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Winkelhock Replaces WRT’s Van der Linde at Zandvoort

Markus Winkelhock to drive for WRT in Sprint Cup for first time in four years…

Photo: Audi Sport

Experienced Audi factory driver Markus Winkelhock will replace the DTM-bound Kelvin van der Linde at Team WRT for this weekend’s Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup fixture at Zandvoort.

Winkelhock will step into the No. 30 Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo, sharing driving duties with Benjamin Goethe.

Van der Linde is absent from round two of the Sprint Cup season due to his clashing commitments driving for Abt Sportsline in the DTM season-opener at Monza.

Triple Nürburgring 24 and double TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa winner Winkelhock is set for his first GTWC Europe Sprint Cup outing since 2019 when he ran the full season with Sainteloc Racing.

The German driver won the Pro-Am class title the previous year, also with Sainteloc, and still represents the French team in Endurance Cup as part of his extensive Audi Sport role.

Winkelhock last drove for WRT in the 2020 Kyalami 9 Hour. He also finished second with the team in the 2017 Sprint Cup standings in partnership with Will Stevens.

“I am really very happy to be again with Team WRT, with which we had a lot of success in the past,” said the 41-year-old.

“It will be my first Sprint Cup event this year and the first time I race in the renewed track at Zandvoort, I am really curious to discover it.

“We have a very good package, so hopefully we can get a good result.”

Winkelhock and Goethe’s Team WRT teammates, Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts, currently lead the Sprint Cup and overall GTWC Europe standings.

28 Entries for Second Round of Season

A total of 28 cars are on the provisional entry list for Zandvoort, which beyond WRT’s driver swap includes a handful of other updates since the opening round at Magny-Cours.

Alex Aka has switched from Attempto Racing’s No. 66 Audi over to the No. 55 and will combine with Dennis Marschall in a Silver Cup pairing for the German outfit.

Aka joined Christopher Mies for the curtain-raiser in Attempto’s No. 66 Pro-class car, while Mies’ co-driver for Zandvoort has yet to be announced.

David Perel has joined Rinaldi Racing and will share the German team’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 with Benjamin Hites, who was joined by Patrick Kujala at Magny-Cours.

Emil Frey Racing has gone back to its original lineups for round two, after making a late change during the season-opening weekend following a crash for Norbert Siedler.

The Austrian is set to team up with Albert Costa while Ricardo Feller, who subbed for Siedler at short notice, is back in the team’s Silver Cup entry alongside Alex Fontana.

Practice and Pre-Qualifying take place on Friday, with qualifying running on Saturday morning ahead of a same-day first race starting at 1:30 p.m. local time (7:30 a.m. EST).

The second race of the weekend is due to get underway at 2:30 p.m. (8:30 a.m. EST) on Sunday.

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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