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Sprint Cup Title Contenders Engel, Stolz to Miss Zandvoort

COVID-19 guidelines affecting commute on double-duty weekend forces HRT to skip Zandvoort…

Photo: Dirk Bogaerts/SRO

Haupt Racing Team is to skip this weekend’s GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS round at Zandvoort, denting the Sprint Cup title hopes of front-runners Maro Engel and Luca Stolz.

The Mercedes-AMG factory drivers, who are currently second to Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts in the points, will be prioritized at the Nürburgring 24 where they are due to share a HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo with Adam Christodoulou and Manuel Metzger.

While timetable provisions have been made to enable teams to compete in both high-profile GT3 events, HRT confirmed on Tuesday that it will not travel to Zandvoort because of German government measures for the region in which the track is located.

A statement from the team read: “due to the current classification of the Federal Government of North Holland as a risk area and the associated requirements to minimize the risk of infection, there is no possibility for the Mercedes-AMG drivers Maro Engel and Luca Stolz to start.

“As both drivers will also be competing in the 24-hour race at the Nürburgring on the same weekend, they will not be able to commute between the race tracks according to the current COVID-19 guidelines.”

Stolz and Engel enjoyed a double podium weekend in the last Sprint Cup round at Magny-Cours, winning the first race and finishing third in the next encounter.

This helped the pair close the gap to Team WRT’s Vanthoor and Weerts at the head of the championship table with the two crews now separated by three and a half points.

The next-closest pairing is Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy who are 18.5 points off the leaders.

Fraga to Sub for Marciello at AKKA-ASP

Felipe Fraga is set to replace Marciello in the No. 88 AKKA-ASP Mercedes-AMG for Zandvoort, having been shown alongside Boguslavskiy on the provisional entry list.

It means Brazilian driver, who raced in the 24 Hours of Le Mans last weekend, is poised to make his Sprint Cup debut.

Fraga already drives for AKKA-ASP in GTWC Europe Endurance Cup, alongside Marciello and Boguslavskiy who are currently third in the Sprint Cup standings.

Marciello is racing at the Nürburgring in a GetSpeed Performance Mercedes-AMG with Maximilian Goetz, Maximilian Buhk and Fabian Schiller.

A total of 21 cars are now set to contest the pair of Sprint Cup races this Saturday, while the entry list has not yet been updated to reflect HRT’s withdrawal.

The field is split between nine Pro cars, eight Silver Cup competitors and four participants in Pro-Am.

Sky-Tempesta Racing’s Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020 that claimed a sweep of the Pro-Am honors at Magny-Cours with Giancarlo Fisichella and Jonathan Hui driving is not shown.

Eight drivers are currently shown on the entry lists for both Zandvoort and the N24: Christopher Haase, Kelvin van der Linde, Dominik Baumann, Dries Vanthoor, Frederic Vervisch, Axcil Jefferies, Mattia Drudi and Jules Gounon.

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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