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Intercontinental GT Challenge

Juncadella on Cusp of Title as Mercedes-AMG Sets Gulf Crews

24H Spa winners reunite for Gulf 12H; Juncadella on cusp of winning IGTC title…

Photo: SRO Motorsports Group

Daniel Juncadella is on the cusp of winning the Intercontinental GT Challenge powered by Pirelli drivers’ title after being confirmed in the same car as his main challengers Jules Gounon and Raffaele Marciello for the season-ending Gulf 12 Hours.

This year’s TotalEnergies 24 Hours of Spa winners will reunite for the race at Yas Marina Circuit, where they will share a GruppeM Racing Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Juncadella leads the IGTC drivers’ standings by three points over Gounon, while Marciello is a further 15 points back.

Despite teaming up for Spa, the Mercedes-AMG factory stars had different programs for the rest of the IGTC. Juncadella and Marciello won the Indianapolis 8 Hour together but Marciello missed the Liqui-Moly Bathurst 12 Hour, where Juncadella took second.

Gounon, meanwhile, took victory at Bathurst but finished fourth at Indianapolis.

Their sharing of the No. 89 Mercedes-AMG Team GruppeM car in the Gulf 12 Hours makes Juncadella the clear favorite for the drivers’ title, which is the only available prize still up for grabs after Mercedes-AMG sealed the manufacturers’ title in the U.S.

Luca Stolz is fourth in the championship but the German driver is 25 points adrift of Juncadella.

The IGTC permits drivers to drop their lowest-scoring race except for Spa. It is understood that Stolz can drop his zero points from Indy which he skipped, meaning that he could mathematically match Juncadella on 68 points by winning the Gulf 12 Hours.

If Juncadella and Stolz are tied on points after the season finale, Stolz will get the title by finishing ahead of Juncadella at the final race, according to the IGTC regulations.

Stolz will compete in Abu Dhabi with Al Manar Racing by GetSpeed, teaming up with Fabian Schiller and Al Faisal Al Zubair.

In addition to running the Spa winners, GruppeM Racing will operate a second factory-assisted car for DTM drivers Lucas Auer, Maro Engel and Maximilian Goetz.

“With the Gulf 12 Hours, an extraordinarily successful season of our customer sport program is coming to an end,” said Mercedes-AMG’s head of motorsport Christoph Sagemueller.

“This year, the Mercedes-AMG GT3 has proven its qualities on multiple occasions. Particularly in endurance races, our teams ran sensationally as the winning streak in the Intercontinental GT Challenge shows.

“Because of the early manufacturers’ title win and the situation in the drivers’ standings with four AMG drivers at the front, we are relaxed and full of anticipation looking at the finale.

“At Abu Dhabi, we have the chance to write IGTC history with yet another win, which would be the crown on an outstanding season performance for the Mercedes-AMG brand.”

A total of nine Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evos from seven teams are confirmed for the Gulf 12 Hours, which is expected to present an updated entry list on Wednesday.

Other updates to the German manufacturer’s stable include confirmation of British drivers Lewis Williamson and Aaron Walker in the second entry from defending Gulf 12 Hours winner 2 Seas Motorsport, which is racing in Pro-Am.

Furthermore, MP Racing will compete with four members of the Gostner family including Manuela Gostner who has raced for the Iron Dames at the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

SPS Automotive Performance and RAM Racing announced their Gulf driver lineups last week.

The two-car SPS effort includes the SunEnergy1 Racing car for confirmed IGTC Pro-Am Challenge champion Kenny Habul, while RAM’s single-car entry involves this year’s Intelligent Money British GT champion Ian Loggie.

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

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