Chiyo, Takaboshi Take Super GT Points Lead
Katsumasa Chiyo and Mitsunori Takaboshi became the first two-time winners of the Super GT season and moved back into the GT500 championship lead in the process.
The NDDP Racing Nissan duo took victory in Sunday’s rain-hit 84-lap race at Sportsland Sugo to add to their earlier success in the third round of the campaign at Suzuka.
Chiyo and Takaboshi moved 3.5 points clear of Bertrand Baguette and Kazuki Hiramine, who finished fifth in their Team Impul Nissan Z GT500.
Tire selection was key at Sugo, where early afternoon rainfall created damp conditions for the start that prompted some of the GT500 runners to adopt treaded rubber.
Chiyo’s Michelin-supplied Nissan was one of those cars, and the 2015 Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour winner moved into the lead when the rain intensified on lap 10 and the slick-shod competitors headed for the pits.
Chiyo went on to hand the No. 3 Nissan over to Takaboshi in the lead, while their teammate car driven by Ronnie Quintarelli and Tsugio Matsuda assumed second.
The Nissans remained in that order until the checkered flag, solidifying a one-two result ahead of the Mugen Honda NS-X GT of Ukyo Sasahara and Toshiki Oyu.
Hiroki Katoh and Yuui Tsutsumi claimed GT300 class honors in their Muta Racing Toyota GR86, which finished ahead of two GAINER Nissan GT-R Nismo GT3s.
Wet Conditions Heighten Drama at Sandown
Heavy rain generated some dramatic and decisive moments in the third round of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Australia powered by AWS season at Sandown Raceway.
The opening 60-minute race was shortened by 12 minutes due to the inclement conditions, while the second contest was red-flagged part of the way through.
Shane van Gisbergen and Prince Jefri Ibrahim took victory in Race 1 for Mercedes-AMG squad Triple Eight Race Engineering. Ibrahim took the lead in the early stages as pole-sitter Yasser Shahin rotated his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo II on the slippery track.
Ibrahim remained in front until the pit window, with Liam Talbot running second.
Van Gisbergen kept the No. 888 Mercedes-AMG ahead during the second stint until the race was red-flagged after several Am-class competitors spun out.
Shahin got his redemption in the second race, which he won alongside Garth Tander.
A spin for Tony Bates at the penultimate corner enabled Shahin, who had only just overtaken Ibrahim for second, to power through and take the victory in his The Bend-liveried Audi run by Melbourne Performance Centre.
Van Gisbergen led the field away from pole in treacherous conditions, with Tander in second and Talbot’s co-driver Fraser Ross in third.
The continuous rainfall prompted the race to be red-flagged for 20 minutes, creating a 12-minute sprint to the checkered flag that also included driver change pit stops.
Ibrahim led out of the pits but was overtaken on the final lap by Bates’ Audi into the Turn 6 left-hander.
A third-placed Shahin then passed Ibrahim as well, before unexpectedly being gifted the win a few seconds later when Bates lost control entering the final sequence of corners, his Audi splashing backwards through the saturated grass and gravel runoff.
GT2 Europe Set for Title Showdown
Nicolas Saelens and Stienes Longin overtook Stefan Rosina and Filip Sladecka at the top of the Fanatec GT2 European Series standings to set up a title showdown at the final round of the season next month.
PK Carsport drivers Saelens and Longin claimed a victory and a second place at Valencia to transform their one-point deficit into a five-point lead with two races to go.
KTM duo Rosina and Sladecka initially lost ground by finishing fourth in Race 1 but won the second contest to keep the Pro-Am championship as close as possible.
In the Am class, Henry Hassid wrapped up the Am title by sweeping the weekend.
The opening race at Valencia started with Elia Erhart having the best launch in LP Racing’s No. 18 Audi R8 LMS GT2, while Sladecka and Saelens followed closely throughout the first stint.
Michael Doppermayr remained ahead for LP after the pit stops, but he was hunted down and passed for the lead by Longin, whose Audi co-driver Saelens had come in at the earliest opportunity.
Rosina worked his way into second, but fell out of the podium places when he was called to serve a drive-through penalty for contest with another KTM X-Bow GT2.
Rosina and Sladecka then rebounded from their Race 1 misfortune to win on Sunday.
Anders Fjordbach led the opening stint in the Brabham BT63 GT2 Concept, with Stienes Longin chasing the Dane and Bert Longin keeping Rosina and High Class Racing’s Michael Vergers at bay.
Rosina ducked out of the battle early in the pit window and emerged in fourth, however that soon became third when Sladecka overtook the High Class Audi on its out-lap.
The Brabham’s race then quickly unraveled due to a stop-go penalty for a short pit stop and a braking issue that caused its retirement with Kevin Weeda at the wheel.
