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Vanthoor: “Very Cool” to Match Brother’s Sprint Cup Wins Record

Dries Vanthoor delighted to match older brother Laurens’ 14 victories in GTWC Europe Sprint…

Photo: Michele Scudiero/WRT

Dries Vanthoor described it as a “very cool” feeling to match the record wins tally of his brother Laurens in Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe powered by AWS Sprint Cup.

Defending champions Vanthoor and Charles Weerts won both 60-minute races at Misano last weekend, bringing the former onto 14 wins to match his older sibling who registered the same number with the same WRT squad between 2013 and 2016.

Eleven of the wins in Dries’ collection have come alongside Weerts, including their remarkable record of seven at Misano.

The others came partnered with Marcel Fassler twice at Hungaroring in 2017 and with Will Stevens at Brands Hatch in 2018.

“I didn’t know that – that’s very cool,” Vanthoor told Sportscar365 when informed about matching the record.

“It’s very nice to match him. I’m very happy about it and very happy to show that we are evenly matched!

“But of course, the goal is to try and break it. It’s nice to know that we have matched this record.”

Reflecting on his journey to equaling the record, Vanthoor said that it “took time” for him to learn the ropes during his winless maiden Sprint Cup season in 2016.

“It was my first year racing in cars,” he said. “This took time, one year, to get the hang of how to drive the Audi and how to race properly.

“I did not have this particularly great experience or learning curve in my karting days, so I had to learn it here.

“Now I can finally say that I’m a bit experienced – maybe not the most experienced – but I know how it works and can fight my way around.”

Vanthoor described his and Weerts weekend at Misano as “perfect”, as the pair increased their Sprint Cup championship lead from half a point to 11.5 points with two races to go.

He highlighted the car setup from WRT’s engineers as key because it enabled the drivers to keep their Pirelli tires cool enough to have consistently high performance over a stint.

But despite winning twice, Vanthoor and Weerts had their points extension limited by two second places for main rivals Raffaele Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy.

This creates the potential for a fight to the wire during the finale at Valencia, where the WRT pair encountered their worst round last year having already sealed the title.

“Last year was very relaxed going into Valencia,” Vanthoor said.

“It was our worst weekend of the season. If you compare it to 2020, we also had it going into Barcelona.

“I’m looking forward to it. I know from the past that we have been really struggling there. We were also bad in the way that we made too many mistakes.

“But also speed-wise we were not finding our balance, so it’s important we go there and find the best balance possible.”

Double Podium Brings Little Joy to ASP Duo

Despite keeping Weerts and Vanthoor within arms’ reach in the title race, neither Marciello nor Boguslavskiy was satisfied with the Misano outcome.

Boguslavskiy suggested that he and Marciello can only fight for the Sprint championship with a Balance of Performance change from series organizer SRO Motorsports Group.

The Sprint Cup BoP has been the same for the Audi and the Mercedes-AMG at each of the ‘Category C’ tracks visited so far: Brands Hatch, Zandvoort and Misano.

“At Brands Hatch we were a bit quicker than the Audis, but here it’s a bit much,” Boguslavskiy told Sportscar365.

“Even though Lello is one of the best drivers in GT, he was four-tenths off. This is the maximum result that was possible for us.

“But honestly I am not happy because we are losing a championship with this, and we are losing a championship because of the Balance of Performance of the car.”

Marciello also felt that the Mercedes-AMG was inherently behind the Audi Evo II at Misano and that upending the 11.5-point deficit at Valencia could be a tough ask.

Vanthoor, meanwhile, described the BoP as “evenly matched” and viewed Misano as a “bit of an Audi track”. Audis have won 10 out of 15 Sprint Cup races held at the venue.

“There was not more we could do,” Marciello said.

“I did a triple pole position, but in Zandvoort it was mixed conditions and in Magny-Cours Dries did a mistake. If not, I think he was able to be on pole.

“We always looked mega strong, but at one point the win always [goes to] others.

“I don’t want to complain, but like we saw in ADAC last weekend, it doesn’t always look OK for Mercedes-AMG, so I hope something will change.

“Last year, here, we were much stronger compared to them. We will fight [at Valencia] but I don’t expect them to be slow.”

This story was updated to correct the number of wins taken by Vanthoor and Weerts. An earlier version incorrectly stated that they had nine wins together.

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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