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GT World Challenge Europe

Sprint Titles to be Decided at Barcelona Triple-Header Finale

HRT returns to challenge for GTWC Europe Sprint Cup title at triple-header Barcelona final round…

Photo: Patrick Hecq/SRO

A total of 22 cars are on the provisional entry list for this weekend’s GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup finale at Barcelona where the 2020 titles will be decided.

Haupt Racing Team returns to the grid after missing the previous round at Zandvoort due to its clashing commitments in the Nürburgring 24, with Maro Engel and Luca Stolz now 6.5 points behind Team WRT’s leading pair of Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts in the standings.

Vanthoor and Weerts missed an opportunity to create a large buffer between themselves and the HRT duo at the previous round, where they picked up only three points.

However, their score was boosted slightly by a change to the final classification in the second race of the weekend that saw post-race penalties affect the cars that finished second and third on the road.

Emil Frey Racing’s No. 14 Lamborghini Huracan GT3 Evo that crossed the line in second received a 30-second time penalty for a mechanic passing in front of the car as it was released from its pit box, dropping Mikael Grenier and Norbert Siedler to 10th.

The No. 31 Team WRT Audi R8 LMS GT3 Evo of Kelvin van der Linde and Ryuichiro Tomita was then demoted from third to 11th with the same length of penalty for an aggressive move on the winning Emil Frey Lamborghini during the race.

This gave Vanthoor and Weerts an additional 2.5 points, putting them on 60.5 points versus the 54-point tally of HRT Mercedes-AMG GT3 Evo drivers Engel and Stolz.

Third in the leaderboard is AKKA-ASP’s Timur Boguslavskiy, who is on 48.5 points after his fifth-place result in Zandvoort Race 2 became third as a result of the penalties.

Boguslavskiy will share the No. 88 Mercedes-AMG at Barcelona with his regular co-driver Raffaele Marciello, who made way for Felipe Fraga last time out due to the N24 clash.

Despite losing their points in Race 2, van der Linde and Tomita’s breakthrough first win of the season in Race 1 at Zandvoort still elevated them to fourth on 48 points.

Another pairing in the championship hunt is Sainteloc Racing’s Christopher Haase and Arthur Rougier, who have accrued 46.5 points so far.

Another driver returning after missing the previous round is Frederic Vervisch whose seat in the No. 66 Attempto Racing Audi was temporarily taken up by Finlay Hutchison.

Similarly, Dominik Baumann is back alongside Valentin Pierburg in SPS Automotive Performance’s Pro-Am Mercedes-AMG.

The No. 33 Team WRT Audi that joined the grid at Zandvoort with Rik Breukers and Rolf Ineichen driving has not returned for Barcelona, putting the Belgian team back to its usual three-car presence.

Finally, there is a TBA slot in the No. 6 Toksport WRT Mercedes-AMG alongside Robin Rogalski, who has a different teammate at each of the three previous rounds.

In the other class championships, Sainteloc Racing’s Steven Palette and Simon Gachet lead Silver Cup from Madpanda Motorsport’s Axcil Jefferies and Ezequiel Companc by 81.5 points to 62.

Pro-Am is led by Eddie Cheever III and Chris Froggatt, who possess a 29-point cushion over Andrea Bertolini and Louis Machiels courtesy of a double victory at Zandvoort in their No. 93 Sky-Tempesta Racing Ferrari 488 GT3 Evo 2020.

Track action begins on Thursday with paid testing, while the first race of the weekend takes place on Saturday.

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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