Saelens inherited the lead but spun on his own at Turn 12 with just three minutes to go, enabling Sladecka to take the win by a margin of six seconds.
Other Racing Action
***It was a triumphant return to the wheel of a Ferrari for Rubens Barrichello, who won the Italian GT Championship enduro at Vallelunga alongside fellow ex-Formula 1 driver Giancarlo Fisichella. The Scuderia Baldini duo led throughout the two-hour race from pole position, despite safety car periods restricting their advantage.
***Barichello drove a clean middle stint as Fisichella took the checkered flag 2.5 seconds ahead of the Nova Race Honda NSX GT3 Evo22 driven by Jacopo Guidetti, Leonardo Moncini and Jorge Cabezas. A crowd of 28,000 spectators attended the event. Results
***Akkodis ASP won the four-hour GT endurance race at Hockenheim that formed part of the Ultimate Cup Series bill. Former LMP2 driver Vincent Capillaire and Nicolas Chartier teamed up in a Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo run by the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa-winning outfit. Elsewhere, paraplegic racer Nigel Bailly won the third GT Hypersprint race in a CMR Bentley Continental GT3. Results
***Kennol Racing returned the Callaway Corvette C7 GT3-R to competition at Hockenheim, but the car driven by 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Christopher Bouchut and Kennol CEO Olivier Morihain was withdrawn from the Hypersprint races due to a broken engine connecting rod in qualifying.
***Floyd Vanwall-Burst won the opening round of the Le Mans Virtual Series held on Bahrain International Circuit. The No. 4 Oreca 07 shared by Jesper Pedersen, Jernej Simoncic, Damian Skowron beat the R8G Esports trio of Jiri Toman, Erhan Jajovski and Marcell Csincsik by eight seconds. Oracle Red Bull Racing won the GTE class with a Porsche 911 RSR-19.
***Sports car racing stars descended on the Goodwood Revival Meeting, where two-time Le Mans winner Romain Dumas won Saturday’s St. Mary’s Trophy contest in a 1963 Ford Galaxie, beating Nürburgring 24 winner Frank Stippler by less than a second.
***Jenson Button and Harrison Newey looked set to win the headline RAC TT Celebration in their Jaguar E-Type, with Button leading the first stint until gearbox problems took hold just after the pit stop. Andrew Smith and Gordon Shedden took victory in an AC Cobra, after their main challenger Dumas also retired.
News & Notes
***ByKolles last week conducted the first test drive of its ‘Vanwall Vandervell 100’ street-legal hypercar, which is set to complement the German constructor’s Vanwall-badged LMH program. ByKolles announced in September 2020 that there would be a road-going accompaniment to its non-hybrid LMH car for the FIA World Endurance Championship.
***US RaceTronics has dropped off the entry list for this weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS round at Sebring. Steven Aghakhani and Loris Spinelli shared the No. 6 Mercedes-AMG at all prior rounds and are sixth in the drivers’ championship. ST Racing’s BMW M4 GT3 is also absent from the 18-car field.
***Manthey Racing has confirmed that its ‘Grello’ Porsche 911 GT3 R will return to the NLS for the penultimate round of the season on Oct. 22. Drivers are yet to be announced.
***Barwell Motorsport has undergone another driver lineup revision for the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS season finale at Barcelona. Jordan Witt and James Dorlin join full-time driver Alex MacDowall. Charlie Fagg and Sam De Haan were initially due to partner MacDowall in the Silver Cup Lamborghini entry.
***GTWC Europe front-runner Dinamic Motorsport will make its International GT Open debut at Monza and Barcelona with a Porsche 911 GT3 R for Klaus Bachler and Italian GT competitor Riccardo Cazzaniga. British team 7TSIX Racing has also committed to Monza for its series debut with a McLaren 720S GT3. Bradley Ellis is the first confirmed driver.
***Aston Martin factory driver Charlie Eastwood has been named as a simulator driver for the Mercedes-AMG Petronas Formula 1 Team. The 24 Hours of Le Mans GTE-Am class winner has already been involved in Mercedes’ driver-in-the-loop testing program for around 18 months and worked on last year’s W12 and this season’s W13 model.
***Racing Team Nederland owner Frits van Eerd has been released from custody but remains a suspect in a Dutch money laundering case, according to reports. Van Eerd was arrested last week during a search and seizure of documents at his home.
On this weekend: European Le Mans Series (Spa), DTM (Red Bull Ring), Fanatec GT World Challenge America powered by AWS (Sebring), Fanatec GT World Challenge Asia powered by AWS (Okayama), ADAC GT Masters (Sachsenring), International GT Open (Monza)