It’s another mix of European series in this week’s Sportscar365 Weekend Racing Roundup, with reports from the wet ADAC GT Masters weekend at Zandvoort in The Netherlands, a rather warm weekend for Italian GT and the new GT4 European Series at Misano and mixed weather from France where the Belgian Racing Car Championship had rain, hail and sunshine!
ADAC GT Masters
Teams faced extremely difficult weather conditions at Zandvoort, heavy rain causing lots of problems throughout the weekend. In the first race on Saturday Kevin Estre in the No. 3 GW IT Racing Team/Schütz Motorsport Porsche took the lead in the first corner and left every other driver behind in the spray, lapping almost three seconds quicker than his rivals.
He handed over the Porsche to teammate Jaap van Lagen with a 17-second lead. As the weather deteriorated, Van Lagen kept his Porsche on track and finished nine seconds clear of the second placed Prosperia C. Abt Racing Audi.
Conditions were even worse on Sunday. Van Lagen started from fourth on the grid, but was soon chasing leader René Rast. When the Dutchman eventually overtook the Audi there was no stopping the the No. 3 GW IT Racing Team/Schütz Motorsport Porsche. Estre took over having a 2.4 seconds lead and in the rain he continued to dominate and finished 8.3 seconds ahead of Van der Linde.
Race 1 – 1. GW IT Racing Team/Schütz Motorsport (Van Lagen/Estre) Porsche, 2. Prosperia C. Abt Racing (Joens/Winkelhock) Audi, 3. Prosperia C. Abt Racing (Rast/Van der Linde) Audi.
Race 2 – 1. GW IT Racing Team/Schütz Motorsport (Van Lagen/Estre) Porsche, 2. Prosperia C. Abt Racing (Rast/Van der Linde) Audi, 3. Prosperia C. Abt Racing (Hamprecht/Thiim) Audi.
Italian GT Championship
While Zandvoort suffered bad weather the Italian GT Championship kicked off at a sunlit Misano World Circuit. Audi Sport Italia’s Marco Mapelli started the first race from pole position, but it was the Audi R8 LMS ultra of teammates Dindo Capello and Emanuele Zonzi that won.
Zonzini chased down Alessandro Balzan’s teammate Nicola Benucci after the pit stops and four laps before the end of the race he caught the Ferrari and moved into the lead. Zonzini went on to win the race, finishing 6.817s clear of the BMS Scuderia Ferrari of Alessandro Pier Guidi, who passed Benucci on the last lap.
In Race 2 on Sunday, Pier Guidi and Matteo Malucelli pulled away from the rest of the field, until Zonzini and Lorenzo Casè collided and crashed on lap 10 and the safety car was deployed. After the mandatory stops Audi’s Marco Mapelli rejoined in third place and within two laps after the restart he was in the lead.
Mapelli pushed hard as he was given a 10.854-second time penalty and finished 13 seconds ahead of the Ebimotors Porsche of Donativi/Gagliardini. (The decision to give Mapelli a penalty was overturned after the race.)
Race 1 – 1. Audi Sport Italia (Capello/Zonzini) Audi, 2. BMS Scuderia Italia (Lucchini/Pier Guidi) Ferrari, 3. MP1 Corse (Balzan/Benucci) Ferrari.
Race 2 – 1. Audi Sport Italia (Mapelli/Schoeffler) Audi, 2. Ebimotors (Donativi/Gagliardini) Porsche, 3. Imperiale Racing (Amici/Barri) Lamborghini.
GT4 European Series
The new-for-2014 GT4 European Series began its season with a night race at the Misano World Circuit. Technical issues at the circuit resulted in 20-minute delay of the race after which it was restarted for 44 minutes.
Pole-sitter Ricardo van der Ende led from start until the pit stops, before handing over to Bernhard van Oranje. Van Oranje rejoined in the lead, but soon Italian driver Alessandro Bonacini started to close in on him. With just a couple of minutes left in the race Bonacini passed the BMW before the last corner and went on to win the first round of the season.
On Sunday, Bonacini and Lasagni played a key role in the race again. The Ginetta G50s dominated the race and it was German driver Jörg Viebahn who took the lead after a couple of laps. When he handed the car over to his Dutch teammate Bertus Sanders the Ginetta that won the day before joined the battle for the lead.
From that moment on until the end of the race Bonacini and Sanders were bumper-to-bumper, swapping positions a couple of times. Just when Bonacini seemed set to win he made a mistake and coming out of the final corner Sanders put his Ginetta next to that of Bonacini. The Dutch driver was 0.049s ahead of his Italian rival at the finish.
Race 1 – 1. Nova Race (Bonacini/Lasagni) Ginetta, 2. Racing Team Holland by Ekris Motorsport (Van der Ende/B. van Oranje) BMW, 3. Nova Race (Anttila/Bugliotti) Ginetta.
Race 2 – 1. Nova Race (Viebahn/Sanders) Ginetta. 2. Nova Race (Bonacini/Lasagni) Ginetta, 3. Racing Team Holland by Ekris Motorsport (Van der Ende/B. van Oranje) BMW.
Belgian Racing Car Championship
The BRCC raced at Dijon-Prenois and the race was won by the Aston Martin Brussels Racing Vantage of Tim Verbergt, Bert Redant and Damien Coens.
A hailstorm hit the circuit before the start and after an extra lap behind the safety car the race got underway, with the Aston taking the lead on lap 10. It lost the lead after the first round of stops, but moved back into the lead after the last round of pitstops as Verbergt was four seconds a lap faster than his rivals. Minutes from the end of the race it started raining again, but Maxime Jousse (WRT-Audi) was unable to close the gap to the Aston.
Race – 1. Aston Martin Brussels Racing (Verbergt/Redant/Coens) Aston Martin, 2. WRT (Jousse/Teneketzian) Audi, 3. Belgium Racing (Derdaele/Heyer/Maassen)Porsche.