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Emil Frey Delivers Zandvoort 1-2 after Penalty Costs WRT

Pit infringement penalty costs WRT as Altoe, Costa strike for Emil Frey Racing…

Photo: Jules Benichou/SRO

Giacomo Altoe and Albert Costa delivered Emil Frey Racing’s maiden GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup victory following a penalty for the leading Team WRT car which finished first on the road.

Altoe took the checkered flag just behind Charles Weerts, who had been dealt a drive-through for having his Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo’s engine running whilst on its pit jacks.

Weerts carried on to the end of the 60-minute race while his drive-through was turned into a 30-second time penalty that dropped him and Dries Vanthoor to 10th overall.

This handed the Emil Frey squad a one-two result as Norbert Siedler and Mikael Grenier finished second in the sister Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo.

It also proved costly for the points-leading Team WRT pair, who failed to score in Saturday’s topsy-turvy first race and earned only half a point in Race 2.

Their opportunity to break clear from Maro Engel and Luca Stolz, who missed Zandvoort to focus on the Nürburgring 24, didn’t materialize while WRT’s Kelvin van der Linde and Ryuichiro Tomita moved into contention with a brace of podiums.

Vanthoor and Weerts still provisionally lead the standings on 58 points, just one point ahead of the No. 31 pairing heading into the triple-header Barcelona season finale and four points ahead of Engel and Stolz.

Altoe’s co-driver Costa started from second on the grid but slipped to third behind van der Linde who squeezed his WRT Audi down the inside going into Tarzan.

All of the 21 starting drivers then did well to avoid the spinning Christopher Haase, who went on to stage a terrific recovery with his Sainteloc Racing driving partner Arthur Rougier.

Out front, pole-sitter Mikael Grenier ran at the head of the field but the Canadian had van der Linde, Costa, Jules Gounon and Mattia Drudi for close company.

This order held through the opening quarter before van der Linde made a stab on the brakes of his Audi to get underneath Grenier into the Turn 10 right-hander, but the South African went in too deep and needed to make use of the gravel on the exit.

Van der Linde dropped to fourth while Gounon hemorrhaged time as his Bentley Continental GT3 slid out wide into the Turn 14 gravel in avoidance of the rejoining Audi.

A few corners later Fraga and Drudi tangled at Tarzan which cost both drivers time, while all of this greatly helped Vanthoor who climbed from seventh to third in the space of a lap and was in clear view of the two Emil Frey Lamborghinis up the road. 

Costa then overtook Siedler for the lead at the same spot where van der Linde made his speculative move.

During the driver swaps the WRT crew got Weerts out just ahead of Altoe and the Belgian teenager kept his Italian adversary at bay to the end of the race with Grenier a further 13 seconds behind.

Van der Linde’s co-driver Tomita came through in third, ensuring a double podium weekend for the No. 31 WRT pairing that can be now classed among the title contenders.

Rougier and Haase finished fourth overall after a brilliant recovery from the latter’s first-corner spin, while Fraga and Timur Boguslavskiy completed the top five in their AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo.

Silver Cup honors went to Thomas Neubauer and Aurelien Panis in the Tech 1 Racing Lexus RC F GT3.

Panis inherited the lead during the pit cycle but needed to defend hard from Toksport WRT Mercedes driver Oscar Tunjo in the closing laps.

Tunjo, who drove with Juuso Puhakka, couldn’t find a way past in the remaining time left and settled for second, half a second behind the Lexus which was sixth overall.

Ezequiel Companc and Axcil Jefferies rounded out the class top three with their Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes finishing ahead of the two CMR Bentleys in the outright order.

In Pro-Am, Sky-Tempesta Racing won again as Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever earned their second victory of the weekend and their fourth of the season.

Froggatt brought the No. 93 Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 across the line 7.5 seconds clear of Louis Machiels, who shared the No. 52 AF Corse Ferrari with Andrea Bertolini.

RESULTS: Zandvoort Race 2 (provisional)

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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