Audi dominates race 1 at Magny-Cours
Charles Weerts and Dries Vanthoor launched their Fanatec GT World Challenge Europe Powered by AWS Sprint Cup title defence in perfect fashion with an assured victory in the season-opening race at Magny-Cours. The win continued a dominant performance from the Team WRT duo after Vanthoor topped Friday’s free practice and pre-qualifying sessions, while Weerts put his Audi on pole in Saturday evening’s qualifying. They completed the job by edging away from the chasing pack to win by a comfortable margin of 6.4 seconds.
Weerts maintained his advantage at the start, holding off a pair of Emil Frey Racing Lamborghinis at the head of the 27-car pack. Ricardo Feller gave chase in his Huracán GT3 Evo and remained close to Weerts throughout an opening stint during which the two young chargers traded fastest laps. Behind them, Arthur Rougier ran third overall while maintaining the lead in the Silver Cup ahead of class rival Patrick Kujala, with the Rinaldi Racing Ferrari. In Pro-Am, Louis Machiels, driving an AF Corse Ferrari, produced a superb opening stint to move from the rear of the pack to snatch the class lead from pole-sitter Alexander West (Garage 59 Aston Martin) mid-way through the stint.
With the pit window drawing near Weerts and Feller were separated by little over a second, though the leading Audi’s advantage was stretched during a full course yellow period. When the track went green once again the Emil Frey cars stopped together, with Albert Costa assuming the controls of the #163 Lamborghini while Alex Fontana took the wheel of the #14. But they could do nothing about the leading Audi as the Team WRT mechanics executed the fastest pit stop of the day to send the #32 machine back out with a commanding advantage. Indeed, the job was largely complete by the time Vanthoor took the wheel, though the Belgian still had the speed to post the fastest lap of the race shortly after. Having led by more than 10 seconds at one stage, Vanthoor eased off during the final minutes and took the chequered flag 6.468s clear of Costa, who ran a lonely stint to finish in excess of 12 seconds clear of teammate Fontana in the sister #14 Lamborghini. The second Emil Frey machine completed the overall podium and also captured Silver Cup victory, with Rougier’s performance particularly worthy of praise. The Frenchman was only drafted into the line-up earlier today and did not turn his first laps of the weekend until qualifying, but helped crew-mate Fontana to capture pole and class victory.
The Madpanda Motorsport Mercedes-AMG GT3 was fourth overall and second in the Silver Cup after a standout showing from Ezequiel Perez Companc and Rik Breukers. The AKKA ASP Mercedes and the Attempto Racing Audi were next across the line after Raffaele Marciello and Mattia Drudi battled for position throughout the second half-hour.
Andrea Bertolini brought the AF Corse Ferrari home for victory in the Pro-Am class, completing the excellent work that Machiels produced during the opening stint. The Italian squad beat the SPS Automotive Performance Mercedes of Valentin Pierburg and Dominik Baumann to the win, while the Garage 59 Aston Martin crewed by West and Jonny Adam occupied the third step on the class podium.
GT WORLD CHALLENGE EUROPE SPRINT CUP
Race 1 – Magny-Cours, 8 May 2021
1. Dries Vanthoor / Charles Weers (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Team WRT) 36 laps 1:00:53.014
2. Albert Costa / Ricardo Feller (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Emil Frey Racing) +6.468
3. Alex Fontana / Arthur Rougier (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Emil Frey Racing) +19.229 Silver
4. Rik Breukers / Ezequiel Perez Companc (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / Madpanda Motorsport) +28.157
5. Timur Boguslavskiy / Raffaele Marciello (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / AKKA ASP) +29.905
6. Mattia Drudi / Tommaso Mosca (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Attempto Racing) +33.960
7. Juuso Puhakka / Oscar Tunjo (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / TokSport) +38.780
8. Patrick Kujala / Benjamin Hites (Ferrari 488 GT3 / Rinaldi Racing) +40.232
9. Pierre-Alexandre Jean / Ulysse De Pauw (Benltey Continental GT3 / CMR) +40.988
10. Jules Gounon / Petru Umbrarescu (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / AKKA ASP) +41.404
11. Benjamin Goethe / Kelvin van der Linde (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Team WRT) +42.864
12. Jack Aitken / Konsta Lappalainen (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Emil Frey Racing) +59.412
13. Ben Barnicolat / Oliver Wilkinson (McLaren 720S GT3 / Jota Motorsport) +1:02.861
14. Benjamin Lessennes / Stephane Richelmi (Bentley Continental GT3 / CMR) +1:10.660
15. Nicolai Kjaergaard / Tuomas Tujula (Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 / Garage 59) +1:11.923
16. Adrien De Leener / Chrstian Engelhart (Porsche 911 GT3 R / Dinamic Motorsport) +1:12.884
17. Jim Pla / Konstantin Tereschenko (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / AKKA ASP) 1:13.297
18. Andrea Bertolini / Louis Machiels (Ferrari 488 GT3 / AF Corse) +1:29.033 Pro-Am
19. Arkin Aka / Christopher Mies (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Attempto Racing) +1:29.556
20. Chris Froggatt / Giorgio Roda (Ferrari 488 GT3 / SKY Tempesta Racing) +1:33.686
21. Dominik Baumann / Valentin Pierburg (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / SPS Automotive Performance) +1:35.104
22. Jonny Adam / Alexander West (Aston Martin Vantage AMR GT3 / Garage 59) +1 lap
23. Henrique Chaves / Miguel Ramos (Lamborghini Huracán GT3 Evo / Barwell Motorsport) +1 lap
24. Franck Bird / Ryuichiro Tomita (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Team WRT) +2 laps
25. Maro Engel / Luca Stolz (Mercedes-AMG GT3 / Team TokSport WRT) +7 laps
26. Aurelien Panis / Frederic Vervisch (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Sainteloc Racing) +11 laps
Christopher Haase / Leo Russel (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Sainteloc Racing) 12 laps
Fastest lap: Dries Vanthoor (Audi R8 LMS GT3 / Team WRT) 1:36.769 on lap 22