Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe


Race wins and titles in Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe finale.

MercedesAMGCustomerRacing_BPGTWCEurope_Hungaroring_2019_Header.jpg

  • Race one: 1-2 finish by the #88 and #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3 
  • Race two: P1 and P3 by the #88 and #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3
  • AKKA ASP Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe team champions 
  • Drivers’ and teams’ titles in the Silver Cup

 

Mercedes-AMG Motorsport enjoys a very thrilling and exciting weekend during the World Challenge Europe finale at the Hungaroring. In Hungary, the Customer Racing Teams scored a pair of pole positions, a 1-2 in the first race, victory and third place in the second race as well as three championship titles in the drivers’ and teams’ standings. A slight disappointment: the overall drivers’ title in the sprint series went away with the closest possible decision and a tie in the standings, only based on a lower number of season wins. However, with a pair of victories for Vincent Abril (MON) and Raffaele Marciello (ITA), AKKA ASP won the teams’ title, the French squad having been third going into the final round of the season. In the Silver Cup, Nico Bastian (GER), Thomas Neubauer (FRA) and again AKKA ASP celebrated the drivers’ and teams’ title wins.

Based on the tiny gaps in the points’ standings, excitement was guaranteed during the season finale in Hungary. The result of the race on Saturday made the drama in the battle for the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe drivers’ and teams’ titles even bigger. With a lights-to-flag victory on a rain-soaked track, Vincent Abril and Raffaele Marciello (AKKA ASP Team #88) came out on top in the first race. However, Maro Engel and Luca Stolz (both GER, BLACK FALCON #4) not only completed the 1-2 for Mercedes-AMG Motorsport by finishing second, but also reduced the gap to the championship leaders to only two points. It was Engel who secured second place and the valuable points that come with it thanks to a spirited and perfectly prepared overtaking move on the final lap of the race. Meanwhile, the Silver Cup title candidates, Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer, were able to extend their tiny lead to 9.5 points by virtue of their class win in race one. In the process, they also secured the Silver Cup teams’ title for their AKKA ASP team with one race to spare, the French squad already having arrived at the Hungaroring with a considerable margin.  

As a result, the situation going into the race on Sunday was a highly promising one: the gaps in the points had been either reduced or extended and with grid positions 1, 4, 5, 9 and 10, all five Mercedes-AMG GT3 started into the top ten while the erstwhile drivers’ and teams’ standings leaders with starting number 563 had to start from the seventh row of the grid. In dry conditions, the final race of the season got off to a hectic start with many position fights. Still, starting driver Maro Engel immediately was able to move up one place into third with his #4 Mercedes-AMG GT3. Until the halfway point, the BLACK FALCON team looked set for championship success. However, their rivals were able to move up into fourth place during the race, mainly thanks to an extremely quick pit stop, meaning that the two teams would end up tied on points. Luca Stolz tried in vain to reach the necessary second place until the end of the race. Eventually, the team had to admit defeat with an equal number of points, but with fewer victories this season.

The #88 with Vincent Abril and Raffaele Marciello, meanwhile, achieved an undisputed lights-to-flag win and crossed the line with a margin of over 16 seconds. With two pole positions and as many lights-to-flag wins, the AKKA ASP team even managed to clinch the Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe teams’ title with the maximum possible point-score. The French team also benefited from the fact that the Silver Cup duo of Nico Bastian and Thomas Neubauer had even managed to score a Sprint Cup race win at Brands Hatch over the course of the season. With another strong weekend at the Hungaroring and second place in class in the race on Sunday, Bastian and Neubauer, the latter in his maiden GT3 season, managed to win the Silver Cup drivers’ title with a margin of 13.5 points. The number 90 entry with Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS) and Felipe Fraga (BRA) claimed the Silver Cup race win. Together with Fabian Schiller (GER), who alternated with Fraga throughout the season, all the Silver Cup driver helped AKKA ASP to a dominant teams’ title win with a total of six class wins and three second places from ten races.

Maro Engel, BLACK FALCON #4: “This probably is the saddest third place that we have ever had in a race. Losing the title while ending up tied on points is really sad. The team has worked so hard. Unfortunately, it was last weekend that we lost the decisive points for the World Challenge Europe. The positive thing is that we are back into the lead of the overall Blancpain GT Series standings and we are now fully focussed on this championship with the finale at Barcelona coming up.”

Luca Stolz, BLACK FALCON #4: “On Saturday, Maro was the man of the day. He has driven a super race, made up almost ten seconds and eventually still secured second place. Unfortunately, third place in the second race wasn’t enough. Now, we have to give it our all again at Barcelona so that we can definitely secure the overall title there.”

Vincent Abril, AKKA ASP Team #88: “A perfect weekend. Two pole positions, a victory in the wet, a victory in the dry and a perfect car. After a few setbacks, we wanted to conclude the season with the best possible result. That is what we did on this final weekend. We are very proud and very happy with that as a team. Now, there is another endurance race left at Barcelona that we still want to win.”

Raffaele Marciello, AKKA ASP Team #88: “These were important victories for us, for our confidence. I am very happy with that. However, it is also sad when we look back upon the first races of the season in which we lacked points. At Barcelona, we want to conclude the season with a win.”

Nico Bastian, AKKA ASP Team #89: “Having won the Endurance Cup title last year, the sprint championship was still lacking for me. Winning the title now is a mega feeling, of course, especially together with Thomas who is in his maiden season in GT3. Many thanks also to the AKKA ASP team that again has shown a perfect achievement throughout the season this year.”

Thomas Neubauer, AKKA ASP Team #89: “After the great weekend at Brands Hatch with our overall win, our hopes of winning a title were huge, of course. Even though we have had ups and downs during the season, we have achieved our main goal by winning the Silver Cup title. I am very happy with that.”

Results Blancpain GT World Challenge Europe, Hungaroring

Race 1

Pos.
 

Pos.

class

Nr.

class

Car
 

Team
 

Drivers
 

1.

1.

88

Pro

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Vincent Abril (MON)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA)

2.

2.

4

Pro

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Luca Stolz (GER)
Maro Engel (GER)

3.

3.

63

Pro

Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2019

GRT Grasser

Racing Team

Mirko Bortolotti (ITA)
Christian Engelhart (GER)

 

 

 

 

 

7.

1.

89

Silver Cup

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian (GER)
Thomas Neubauer (FRA)

13.

4.

90

Silver Cup

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS)
Felipe Fraga (BRA)

21.

1.

87

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Jean-Luc Beaubelique (FRA)
Jim Pla (FRA)

Race 2

Pos.
 

Pos.

class

Nr.

class

Car
 

Team
 

Drivers
 

1.

1.

88

Pro

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Vincent Abril (MON)
Raffaele Marciello (ITA)

2.

2.

63

Pro

Lamborghini Huracan GT3 2019

GRT Grasser

Racing Team

Mirko Bortolotti (ITA)
Christian Engelhart (GER)

3.

3.

4

Pro

Mercedes-AMG GT3

BLACK FALCON

Luca Stolz (GER)
Maro Engel (GER)

 

 

 

 

 

5.

1.

90

Silver Cup

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Timur Boguslavskiy (RUS)
Felipe Fraga (BRA)

8.

2.

89

Silver Cup

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Nico Bastian (GER)
Thomas Neubauer (FRA)

24.

2.

87

Pro-Am

Mercedes-AMG GT3

AKKA ASP Team

Jean-Luc Beaubelique (FRA)
Jim Pla (FRA)

* subject to confirmation by the organiser