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AKKA-ASP Mercedes Wins Misano Race 2 from Pole

Marciello, Boguslavskiy win from pole as Mercedes notches up 1-2 in second Misano race…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy led home a Mercedes-AMG one-two in the second GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup race at Misano.

The AKKA-ASP duo’s Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo won the 60-minute contest by 0.3 seconds from the Haupt Racing Team Mercedes after Boguslavskiy held off Luca Stolz.

Marciello led away from pole position and built up a four-second lead over Kelvin van der Linde in the No. 31 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo before a safety car annulled that margin after 15 minutes.

The intervention was called after the Silver Cup AKKA-ASP Mercedes of Benjamin Hites was tapped into a high-speed rotation through the Turn 13 gravel by the Lexus of Aurelien Panis.

When the race returned to green following nine and a half minutes of controlled running, Marciello and van der Linde stayed out for a handful of extra laps while several front-runners including HRT’s Maro Engel pitted at the earliest opportunity.

AKKA-ASP serviced its Mercedes fast enough to keep Boguslavskiy ahead, in front of van der Linde’s co-driver Ryuichiro Tomita, Stolz in the HRT car and WRT’s Charles Weerts.

Tomita looked set to snatch the lead from Boguslavskiy, drawing the No. 31 Audi alongside the Mercedes on two occasions, but the pressure was eased when the Japanese driver ran wide at the Turn 16 left-hander with eight minutes to go.

This mishap enabled Stolz to inherit second in the HRT Mercedes, but the German driver couldn’t manage to find a way past Boguslavskiy who narrowly held on for the win.

Arthur Rougier finished third in the No. 25 Sainteloc Racing Audi started by Christopher Haase, after making up three positions during the second stint.

Rougier first capitalized on Giacomo Altoe running wide at Turn 3 in the No. 163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo to take fifth, before the Frenchman out-braked Weerts into Turn 4 shortly before Tomita’s moment gave him another place.

Weerts, who won Friday’s race with Dries Vanthoor, crossed the line in fourth ahead of Altoe in the Lamborghini that was also driven by Albert Costa.

Costa made a good start and put two wheels on the grass to overtake Engel for second on the first lap, before his car lost two positions to HRT and WRT’s No. 32 in the pits.

Altoe finished half a second in front of Tommaso Mosca, who shared the sixth-placed No. 55 Attempto Racing Audi with Mattia Drudi.

Emil Frey Racing’s other Lamborghini retired in the opening stint after an issue that consigned the car to its garage.

Behind the recovering Tomita in eighth was the No. 107 CMR Bentley Continental GT3 driven by Nelson Panciatici and Jules Gounon.

Sainteloc Racing scored a double podium as its No. 26 Audi claimed Silver Cup honors courtesy of Steven Palette and Simon Gachet in ninth overall.

Gachet controlled the opening stint while Palette inherited the advantage and had built a seven-second lead over the Hamza Owega/Jusuf Owega WRT Audi by the finish.

CMR’s Bentley driven by Pierre-Alexandre Jean and Hugo Chevalier completed the class podium.

Pro-Am honors went to AF Corse’s Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels, while Sky Tempesta Racing’s Chris Froggatt and Eddie Cheever III finished second for a Ferrari one-two.

Cheever battled Bertolini in the opening stint, before the leading Sky Tempesta Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 slipped to third in the pits behind the No. 20 SPS Mercedes.

Froggatt made up a spot on Valentin Pierburg in the second half of the race but couldn’t go one further to reach Machiels, who crossed the line eight seconds up the road.

The third and final race of the opening Sprint Cup weekend takes place at 3 pm. CEST (9 a.m. EST).

Tech 1 Racing’s Silver Cup-class Lexus RC F GT3 will start from pole after Thomas Neubauer set the pace during Sunday morning’s qualifying session.

However, the car endured a tough Race 2 as Neubauer’s co-driver Panis was forced to serve a through-penalty for causing the collision that brought out the safety car. This came after Panis started from the pits because of a pre-race engine change.

RESULTS: Misano Race 2 (provisional)

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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