Lawson Takes DTM Lead with Podium Brace
Red Bull AF Corse’s Liam Lawson seized the DTM points lead from Kelvin van der Linde with four races to go by taking a pair of podium finishes at Assen.
Lawson finished third to BMW’s Marco Wittmann and Lamborghini guest starter Mirko Bortolotti on Saturday, before taking improving to behind Mercedes-AMG pilot Lucas Auer on Sunday.
Wittmann claimed his second win of the season by drawing out a sufficient gap to override a five-second time penalty that he was carrying following contact with Lawson.
Pole-sitter Lawson held first into the opening sequence of corners, but was quickly caught and passed by Bortolotti whose Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo was running without any success ballast.
The lead changed again after the mandatory pit stops, as Maximilian Goetz undercut several of his rivals to emerge in front of of Bortolotti, Lawson and Wittmann.
A safety car for debris on track then shook up the race, bunching the field for a two-by-two restart.
Wittmann managed to get past Bortolotti before muscling Lawson out wide, resulting in the penalty, and also overtook Goetz to take the net lead. The double series champion then needed to get past Mike Rockenfeller’s late-stopping Audi before drawing out enough of a margin to secure the win.
Race two was a more straightforward winning performance from Auer, who led away from pole and maintained his advantage through the tire change pit stops.
The Winward Racing driver came under pressure from Lawson in the closing stages but managed to hold on for his first win of the campaign. A late tire issue for Daniel Juncadella handed third to Wittmann, who is now second behind Lawson in the points.
Skelton, Doquin Lead Cool Racing 1-2 at Spa
Josh Skelton and Antoine Doquin led home a one-two result for Cool Racing in the penultimate round of the Michelin Le Mans Cup season at Spa-Francorchamps.
The drivers of the No. 37 Ligier JS P320 Nissan won the shortened two-hour race by 34.6 seconds from their teammates in the No. 69 Ligier, Matt Bell and Maurice Smith.
Doquin surged into an early lead at Eau Rouge on the opening lap, running ahead of Thorsten Kranz and Alexander Mattschull in Duqueine D08 Nissans from WTM by Phoenix Racing and Rinaldi Racing.
Doquin managed the gap through the driver changes, which took place under Full Course Yellow conditions after the No. 18 Muelhner Motorsport Duqueine spun and stopped.
There was more drama to come, including Andy Meyrick’s United Autosports Ligier being turned into the gravel by Rinaldi driver Nico Varrone, who was running third.
At the time of serving his drive-through penalty for the contact, Varrone had already been passed by Bell who was starting to reel in Kranz’s teammate Leo Weiss.
The Englishman overtook the WTM/Phoenix Duqueine with 20 minutes remaining by blasting past on the run between La Source and Eau Rouge.
Further up the road, Skelton was boasting a lead of more than half a minute that he managed to keep until the checkered flag, which came out eight minutes earlier than the planned two-hour duration due to the 6 p.m. circuit curfew at Spa-Francorchamps.
GT3 honors went to Iron Lynx Ferrari drivers Paolo Ruberti and Gabriele Lancieri.
Streimer, Ruud Take TC America Wins at Watkins Glen
Steve Streimer took advantage of a chaotic series of events to take his first overall TC America powered by Skip Barber Racing Schools victory in the opening race of the weekend at Watkins Glen International.
TCX class points leader Jacob Ruud, meanwhile, returned to victory lane in a shortened Race 2 on Sunday after sustaining a right-rear puncture in Race 1 that set the stage for Streimer to take top honors on Saturday.
The Hard Motorsport driver finished 15.448 seconds ahead of the TC class-winning Honda Civic Type-R of Eric Powell, who swept the weekend in class.
Carter Fartuch (Honda Civic Si) and Caleb Bacon (Hyundai Veloster Turbo TCA) claimed TCA class honors on Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
Other Racing Action
***D’station Racing clinched the Super Taikyu championship by winning the five-hour enduro at Suzuka. Tomonobu Fujii, Satoshi Hoshino and Tsubasa Kondo prevailed after the chasing PC Okazaki Porsche 911 GT3 R needed to make a late fuel splash, while the victorious Aston Martin Vantage GT3 had needed to bounce back from a drive-through penalty for contact. Results
***Mattia Drudi, Lorenzo Ferrari and Riccardo Agostini regained the Italian GT Championship Endurance points lead with a victory in the three-hour contest at Vallelunga. The Audi Sport Italia drivers won by four seconds from the AF Corse Ferrari crew of Antonio Fuoco, Carrie Schreiner and Giorgio Roda. The final round takes place at Monza next month. Results
***Round two of the China Endurance Championship took place at Ningbo. Weian Chen and Congfu Chen took victory in an Absolute Racing Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo as six GT3 cars took part in the multi-class grid. Results
***Reinhard Kofler took KTM’s maiden DTM Trophy win during the second race at Assen, after Heide-Motorsport Audi driver Lucas Mauron reached the top step of the podium in the opener. Ben Green leads Will Tregurtha by eight points with two rounds to go.
***Marvin Kirchhofer secured the German GTC series title at the Hockenheim season finale where he finished first in Race 2 driving an NRT Mercedes-AMG GT3. Nicolas Schoell won the opening race in a Zakspeed Mercedes. Schoell and Jules Gunon teamed up to win the Goodyear 60 two-driver race.
***Sports car stars from different eras, including several Le Mans winners, took part in the annual Goodwood Revival Meeting. Darren Turner and Oliver Bryant won the headline RAC TT Celebration race for closed-cockpit GT cars, after benefiting from a time penalty for fellow Cobra drivers Romain Dumas and Bill Shepherd. Results
News & Notes
***British team Greystone GT stepped up to the GT3 ranks for the penultimate GT Cup series round at Donington Park. The brand-new McLaren 720S GT3 run by the team took a pair of third places with Ed Pead and Andrey Borodin sharing the wheel.
***Gulf 12 Hours winner 2 Seas Motorsport will make its European racing debut in the International GT Open’s upcoming Monza round. Martin Kodric will share the team’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with Canadian racer Ethan Simioni.
***The 24H Series has canceled its planned second visit to Enna-Pergusa next month due to a change of presidency at the Sicilian circuit. A 12-hour race at the Hungaroring will take its place. A statement from series organizer Creventic said: “Numerous delays over the course of the summer mean the circuit has yet to finalize its president and several key positions on its board of directors, and as a result, is unable to host any major events at this time.”
On this weekend: IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship (Long Beach), Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup (Valencia), NLS (Round 8), International GT Open (Monza)
John Dagys contributed to this report