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GT World Challenge Europe

Engel, Stolz Take Lights-to-Flag Race 2 Victory

Mercedes-AMG pair Engel, Stolz win second Sprint Cup race at Magny-Cours…

Photo: Jules Benichou/21 Creation

Maro Engel and Luca Stolz took a lights-to-flag victory in the second race of the Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup season-opener at Magny-Cours.

The German pair claimed Toksport WRT’s maiden GTWC Europe race win after Engel delivered the team’s first overall pole position on Sunday morning in the No. 6 Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Engel controlled the opening stint despite a challenge from Albert Costa in the No. 163 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo, before using the pit window to swap out for Stolz who kept Toksport WRT ahead through a pair of second-half safety car periods.

After one hour, Stolz crossed the line three seconds ahead of Charles Weerts in the No. 32 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo that prevailed in Saturday evening’s 60-minute race.

It marked a second victory in as many Sprint Cup visits to Magny-Cours for Engel and Stolz, who won at the French circuit last season driving for Haupt Racing Team.

The Mercedes-AMG factory pair also successfully rebounded from a race one retirement caused by a mechanical issue whilst running fourth.

Weerts, who was paired with fellow Audi factory driver Dries Vanthoor, grabbed second in race two with a forceful move up the inside of Timur Boguslavskiy’s AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG into the Adelaide hairpin on the penultimate lap.

Boguslavskiy settled for the final podium spot alongside Raffaele Marciello, while Oliver Wilkinson and Ben Barnicoat placed fourth in the JOTA McLaren 720S GT3.

Barnicoat ran third behind Engel and Costa in the opening stint, before advancing to second approaching the pit stops when Costa’s Lamborghini encountered a puncture that caused the Spaniard to rotate at Chateaux d’Eau.

Barnicoat handed over to Wilkinson a few minutes after Engel’s stop and one lap before WRT and AKKA-ASP brought Vanthoor and Marciello in from third and fourth.

The positions behind Toksport WRT shuffled around during the stops, as Wilkinson dropped behind Weerts in the WRT Audi and Boguslavskiy, who was right on Stolz’s tail.

The pit stops concluded right at the start of a Full Course Yellow-safety car period for Benjamin Goethe’s WRT Audi crashing out at the 180 left-hander.

Stolz made a strong getaway at the restart, but was unable to build a gap due to another safety car only a few minutes later for a clash between the No. 89 AKKA-ASP Mercedes and the Silver Cup-class Garage 59 Aston Martin Vantage GT3 at Chateaux d’Eau.

That second interruption kept the field under controlled conditions until three minutes to go when the final restart took place.

Behind Stolz, Weerts, Boguslavskiy and Wilkinson in fifth position was Konstantin Tereschenko in the Silver Cup-winning AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG started by Jim Pla.

Pla ran in the outer reaches of the top ten during the opening stint but the late-pitting ASP Mercedes gained several positions during the driver swaps.

Tereschenko held off a charging Ulysse de Pauw in the No. 107 CMR Bentley Continental GT3 to secure the class win, and was aided by Sainteloc Racing Audi driver Aurelien Panis making a late move past de Pauw to claim sixth position overall.

De Pauw and Pierre-Alexandre Jean ended up seventh, ahead of the two remaining Emil Frey Lamborghinis after Costa’s retirement from second.

Silver Cup duo Arthur Rougier and Alex Fontana finished eighth, with Jack Aitken and Konsta Lappalainen coming through in ninth.

Frank Bird and Ryuichiro Tomita rounded out the top ten in WRT’s Silver Audi, from Leo Roussel and Christopher Haase’s Sainteloc Audi and the Attempto Racing Audi of Tommaso Mosca and Mattia Drudi.

Barwell Motorsport claimed its maiden Sprint Cup Pro-Am victory in its second race with Miguel Ramos and Henrique Chaves.

The reigning International GT Open drivers’ champions won from fourth on the four-car grid, as Ramos finished just three-tenths of a second ahead of his nearest rival Valentin Pierburg in the SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes started by Dominik Baumann.

RESULTS: Magny-Cours Race 2

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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