GT World Challenge Europe

AKKA ASP Mercedes Sprint Cup Champions after Nurburgring Win

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Credit: Dirk Bogaerts Photography / SRO

It would be the #88 AKKA ASP Team Mercedes-AMG who took the Blancpain GT Series Sprint Cup after a calm and collected drive from Raffaele Marciello and Michael Meadows at the Nurburgring.

Their key championship rivals, the #2 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT had to finish inside the top four, but heavy contact with the #66 Attempto Racing in the closing laps over fourth, saw them retire and handing the title to the Mercedes for the first time since 2012.

The race had started with disaster for the Audi’s as the #2 picked up a puncture due to rubbing wheels with the #88 Mercedes. The #1 Audi still had assistance though, soon working his way into the top eight.

Christopher Mies was the first of the front-runners in, but the pitstop barely helped them, as the #1 Audi remained in position when Alex Riberas saw out the pit window. The Spaniard quickly worked up to fifth, but from there it was stuck behind the #66 Attempto Racing.

With three minutes to go, Riberas was desperate, knowing fourth would be enough for the title. He dove down the inside into turn one, but Steijn Schothorst was not prepared to play along, battling throughout the opening sector and forcing damage on the #1 Audi as they regularly swapped positions.

On the run down to the hairpin, the #19 GRT Grasser Racing Lamborghini joined the fight, as the #1 spun into the gravel, dropping Riberas out of the points. He would limp back to the pits only to retire.

It was heartbreak for Alex Riberas after his contact with the #66 Attempto Racing destroyed his championship chances (Credit: Dirk Bogaerts Photography / SRO)

Up front meanwhile, the #88 AKKA ASP had jumped the #6 Black Falcon polesitter to inherit the lead in the second half. From there Meadows didn’t look back taking the teams second win of the year and securing the title.

The Black Falcon took the Silver Cup win and second overall, with the #25 Sainteloc Racing Audi rounding out the podium after a confident drive from Cristopher Hasse in the opening half allowed Simon Gachet to secure the silverware.

With fourth place the #66 Attempto Racing car secured third in the teams championship. Helped by the #63 GRT Grasser’s disqualification from the weekend.

Ezequiel Perez Companc followed them home in fifth for the #19 GRT Grasser Lamborghini. Rounding out the top six would be #87 AKKA ASP Mercedes, while in the Pro-Am standings, the #333 Rinaldi Racing Ferrari won the race.

It would be #26 Sainteloc Racing who took the overall Pro-Am title after a quiet race, finishing third in class.

The overall standings saw Marciello and Meadows end the season on 98 points, eight ahead of their rival WRT Audi team, with Schothorst’s effort leaving Attempto Racing an adrift third on 68 points.

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