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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Delayed AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG Arrives at Indianapolis

AKKA-ASP gets its freight-delayed Mercedes to Indy 8H paddock ahead of Pre-Qualifying…

Photo: John Dagys

AKKA-ASP’s freight-delayed Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo has arrived in the Indianapolis Motor Speedway paddock in time for Saturday morning’s Pre-Qualifying session.

The French squad brought the car’s container into the paddock just after 5:30 a.m. and has been working since then to get the vehicle prepared and other equipment set up for the remainder of the eight-hour race weekend.

Technical manager Guillaume Andrieux said ASP had been “fighting” to get its car released from the Port of Norfolk in Virginia – 730 miles away – where it had been delayed for several days after its Atlantic sea crossing from the TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa.

Raffaele Marciello, Daniel Juncadella and Timur Boguslavskiy are sharing the car in round two of the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli.

“The container arrived at 5:25 a.m. and we opened the container at 6 a.m,” Andrieux told Sportscar365.

“We’ve been fighting with the port since Tuesday to get it out. Then we were fighting with getting some truck drivers and so on.

“It was finally released yesterday morning. We drove it over and it had to do a mandatory stop for driving times. He drove as fast as he could until here.

“It was 1,200 [kilometers] to drive.”

AKKA-ASP borrowed a Mercedes-AMG from American outfit DXDT Racing to complete Thursday’s paid test session and Free Practice on Friday.

Marciello set the third-fastest lap during the latter session, behind Mercedes-AMG Team Craft-Bamboo Racing’s Jules Gounon and Audi Sport Team WRT’s Dries Vanthoor.

Andrieux said that AKKA-ASP was grateful for DXDT’s support and said that the loan enabled his team to prepare for the weekend, despite its own car being unavailable.  

“We were very lucky and thankful to DXDT for offering their car,” he said. “It really helped us a lot. It’s the first time for us on this track.

“The first day was discovering the track. The second day was wet. It was good to do some procedures and check other things on the track and not losing too much time against the competition thanks to the rain.

“The big day starts today with our car but we don’t start from zero.”

Andrieux added that the team is confident about hitting the ground running in this morning’s 90-minute Pre-Qualifying practice session.

“The car was ready to run. We just have to make the setup and scrutineering,” he said.

“We hope that we will get it at 8:30 a.m. on the track. If we lose a couple of minutes [it’s OK] but at least we’re ready to run it.”

Daniel Lloyd is a UK-based reporter for Sportscar365, covering the FIA World Endurance Championship, GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS and the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship, among other series.

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