this despite missing out on the race win to the Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Tse Ha King, Philip Tang and Shaun Thong.
***Three-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Andre Lotterer and Chris Wilson won the RAC TT Celebration – a major prize in historic racing – at Goodwood on Sunday. Lotterer produced a fine pass on fellow Le Mans winner and AC Cobra driver Romain Dumas to take the victory.
***The roster of current and former sports car stars taking part in the annual vintage classic included Henri Pescarolo, Benoit Treluyer, Brendon Hartley, Marcel Fassler and Neel Jani.
***Mercedes-AMG crews finished 1-2-3 in the second of two French GT4 races held at Magny Cours. Thomas Drouet and Benjamin Ricci led the group to take the win for AKKA-ASP, a day after the BMW M4 GT4 of Christopher Campbell and Riccardo van der Ende won Race 1.
***BMW Formula E driver Alexander Sims took victory with his co-drivers Stefano Comandini and Erik Johansson in the three-hour Italian GT Championship round at Vallelunga. It marked Sims’ first GT3 triumph in three years.
***Mathias Beche is to make his first European Le Mans Series appearance in almost three years with the Inter Europol Competition LMP2 squad. Beche, who raced for Rebellion Racing in WEC last season, will share the team’s Ligier JS P217 Gibson at Spa next weekend with Jakub Smiechowski and Sam Dejonghe.
***Beche finished second in the 2016 LMP2 standings with Thiriet by TDS Racing – his most recent time in the series – and won the title back in 2012.
***Two-time IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar GTD champion Christina Nielsen and Blancpain GT Sports Club points leader Jens Reno Møller will represent Denmark in the FIA Motorsport Games. The pair will contest the nation-based event this November in a JAS Motorsport-prepared Honda NSX GT3 Evo.