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Preview: GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup – Zandvoort

2 Mins read
Credit: SRO Motorsports Group

The GT World Challenge Europe Sprint Cup championship will move into crunch time this weekend with a pair of one-hour races at Zandvoort.

The Dutch venue is situated among the sand dunes on the North Sea coast and returned to the calendar last year after a three-year period where the track didn’t appear. The round was originally penciled in for 26-28 June, however its new September slot now sees the circuit play host to the penultimate round of the series. This will also be the first time the field will experience the newly renovated circuit. Zandvoort under went some changes in preparation for their return to Formula 1 so it will be amazing to see these GT3 cars navigate the new banked corners.

After Luca Stolz and Maro Engel gave notice of their title intentions at Magny-Cours, with the duo securing a maiden series win for HRT in Saturday’s race before adding another podium on Sunday. Due to COVID-19 travel restrictions however, HRT have taken the decision to focus their efforts on the Nurburgring 24 Hour race that is happening over the same weekend which the drivers are also scheduled to race at. This will unfortunately dent their hopes of the title but it is not over until the last checkered flag in Barcelona.

AKKA ASP regular driver Timur Boguslavskiy will be joined for the event by Felipe Fraga, who makes his first Sprint Cup appearance of the season as Raffaele Marciello will also be at the Nurburgring 24 Hour event with the GetSpeed Performance squad. Timur is only 3 points off of the current leaders in the overall standings and with Fraga joining him, he is all set to push the leading Belgian Audi Club Team WRT crew all the way.

Sainteloc Racing has shown well with its #25 crew of Christopher Haase and Arthur Rougier, who scored a pair of podiums at Misano and sit fourth in the sprint cup standings currently heading to Zandvoort. And will be looking to capatilise on the HRT team’s absence.

Credit: SRO Motorsports Group

Everyone will have to best Team WRT however. The squad have showed very strongly at all rounds so far this year and will look to cement its status at Zandvoort. The #31 crew of Dries Vanthoor and Charles Weerts tops the drivers’ standings after a solid display at Magny-Cours, they’ll be hoping the new track suits the Audi and they continue this run of form. They will be joined by the sister #32 Audi of Kelvin van der Linde and Ryuichiro Tomita, completing a highly competitive set of full-pro crews.

Silver Cup leaders Simon Gachet and Steven Palette stole the show at Magny-Cours, taking a sensational overall victory in their #26 Sainteloc Racing Audi. Three class wins from five races has established the French pairing as championship favourites, though there is certainly competition. Their closest rivals are Hamza Owega and Jusuf Owega, who have finished every race on the podium in the #33 Belgian Audi Club Team WRT entry.

Four Pro-Am entries will complete the field but with the best of them has being Sky Tempesta Racing, the other three cars will have to be on it for the off this weekend to have any hope of toppling them. The team have achieved four class wins from five races and a pair of one-two finishes at Magny-Cours and will be looking to add more.

The penultimate round see a condensed two-day schedule with free practice beginning at 09.30 on Friday morning, followed by pre-qualifying at 13.50. Later in the day, two qualifying sessions will run back-to-back from 17.50, establishing the grid for a pair of races on Saturday. The first race gets underway at 09.00, while the second will begin at 13.45. The packed schedule will allow those competitors also contesting the Nürburgring 24 Hours to travel to the Nordschleife and meet up with their crews.

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