Rafaelle Marciello and Timur Boguslavskiy took the win in race two at the Misano World Circuit Marco Simoncelli whereas Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts made it a double victory weekend for Belgian Audi Club Team WRT by grabbing the top spot in the last race of the day to finish the first triple header round of the new season.
Timur Boguslavskiy secured Sprint Cup victory for AKKA ASP at Misano after some brilliant defending to make sure he capatilise on teammate Raffaele Marciello’s controlled opening stint after starting from pole in the #88 car.
The Italian got away very well and duly built a four-second gap, until an intervention by the safety car unfortunately wiped out his advantage. Once back under way Marciello again pulled away from the chasing Kelvin van der Linde in his #31 Team WRT Audi followed by Albert Costa in the #163 Emil Frey Racing Lamborghini.
At the pit stop phase Marciello handed the car to Boguslavskiy, while Ryuichiro Tomita took the #31 Audi from Van der Linde to keep second place. Luca Stolz and Charles Weerts managed to emerge from their stops having gained a position each after great work by the HRT and Team WRT crews.
Boguslavskiy although coming out still in the lead, faced pressure from Tomita with the two coming into contact several times however the Japanese driver’s assault came to an end when he ran wide and slipped back to seventh place.
With Tomita falling down the pack, Stolz was through to make his own run on Boguslavskiy, but the German was also facing pressure from an impressive Arthur Rougier who managed to get himself into a podium position by passing Giacomo Altoe in the #163 Lamborghini as well as Weerts.
Boguslavskiy remained clean and precise rising to the challenge to win his first GT World Challenge Europe race. Marciello added a sixth Sprint Cup win and his first at Misano. Stolz took second to put HRT on the podium in only its second event in the series and Rougier crossed the line third completing a superb drive along with Christopher Haase.
The Silver Cup was won by the #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi of Steven Palette and Simon Gachet, who earned a second successive victory and in Pro-Am the #52 AF Corse Ferrari of Louis Machiels and Andrea Bertolini grabbed a dominant victory after finishing 8 seconds clear of their nearest class rival.
For the final race the #15 Tech 1 Racing Lexus started from pole after another superb qualifying earlier in the morning. Thomas Neubauer opened the stint and started to produce a gap to the #55 Attempto Racing car of Tommaso Mosca of around three seconds but Mosca started eating into it as the drivers reached the first stops.
Mosca and Rougier, who was running fourth at the time, stopped first, followed by Neubauer and Weerts the next lap. A hallmark rapid stop for the WRT crew allowed Vanthoor to what would eventually become the lead of the race, followed by Haase after a similarly quick stop gave the #25 Sainteloc Racing Audi track position. The Attempto car of Mosca fell to third with Mattia Drudi taking over to finish the race, while Aurélien Panis dropped to seventh in the Tech 1 Lexus.
Vanthoor out front was a class above the rest controlling the pace and getting up to a four second lead over Haase, but just as the last race, the safety car appeared. Aurélien Panis got alongside Nelson Panciatici after just being passed by Kelvin van der Linde for fifth place. When side by side the CMR Bentley’s rear snapped loose, sending Panciatici into the Lexus at high speed and into the gravel. The drivers were able to emerge from their cars without assistance however.
Once the safety car period ended, Vanthoor had to resist a challenge from Haase. The Sainteloc driver stayed close but Vanthoor hung on to win by 0.7s. Drudi secured the final podium spot for Attempto, while Maro Engel and Van der Linde completed the top-five.
The Silver Cup honours went to the #108 CMR Bentley driven by Pierre Alexandre Jean and Hugo Chevalier and in Pro-Am there was a repeat performance from race one winners as the SKY Tempesta Racing Ferrari took victory ahead of the #20 SPS Automotive Mercedes-AMG.
The Sprint Cup campaign is back in action next month at Magny-Cours on 11-13 September. Before that, the Endurance Cup will resume with a six-hour race at the Nurburgring scheduled for 5-6 September.